It would undoubtedly mean a friendly face in Washington’s upper echelons, as well as a more direct line to the White House for many of Perdue’s Georgia allies. And while drafting policy exclusively favoring Georgia would be met with suspicion, Perdue will be stepping into a powerful bully pulpit.
Of immediate concern, farmers in the state are looking for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make low-interest emergency loans to Georgia’s blueberry farmers after freezing temperatures killed millions of dollars worth of crops in March.
Not everyone in the state thinks Perdue’s ascension would benefit Georgia.
Neill Herring, a lobbyist for the Georgia branch of the Sierra Club, worries that Perdue’s focus on agriculture and farming will come at the expense of conservation programs.
“The USDA can be such a great doer of good and has been in historic times,” he said. “But the focus now on commodity production, the concentration and accumulation of resources is such that it’s really hard to be optimistic that they’re going to be good for the planet or the climate or the impact of agriculture in communities.”