WASHINGTON — Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony April 25 at the Supreme Court building.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on April 24. After Secretary Perdue took the oath of office, he addressed employees at the USDA before getting to work on his first day.
Also this morning, USDA launched his official Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny.
“The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks — to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said.
Perdue’s policies as secretary will be guided by four principles. First, he plans to maximize the ability of the agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor.
He also intends to prioritize customer service for American taxpayers and consumers.
He plans to ensure the meeting of food safety standards, and remember that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land.
He follows his father’s words that “we’re all stewards of the land, owned or rented, and our responsibility is to leave it better than we found it.”
Upon nominating Secretary Perdue in January, President Donald J. Trump said, “Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture. From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”
About the secretary
Sonny Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. From childhood, and through his life in business and elected office, Perdue has experienced the industry from every possible perspective.
Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st USDA secretary April 25.
Additionally, Perdue recognizes that American agriculture needs a strong advocate to promote its interests to international markets.
As a youngster growing up on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia, Perdue never fully realized that the blessings of purposeful, meaningful work would serve him as well as they have in life.
When he was a young boy feeding the calves and plowing the fields, he was an integral part of the workforce on his father’s farm.
As the son of a mother who was an English teacher for 42 years, he benefitted from her teachings as well — not just by instilling in him the beliefs he still holds dear, but also by lending him an appreciation and respect for language and proper grammar.
But more than anything in his life, it was the family farm which shaped him. He has lived and breathed the exhilaration of a great crop and the despair and devastation of a drought.
He learned by experience what his father told him as a child, “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.”
As a younger man, he served his country in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of Captain. After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia, he put that training to use in private practice in North Carolina.
Perdue has been married to Mary Ruff Perdue for 44 years and has four adult children and fourteen grandchildren. He and his wife have served as foster parents for eight children awaiting adoption.
Perdue remains a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot and avid outdoor sportsman.