IARN — President Donald J. Trump chose Sonny Perdue, of Georgia, to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As Secretary Perdue rounds out his tenure, he reflects on accomplishments made within recent years.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says his primary focus was to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture become the “most efficient, effective, and customer-focused Agency in the federal government.”

“We’ve strived to do that. If you ask farmers up and down the line if we’ve been accessible, available, (and) transparent, I think we’d get a pretty good score.”

Agency officials recently provided another level of transparency,  through its launch of AskUSDA. USDA says, “AskUSDA makes it easy, providing information from our organization all in one place.”

“We want farmers to have connectivity. We want to be able to communicate directly with farmers and have them (give) feedback to us. This bilateral feedback loop we have with farmers.gov and AskUSDA will enable them to feel a part of what’s happening in the decision-making process.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture staff early on dedicated time to enhancing rural connectivity. The Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, led by Secretary Perdue, discovered an “urgent need” for rural broadband.

“It’s vital; it’s no longer a luxury,” Secretary Perdue says. “It’s no longer acceptable for 20-percent of the nation to be cut out of connectivity, of electronic commerce.”