On Wednesday, May 17, the House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “State of the Rural Economy with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.”
The hearing’s focus will be on rural agriculture, and according to the committee’s hearing notice, and Secretary Perdue will “share his perspective on the economic outlook in rural America along with his vision for USDA and the role it will play in ensuring that our country continues to enjoy the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply in the world.”
Secretary Perdue is expected to share more in-depth details on the USDA’s reorganization plans, which were announced late last week. The agency’s new structure seeks to reorganize departments within USDA to better align program interests. As part of the reorganization, a new undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs position was created. The yet-to-be-named undersecretary will be tasked with promoting U.S. products on global markets.
Thad Lively, U.S. Meat Export Federation senior vice president for trade access, says his organization is pleased with the establishment of the undersecretary position, in accordance with the 2014 farm bill.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was sworn in May 15 as the new U.S. trade representative.
Vice President Mike Pence is calling Lighthizer “uniquely qualified” for the job and says he’ll help ensure the nation’s trade deals benefit the American people.
Lighthizer was confirmed last week on a bipartisan vote despite complaints from some Republicans that the Trump administration has an “incoherent and inconsistent trade message.”