Sonny Perdue

The Secretary of Agriculture in the Trump administration has disappointed food system reform advocates with policies that favor the interests of agribusiness over those of ordinary farmers, rural communities, the nation’s eaters, and the environment.


USDA/Flickr

Trick or Treat? 5 Ways the USDA Secretary Has Pranked Us

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

It’s fun when little kids put on costumes and pretend to be things they’re not. It’s less fun when high-ranking government officials disguise their true identities and intentions. The Trump administration is rife with officials who pose as public servants but are actually swamp creatures—doing the bidding of various industries, lining their own pockets, or both. It goes right up to the top. But the official I want to talk about during this week of masks and disguises is the administration’s Secretary of Agriculture. George Ervin Perdue III goes by the folksy nickname, “Sonny.” And that’s just the beginning of the façade. Read more >

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White House

Trump Axing Advisory Committees Is Bad for Farmers and Nation’s Food Supply

, Economist

Earlier this summer, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order that would arbitrarily eliminate one-third of all federal advisory committees (FACs) not mandated by statute across the government, while restricting an agency’s ability to form new FACs. FACs provide an avenue for outside experts and stakeholders to weigh in on federal programs and policies, including roughly 150 that advise the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a variety of food and farming issues. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and other agency and department heads have until today to make these cuts. Read more >

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Photo: aisletwentytwo/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)

Is the USDA Relocation Just Good Old-Fashioned Rent Seeking?

, Economist

One of things I cherish about economists is their ability to call BS when they see it. In research settings economists tend to have a reputation for asking hard-hitting questions during seminars. They are known for having the most unpopular opinion and for being unabashedly proud of it. I’ve personally seen non-economists bristle at the thought of giving a talk to an economics-oriented audience. As someone who straddles the worlds of public health and economics I get it, trust me. I’ve been there. Read more >

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He’s a Science Denier—and He Oversees the Nation’s Farm Policy

, Director, Food & Environment

The pattern is clear: by consistently requesting that Congress cut budgets for science, and by decreeing that all federal executive agencies arbitrarily terminate “at least one third” of their advisory committees, the Trump administration is in an all-out war against science—against the premise that evidence and analysis should inform policy-making. Read more >

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue takes a big bite out of his bacon cheeseburger at the Discovery Elementary School cafeteria, in Arlington, VA. Photo: USDA

Secretary Perdue is Moving The Cheese and It’s Not Good For Any Of Us

, Economist

In a recent interview by the North Carolina News and Observer, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue discussed the current proposal to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside Washington DC. When asked if he was worried about employee backlash he replied, “anytime you make change or move people’s cheese, there’s always anxiety.”

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Photo: USDA
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