January 20, 2017

Dear Senator Stabenow,

The Agricultural Leaders of Michigan are writing to express our support for the nomination of Gov. Sonny Perdue to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As we head into the Farm Bill process, it is critical for our industry to have a leader in place at USDA who understands agriculture and the unique challenges faced by farmers, producers and agribusinesses. Gov. Perdue’s background in the grain and feed industry, as a farmer, as a business owner, and as an experienced voice on international agricultural trade issues will position him to be a strong advocate for our industry, and an effective leader of USDA.

Gov. Perdue has long interacted with farmers, commodity organizations and trade associations spanning our sector, which gives him a unique perspective on how the Department and its Agencies affect the lives of everyday producers across the nation. His active participation in the industry over the years demonstrates a sincere interest in American agriculture, which positions him for effective leadership of USDA.

We are heartened by Gov. Perdue’s strong track record of trade promotion, both as Governor and as an export business owner. During his time as Governor, he promoted trade to more than 25 countries and demonstrated a strong understanding that logistics and infrastructure drive markets, as evidenced by his efforts to expand port infrastructure in Georgia. In a state whose agriculture sector exports more than $3 billion annually, and depends on open trade to facilitate economic growth, Gov. Perdue’s record of advocacy in support of trade is important for Michigan agriculture.

We echo the sentiments expressed this week by multiple trade and commodity groups who have lauded the nomination of Gov. Perdue to serve as Secretary of Agriculture, and ask for your support of his nomination.

Respectfully,  
Mary Kelpinski
Chief Executive Officer
Michigan Pork Producers Association
(517) 853-3782

Dave Armstrong
President and CEO
GreenStone Farm Credit Services
(517) 318-4105

Mike Wenkel
Manager
Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc.
(517) 253-7370

Jim Byrum
President
Michigan Agri-Business Association
(517) 336-0223

Jim Zook
Executive Director
Michigan Corn Growers Association
(517) 668-2676

Gail Frahm
Executive Director
Michigan Soybean Association
(989) 652-3294

Ken Nobis
President
Michigan Milk Producers Association
(248) 474-6672