Page 15 - 2018Magazine3
P. 15

[ National Scene ]

                         Georgians Lead

                                  National Ag

                Georgia’s Sonny Perdue and Zippy Duvall highlight the

                 state’s agribusiness industry in their new roles on the

                                              national stage.

              ecretary of Agriculture     (2003-2011). “I think it’s         have market prices that
              Sonny Perdue and            obviously prima facie evidence     support their profitability than
        SAmerican Farm Bureau             that Georgia grows good crops.     any safety net from the
        Federation President Zippy        Agriculture is the No. 1           government.”
        Duvall are plowing new ground     industry in our state, as it is in   Secretary Perdue offered
        in American farming. They are     many states, because it            special praise for state
        the first Georgians to hold       supports a lot of jobs. I’m        Commissioner of Agriculture
        either of the nation’s top two    blessed to be from Georgia         Gary Black, who he called the
        agricultural posts.               because I think Georgia            father of Georgia Grown. “Gary
          Their leadership of these       farmers do it as well as           is an authentic, unpretentious,
        agencies raises Georgia’s         anyone.”                           roll-the-corn-cob kind of guy
        national agricultural profile in     He sees his primary             and a great advocate for
        several noteworthy ways. First,   challenge at USDA as helping       agriculture in Georgia who
        this marks only the second        America’s farmers thrive again     carries a lot of respect with his
        time two people from the same     in the face of globally low        peers and colleagues in the
        state have led the USDA and       prices for farm products.          national arena.”
        the Farm Bureau at the same          “The great news is we have a      Duvall, who served five
        time. The other time was          quality trusted product of a       terms as Georgia Farm Bureau
        almost 100 years ago during       noble enterprise called            president (2006-2016),
        the 1919-1922 term of the first   farming here in the U.S. and       seconded Secretary Perdue’s
        Farm Bureau president, when       people are hungry for it all       thoughts about the two
        both leaders were from Iowa.      over the world,” says Secretary    friends’ national leadership
          Secondly, these posts           Perdue. “As the world              positions. “It’s something of a
        typically go to a Midwestern      continues to grow, we will have    recognition that agriculture is
        state. In fact, a Southerner has  increasing challenges to feed      important in Georgia,” says
        never been Secretary of           people. While we’re in a high      Duvall.
        Agriculture. Until now.           supply, low demand situation         Duvall, a Greene County
          “It’s extremely honoring for    that is depressing prices, my      native, also shares Secretary
        both of us Georgians to occupy    goal is to get out and sell        Perdue’s concerns about the
        these places,” says Perdue,       American farm products across      farm economy, pointing out
        adding that he thought his        the world.”                        that “… farm income has gone
        political career was over after      Secretary Perdue continued,     down more than 50 percent
        serving two terms as governor     “Farmers would much rather         since 2013. I don’t think many

                                             [ By Thomas A. Oder ]                                                                               [ 13 ]
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