What Trump Administration appointees lack in reticence they make up for in certitude. Take Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Just two weeks after being shown his stately office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) South Building, Perdue announced a major makeover of it: he invoked a 2014 Farm Bill directive to create a new USDA post, undersecretary of trade, by eliminating an existing post, undersecretary of rural development.
Administration officials described this “demotion of Rural Development as an ‘elevation,’” explained the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), because the new trade salesperson “would report directly to the Secretary…”
But that’s selling baloney as steak, commented the NSAC, because “All undersecretaries, including the undersecretary of rural development, already report directly to the Secretary” so “the assertion … is misleading…”
Not to Secretary Perdue who mentions daily that his main goal as USDA boss is “to be American agriculture’s unapologetic advocate and chief salesman around the world.”
As such, creating an Undersecretary for Global Ag — even if you have to strip American rural communities of, first, their megaphone inside USDA and, later, their funding — is, well, apparently the way it’s going to be. Besides, this is America’s destiny, explained Perdue when announcing the undersecretary swap May 11.
“The men and women of American agriculture are hardy people,” he said, “many of whom were born into the calling of feeding America and the world.”
Sonny the Salesman knows you have to sell the sizzle to sell…
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