RAFI Statement to the Press on the Nomination of Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary
“We hope Mr. Perdue will take aggressive and effective action on behalf of farmers.”Pittsboro, NC (January 19, 2017) – Yesterday, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Sonny Perdue III, the former governor of Georgia, to lead the Department of Agriculture. In response to this announcement, Scott Marlow of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI), a national non-profit that advocates for fairer contracts and better working conditions for farmers and process line workers, issued the following statement:
“As the former Governor of Georgia, which is the top chicken producing state in the country, Sonny Perdue III understands the risks and realities that farmers face in highly concentrated industries such as poultry production.
We hope that, as Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Perdue will take aggressive and effective action on behalf of farmers to make sure we have fair, open markets that promote small and mid-sized farm businesses and American entrepreneurship.
We look forward to working with Mr. Perdue to promote fairness and entrepreneurship across our nation’s agricultural communities.”
Full Statement from RAFI on Nomination of Sonny PerdueSonny Perdue is taking on a critical role at a critical time for American farmers. Net farm income is estimated to have dropped 28% since 2014, and across America farmers are feeling the strain of higher debt loads and lower prices, while struggling to stay viable in uncompetitive markets controlled by corporate giants. We know that American farmers of all sizes can thrive at home and compete with anyone in the world, if they have a fair playing field in fair and open markets. We have learned the importance of the creativity, ingenuity, and hard work of America’s farmers in addressing the many problems that we face as a nation, and our policies should recognize their contributions and strengthen rural communities. In particular:
- We will stand with farmers in holding the new administration accountable to following through on campaign promises to “drain the swamp.” For far too long, corporations have been able to control agricultural policy through lobbying, taking unfair advantage of American farmers.
- We expect the new administration to base policy decisions on the needs of people and not the profit margins of the powerful corporations that dominate many agricultural markets.
- We hope the new administration will commit to restoring competition in rural America so that farmers can thrive, obtain fair contracts, and earn a decent living. This will require taking real steps to establish a level playing field between American farmers and corporations in all agricultural sectors, and it will mean enforcing regulations to ensure that farmers receive fair contracts and fair pay. This will also require taking an aggressive stance on further mergers in agriculture. Corporate mega-mergers threaten the livelihoods of farmers through higher prices and fewer options, and they can ultimately undermine the ability of farmers to independently manage their farms by dramatically shifting the balance of power in agriculture.
- Finally, we expect to see a strong commitment from this administration to all of America’s agricultural communities. This means making sure that those who need assistance receive it. We hope that the new administration will strengthen the economic engine that supports millions of Americans and their families, including those in rural communities left behind during the economic recovery.