U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue toured Lindt USA’s headquarters in Stratham, N.H. Thursday to experience firsthand the economic impact that the confectionery industry has on the state and national economy.
Perdue, who took the helm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April, was joined by Lindt executives and representatives from the National Confectioners Association (NCA).
“We’re honored to have the opportunity to meet with Secretary Perdue and discuss issues that impact our business,” said Andreas Pfluger, president and ceo of Lindt North America. “We hope that this experience will help educate and inform the important policy decisions that the Secretary and the department will make moving forward.”
As one of the state’s largest employers, Lindt provides 1,200 jobs in New Hampshire. Nationwide, the company employs more than 4,000 people.
In addition to touring the Lindt plant, Secretary Perdue discussed with Lindt and NCA representatives ways in which policymakers can support economic growth in the confectionery industry. Chocolate and candy companies support 55,000 jobs in more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities across the country, and more than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood, the NCA said.
“We were appreciative of our time with Secretary Perdue and discussed a number of issues with him, including NAFTA renegotiation, federal labeling requirements and the need to reform the U.S. sugar program,” said John Downs, NCA president and ceo. “Sugar reform remains a top priority for our industry, and we look forward to continuing our conversation with Secretary Perdue and Members of Congress as we approach the next farm bill.”