Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


May 12, 2017
Press Release
ALBANY, GA – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, is carefully analyzing the proposed reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which was announced yesterday by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Among a number of changes, this proposed reorganization would move the Rural Development agencies to report directly to the Secretary of Agriculture, rather than to an Under Secretary.
"I am encouraged by Secretary Perdue’s recognition of the vital role rural America plays in providing food and fiber for America and the world," said Congressman Bishop. "To ensure rural America always has a strong advocate, Secretary Perdue has proposed reorganizing the Rural Development agencies to report directly to the Secretary and not through an Under Secretary. This is new territory, and I will be paying close attention to how this revised chain of command would impact our country’s rural communities. I will be analyzing these proposed reforms to ensure they would make Rural Development, and the other forward facing customer interaction arms of USDA, more streamlined, less onerous, and more responsive.”
Under the proposed USDA reorganization, the Department believes it would allow for a more direct line of communication between USDA leadership and the primary agency serving rural America. However, this change would also eliminate the Under Secretary of Rural Development position, a Senate confirmed post, which does raise some concerns.
Additionally, Secretary Perdue proposed establishing a new Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, which would oversee the Foreign Agricultural Service. Secretary Perdue also proposed a new Farm Production and Conservation mission area. This domestically focused mission area would house the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. By combining these agencies under one organizational structure, USDA anticipates that it would be able to streamline program delivery for U.S. agricultural producers.  
Congressman Bishop looks forward to working together with Secretary Perdue, colleagues in Congress, and all rural and agricultural stakeholders to strengthen rural communities and ensure America can continue to produce and export the highest quality, the safest, the most abundant, and the most economical food and fiber in the industrialized world.
Further background on the proposed reorganization can be found here.