Jan. 18 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly nominate the former governor of Georgia as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, completing nominations for his cabinet about 36 hours before his inauguration.
Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who grew up on a farm and has a doctorate in veterinary medicine, is expected to be announced Thursday as Trump's nominee for secretary of agriculture, according to members of the president-elect's transition team.
Trump's selection of leadership for the USDA is considered important because he was so strongly supported by rural voters during the presidential election who expect him to deliver on a broad range of issues.
Perdue grew up on a farm in central Georgia and has owned several grain- and feed-processing, farm transportation and crop export companies. He also told reporters after a meeting with Trump in November he felt his experience in the agriculture business and knowledge of related issues impressed the president-elect.
Purdue came to national prominence after serving in the state Senate in Georgia as a Democrat, when he switched to the Republican Party and beat the incumbent Democrat governor to serve two terms from 2003 to 2011. Since August, Purdue has has been a member of Trump's agricultural advisory council.