WASHINGTON — Agriculture has not been mentioned more “aggressively” by occupants of the Oval Office for a long time, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

“I think it’s because he truly has an affection and affinity for people who till the soil and the noble cause of producing our food, fuel and fiber,” Perdue said of President Donald Trump.

Perdue spoke Monday, Aug. 31, during the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual meeting.

Perdue said Trump often asks him how farmers are doing and tells him to take care of them.

Last spring Trump authorized $19 billion for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, including $16 billion in direct payments to farmers.

USDA is gearing up to announce round two of the program, incorporating additional grower feedback and covering more commodities, Perdue said.

Trump last week also authorized an additional $1 billion for the Farmers to Families Food Box program.

USDA takes a “local mindset,” Perdue said.

“(We) realize that the policies and regulations we do are affecting somebody’s life out there in agricultural business, and that’s what we want to be ever mindful of,” he said.

Perdue responded to several questions from NASDA members.

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