WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, questioned Governor Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture during his confirmation hearing today about the need to open new markets for American agriculture products.
Boozman shared the importance of trade to the Arkansas agriculture industry, the state’s largest economic sector, and promoted Cuba as a market to increase business for American farmers and ranchers.
“We would love to have Cuba as a customer,” Perdue said. “They would love to have our products.”
Perdue said that as governor of Georgia, he led a delegation to Cuba in 2010 and heard one big problem was the ability to finance. He encouraged Congress to take action on lifting private financing restrictions on U.S. agriculture exports to Cuba.
Boozman and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D- ND) reintroduced the Agriculture Export Expansion Act last month. This legislation would lift the ban on private banks and companies from offering credits for the sale of agriculture exports to Cuba.
Boozman also encouraged Perdue to use his authority as USDA Secretary to make federal child nutrition programs more efficient and flexible so children who are receiving school meals have access to healthy and nutritious food in the summer when school is out. The senator highlighted the importance of ensuring that there was a seamless transition for children between the school year and summertime.
“I would love to facilitate that kind of transition to make sure those kids who are able to meals while they’re at school are able to continue that through the summertime and that they don’t fall into a problem during that time to keep kids healthy,” Perdue said.
Boozman will support the confirmation of Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as Secretary of Agriculture.