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Ag Secretary visits fertilizer plant

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the FS plant in Chenoa on Monday  / CIFN photo.

CHENOA - U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made a brief stop at the Evergreen FS Plant in Chenoa Monday afternoon as part of a five-state RV tour, discussing topics ranging from legislation to trade.

“As a Georgia boy, I’m a little jealous of the way these corn and beans look out here,” Perdue joked.

Perdue said he wished members of the public could understand the environmental protection and safety standards those in the agriculture industry follow every day.

“Our farmers are the best stewards and they’re working very hard to make sure our waterways are safe.”

According to Perdue, the president is working hard to ensure waterways continue to work so the fertile Mississippi Valley area can continue to feed the world. Perdue hopes to see a balanced approach to the next farm bill where farmers are given the freedom to farm.

“Let them farm for the market. Let them make their decisions based on where they see the market direction and not farm for a program,” Perdue stated.

Perdue wants the good farm bill safety net to stay in place, although he does not want people to farm for insurance. He thinks the 2014 bill was better than the 2008 version and hopes lawmakers can continue to make progress in that area.

When it comes to trade, Perdue acknowledged that there was disappointment over withdrawing engagement in TPP, or the Trans Pacific Partnership. He said the president believes the U.S. should be a favorite customer and is looking forward to negotiating bilateral trade agreements.

Perdue called China a “complex” market but pointed to good results from a 100-day plan agreed to by the presidents of both countries. He feels China wants a relationship, although those in agriculture often fear that ag products are used as retaliatory measures.

“We’ve gotten beef back into China for the first time in over 13 years,” said Perdue.

Canada’s dairy supply management system was another talking point during Perdue’s visit. He believes if Canada is going to have such a system, they must manage the supply.

“They’ve made it so lucrative for the dairy industry in Canada that they’re dumping milk solids on the world and depressing markets for our dairy industry.”

The “Back to our Roots” farm bill and rural prosperity tour allowed Purdue and others in his department to hear directly from those involved in agriculture across the country, along with consumers. Perdue was confirmed as the nation’s ag secretary this past spring.

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