Trump team formally announces Sonny Perdue as pick for secretary of agriculture

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WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture, selecting a former Georgia governor over candidates from the Midwest, which dominates agriculture exports.

Perdue, who was on Trump's agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign, has to be confirmed in the post by the Republican-led Senate.

Perdue served two terms as Georgia governor from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, he was a state senator, representing a rural swath of the state about 100 miles (160 km) south of Atlanta.

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

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Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

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Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

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Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

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Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

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Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

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White House counsel: Donald McGahn

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Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

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Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

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Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

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Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

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Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

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"From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face," Trump said in a statement. Trump takes office on Friday.

Perdue, who holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine and served in the U.S. Air Force, founded a grain and fertilizer business in Georgia.

"I'm going to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role," he said in a statement.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, David Alexander and Doina Chiacu in Washington and Mark Weinraub in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry)

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