Senate Agriculture Committee approves Harden, Bonnie nominations

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 25, 2013 - The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee unanimously approved today the nominations of Krysta Harden to serve as deputy secretary of agriculture and Robert Bonnie to serve as under secretary for natural resources and the environment.

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The nominations now head to the Senate floor where no opposition is expected.

The committee vote, which took place just off the floor and lasted minutes, came one day after the senators held a hearing on the nominations, where the pair faced no difficult questions. At the hearing, senators gained commitments from both nominees to devote attention to issues such catfish inspection, a topic raised often by ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Harden's nomination to succeed Kathleen Merrigan in the second-highest post at USDA has received bipartisan endorsements.

Bonnie, who has been a senior advisor to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, would succeed Harris Sherman. At the hearing, Bonnie said he learned about conservation growing up on a farm in Kentucky and helping manage family-owned forest land in South Carolina. The experience showed him the “challenge of maintaining family owned farms and forests while being good stewards.”

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