The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the nomination of Robert Bonnie as the USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation three months ago. The position is one of the most important at USDA as the undersecretary oversees the agency’s farm subsidy and land stewardship programs, which cost over $10 billion a year. The departmental scope covers public nutrition, international trade, ag research, meat safety, and rural economic development.
Successful Farming says several senators placed hold actions on Bonnie for reasons mostly unrelated to the nominee. Bonnie was trained in forestry and served as an undersecretary in the Obama administration. He joined USDA as a climate advisor on the same day Joe Biden took office. Bonnie has been at the forefront of the administration’s plans to mitigate climate change. During his confirmation hearing this year, he said that actions on global warming would be voluntary, incentive-based, and locally-led. “If they don’t work for producers and landowners, they’re not going to work for the climate,” he said during his testimony.