Biden Nominates Bonnie for USDA FPAC Undersecretary

Kevin Scott, soybean farmer from Valley Springs, South Dakota, and ASA President said, “Bonnie has a solid background, having overseen NRCS under the Obama Administration and most recently serving as Secretary Vilsack’s chief climate adviser. We have appreciated his public service in support of agriculture, and we respect Bonnie’s accessibility and responsiveness to us as farmers. Just recently, he joined ASA virtually for a conversation during our March board meetings, and we’ve consistently seen this willingness on his part to connect with farmers. We look forward to working with him in this new role after his confirmation.”

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said Bonnie’s experience at USDA “has given him firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing America’s farmers and ranchers. We appreciate his outreach and engagement with Farm Bureau during his tenure with the Biden administration and we are hopeful he will remain fully engaged with farmers and ranchers in his new role.

“We look forward to the nomination process and we hope to build on our relationship with Robert to ensure farm, crop and conservation programs allow farmers and ranchers to continue putting food on tables across the country.”

Farm Bureau also issued a separate statement shortly later calling on members of Congress to work in a bipartisan way when it comes to climate change. Duvall cited the introduction of several bills on Friday on climate change.

“AFBF appreciates efforts by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to address the issue of climate change while protecting America’s farmers and ranchers. It’s important that the people who will be affected most by climate policies be involved and respected in the process,” Duvall said.

He added, “We encourage lawmakers to find bipartisan solutions that preserve our natural resources while ensuring farmers have the opportunity to continue producing healthy, affordable food for our nation and the world.”

Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee earlier in the day also announced a package of five climate bills that Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., ranking member of the committee, dubbed as “natural solutions” to the issue.

“Agriculture Republicans are crafting innovative climate solutions by empowering the original stewards of our land — our farmers, ranchers, and foresters,” Thompson said in a news release.

“These thoughtful, science-based policies will help promote a stronger agriculture economy by growing climate-friendly innovations that are already being carried out by producers,” he said.

“We cannot sacrifice a healthy economy for a healthy environment, and vice versa. Natural solutions work, and we know producers are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

“This is an initial slate of ideas to improve the productivity of America’s agricultural sector while reducing our carbon footprint, and we will be rolling out more proposals during the Congress. I look forward to discussions with stakeholders in the private sector, our colleagues in the Biden Administration, and Members on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate to build on these proposals and move them forward,” Thompson said. Thompson also said there is no need for immediate must-pass legislation on climate in agriculture and that climate legislation is “not a destination but a journey.”

The Republicans welcome producer reaction to these proposals, he added.

Republicans pitched their package of bills as an alternative for the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a bill developed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.

USDA has been soliciting comments on how to implement President Joe Biden’s executive order to tackle climate change. The comment period closes at end of April, The Federal Register notice on USDA’s request for comments on tackling climate change.…

House Agriculture GOP release on its members’ climate-related bills:…

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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