In Video, Perdue Warns Employees of USDA Job Cuts

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has a message to his employees: It's time for belt tightening.

In a video released to Agriculture Department employees on YouTube, Perdue said that while congressional appropriators may deviate from the steep fiscal year 2018 budget cuts proposed by the White House May 23, the USDA will likely face some reductions.

Sonny Perdue

“There's no sugar-coating what we will face, the USDA will likely see a significant reduction in funding by the time the process is complete," Perdue said in the May 23 video.

The Trump administration proposed a 21 percent cut to USDA funding, with reductions to rural development and trade promotion programs. The food stamp and crop insurance programs would also suffer cuts. Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Young told reporters May 23 that the cuts could mean as much as 5,200 job losses at the department, hitting the Farm Service Agency and rural development programs particularly hard.

In his video, Perdue concluded the same.

"There's no denying that such budgetary restrictions could possibly mean a reduction in staff," Perdue said in the video.

Perdue — who has been on the job for about a month — expressed hope he could make the reductions through normal attrition and early retirements.