Krysta Harden, nominee for the position of USDA Deputy Secretary, Tuesday eased past the Senate Agriculture Committee on her way to full confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Harden, Chief of Staff at the USDA, was nominated June 27 for the post, left vacant by former USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, who announced her resignation in March.
Harden has served as Chief of Staff since 2011, serving prior as Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at USDA from 2009 to 2011.
Her previous roles also include Staff Director for the House Committee on Agriculture subcommittee on Peanuts and Tobacco and Legislative Director, Chief of Staff, and Press Secretary for Rep. Charles Hatcher, D-Ga.
Senators gave Harden high marks for her farm background, as did the more than 100 farm, forestry and ag groups signing on to a letter of support.
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen heralded Harden's leadership, noting, "Her years as Chief of Staff at USDA, her work on Capitol Hill, and her vast understanding of value-added agriculture gleaned from years working for farmers and biofuels have all given her the knowledge and insight needed to fill this very important position as Deputy Secretary at USDA."
Testifying on her behalf, Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-Ga., explained that the nominee worked on a peanut farm growing up and "still refers to herself as a 'Georgia farm girl.'"
Harden received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia.