WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, today met with President Trump's nominee to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

Following the meeting, Senator Ernst issued this statement:

“Governor Perdue and I had a productive conversation about the state of the agriculture economy and the policy changes needed at the USDA to better address the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing.

“I expressed to Governor Perdue that when I visit with farmers, ranchers and agriculture businesses, the biggest concern they voice to me is the overwhelming burden of regulations, such as the expanded definition of the Waters of the U.S. rule. I noted how important it is for our new leadership in the USDA to collaborate with the other agencies and roll back many of these harmful regulations so that we can provide the much-sought-after relief for our agriculture industry.

“With Iowa leading our nation in pork, egg, corn, and soybean production, it is also key that the USDA work to maintain and strengthen the existing trade agreements we have with other nations. In order to ensure our American producers are able to sell their goods competitively in the global market, it is critical we pursue an aggressive trade policy.

“Furthermore, I emphasized the importance of renewable fuels to Iowa’s economy and the need to have a strong partner in the USDA as we continue to pursue alternative sources of energy that boost our economy and provide consumers with greater choice. I shared with Governor Perdue that Iowa produces more ethanol than the next two states combined.

“Moreover, I encouraged the Governor to visit Iowa soon, and I appreciated the opportunity to discuss many Iowans’ agricultural priorities. I look forward to continuing to thoroughly vet him for this position as he comes before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee for his confirmation hearing.”