Daines Invites Perdue to Montana Ag Summit 2017 in Great Falls

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today spoke with Governor Sonny Perdue, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during his nomination hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture. Daines invited Perdue to visit Montana and attend the Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls.

“Ag production across our nation is diverse and Montana ag presents some unique and especially specific challenges, but great opportunities,” Daines stated. “With that in mind, I would like to extend an invitation to you Governor Perdue to come out to Montana – we’re going to have an Ag Summit May 31 – June 1 in Great Falls, which is ground zero for the ag economy in Montana. Would love to have you.”

Daines then spoke with Perdue regarding expanding trade opportunities and forest management reform.

“As Secretary, how will you ensure that ag’s voice is heard loud and clear within this administration and fight for Montana farmers and ranchers ability to access new markets abroad and not face retaliation,” Daines asked Perdue.

Perdue responded: “The good news is we have a growing middle class around the world that’s hungry for those products. Food is a noble thing to trade and as I’ve indicted several times before we’ve got a great story to tell, we have producers here that can produce more than we need to consume – that’s not the case in many parts of the world. Why don’t we use that bounty to supply one of the fundamental needs of mankind around the world. I will continue tirelessly to advocate that within our administration and in conjunction with you all in development. I plan to be on site as USDA’s chief salesman around the world to sell these products, to negotiate these deals side by side with USTR, side by side with Secretary Ross and our whole team. I believe USDA will be intimately involved in the personal on the ground – boots on the ground – negotiation at tables around this world with ag ministers and foreign dignitaries, selling our product.”

Perdue remarked that he would welcome the opportunity to work with Daines to reverse the disastrous Cottonwood decision that added another layer of unnecessary red tape and is threatening dozens of forest management projects. Perdue also noted that he has seen the legislation and agrees with it “wholeheartedly.”

The recent scandal in Brazil that has resulted in several meatpacking companies being investigated for corruption and fraudulent inspections of meat intended for foreign markets was also raised in this hearing. Perdue called for thorough inspections of Brazilian beef by the Food Safety and Inspection Service and that the policy of maintaining 100% re-inspection and testing of all meat imports from Brazil will be retained “indefinitely”. Daines has raised this issue with Perdue and letter to USDA on March 22 that demanded USDA “utilize all appropriate and legal means necessary to ensure that U.S. consumers are not at risk to any imported meat from Brazil or other countries.”

Daines is Montana’s only member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and is the Chairman of the Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

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