Sonny Perdue’s undisclosed deal with ADM raises ethics questions

Several weeks before Sonny Perdue became agriculture secretary, his company bought a grain elevator in Estill, South Carolina, from agribusiness giant ADM for $250,000 – a fraction of the original asking price, reported the Washington Post on Tuesday. ADM denied it was a sweetheart deal but a …

Trump administration tried to influence state responses to meatpacking plant outbreaks, documents reveal

Top staff at the Department of Agriculture, including former agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue, and at the Vice President’s office sought to influence how states responded to early outbreaks of Covid-19 in meatpacking plants last spring, a trove of documents reveals.(No paywall)

Perdue demurs at cabinet sideline of Trump

While the top Democrats in Congress threatened to impeach President Trump for the second time, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday that he was not part of any discussions among cabinet members to sideline Trump by declaring him unfit to do his job. "Nor do I expect to have any" part in such talk, said Perdue during a trip to Georgia.

Meyer to succeed Johansson as USDA chief economist

The associate director of a University of Missouri think tank, Seth Meyer, will become USDA chief economist at the end of January, succeeding Rob Johansson, who held the post since 2015, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday. As chief economist, Meyer will be responsible for USDA’s …

Coronavirus payments to farmers near $18 billion

The Trump administration wrote $7.6 billion in coronavirus checks to farmers in the past four weeks, pushing the total for relief payments to nearly $18 billion since the pandemic struck in the spring. The payments account for half of the record-large federal supports being paid to agriculture …

Perdue violated rules against politicking on the job, says ethics agency

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue violated a 1939 law against politicking on the job when he urged the re-election of President Trump at a produce packing house in North Carolina on Aug. 24 and must reimburse the government "for the costs associated with his political activity," said the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Thursday.

Perdue unwilling to use SNAP to fullest during pandemic, says think tank

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue shows more enthusiasm for cutting SNAP enrollment than in making full use of food stamps to alleviate hunger during the pandemic, said the think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) on Thursday. SNAP enrollment has rocketed to 43 million, the highest level since October 2017, and estimates of food insecurity have tripled because of the coronavirus.

In abrupt reversal, USDA extends summer school food waivers

In a sudden reversal, the Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it would extend school meal waivers through Dec. 30—less than a week after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had said the programs would lapse by Sept. 30. The shift came amid an outcry from advocates and lawmakers from both parties, who argued that Perdue’s refusal to extend key waivers and flexibilities around free summer meals would worsen record levels of child hunger. (No paywall)

Perdue violated anti-politicking law, says ethics complaint

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue solicited votes for President Trump in violation of the 1939 federal law that bars partisan activity by federal officials while on the job, said a complaint filed by a good-government group. The complaint cites Perdue's comments at a produce packing shed in North Carolina, where Trump announced a $1-billion extension of the administration's food-box giveaway program.