National Press Club

Agriculture Secretary Perdue says he wants to make USDA the `Amazon of the federal government'

December 12, 2017 | By Amanda Macias |

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks at a NPC Headliners Luncheon on Dec. 12

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks at a NPC Headliners Luncheon on Dec. 12

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

In his first visit to the National Press Club as Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue on Tuesday discussed the importance of encouraging American farmers and inspiring the next generation of agricultural leaders by boosting efficiency and customer focus.

“Every single day, every single American, every single visitor is directly and tangibly affected by the work of our department,” Perdue said at a National Press Club Headliners Luncheon on Dec. 12. “The USDA matters.”

Perdue, who was sworn in as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture earlier this year, gave his insights on a range of subjects, from renewable fuel to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to President Donald Trump’s tweets.

“When I travel across America I don't get questions about the things that everyone in Washington seems to be talking about,” such as the latest scandal or the President's tweets, Perdue said.

As a former dairy farmer from rural Georgia, Perdue noted that his current role as Secretary has given him a “unique perspective of observing two different worlds.” One is the world of real people and the other is about politics, he said.

“What people want from their government is not so much talk or a revolving showcase of agendas but really they want to see a government that works for them,” said Perdue, who has traveled to more than 30 states and 6 countries as Secretary.

After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Georgia and serving his country in the Air Force, Perdue became a small business owner focusing on agribusiness. He started his political career in the Georgia state Senate where he served 11 years before serving as governor of Georgia for two terms.

Perdue said one of his main goals as Secretary is to transform the USDA into the “most efficient, the most effective, the most customer-focused and the best-managed department of the federal government.”

When asked how he wanted to attain that goal he offered a modern metaphor.

“We want to be the Amazon of the federal government.”