President Joe Biden has nominated Robert Bonnie to serve as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The position is responsible for overseeing various farm support programs at USDA as well as federal crop insurance. Bonnie currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Climate at USDA. Under the Obama Administration, Bonnie had served as Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.
“Under Robert’s steady hand, America’s farmers, ranchers, producers and landowners will see renewed focus on building and maintaining markets at home and abroad and preparing our food and agricultural community to lead the world in climate-smart agricultural practices,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “Robert will be committed to working with U.S. farmers and landowners to help feed Americans and the world and make climate smart practices work for them in a market-oriented way—a way that creates new streams of income, a cleaner energy future and a biobased manufacturing revolution.”
The Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation will serve an important role in the Biden Administration, as issues of climate change have been highlighted as a major point of emphasis. The nomination of Robert Bonnie has garnered support from a variety of agricultural groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Soybean Association. Bonnie has been heralded for his support for a viable carbon market for farmers.
“American Farmland Trust applauds the nomination of Robert Bonnie for Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation. Robert has a deep understanding of incentive-based approaches that enable farmers, ranchers, and landowners to implement conversation practices,” said Tim Fink, American Farmland Trust’s (AFT) policy director. “We look forward to working with Robert to advance AFT’s mission of saving the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, implementing environmentally sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land.”