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USDA chief of staff named to deputy post


By Larry Dreiling

President Barack Obama announced June 27 his intent to nominate two individuals to key administration posts.

Krysta Harden has been nominated deputy secretary of agriculture, while Robert Bonnie has been nominated undersecretary of agriculture for natural resources and environment.

Harden is the current chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a position she has held since 2011. Prior to this, Harden served as assistant secretary for congressional relations at USDA from 2009 to 2011.

From 2004 to 2009, Harden served as the chief executive officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts. Previously, Harden was the senior vice president of the Washington think tank Gordley Associates from 1993 to 2004. She also served as staff director for the House Agriculture Subcommittee on peanuts and tobacco from 1992 to 1993.

From 1981 to 1992, Harden held a number of roles including legislative director, chief of staff, and press secretary for former Rep. Charles Hatcher, D-GA. Harden received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.

Bonnie currently is a senior policy advisor at USDA, a position he has held since 2009. Prior to this, he worked for the Environmental Defense Fund where he held a number of roles from 1995 to 2008, including vice president of land conservation and wildlife and managing director of the Center for Conservation Incentives.

Bonnie served on the board of visitors at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. He was a member of the board of directors for the Piedmont Environmental Council and Scenic America.

Bonnie received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and master’s degrees from the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment.

Larry Dreiling can be reached by phone at 785-628-1117, or by email at

Date: 7/15/2013


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