America is one big step closer to having its first female Secretary of Agriculture. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is leading the confirmation hearing this morning in Washington D-C for President Bush’s nominee Ann Veneman, and she’s gotten a very warm reception.Harkin, a democrat, says he believes “we can work together and we must work together across party lines to do the work that needs to be done for farm families, rural communities and consumers.” He heaped praises on Veneman for her accomplishments so far, calling her intelligent, capable and conscientious, adding, she has “solid experience and credentials.”Veneman has served as California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture. She responded to a question from Harkin about competition to U-S farmers from the European Union and elsewhere. She says the U-S needs to expand trade and break down barriers to its products.Harkin questioned Veneman about her views on food safety and public health. Veneman responded that her record on food safety stands for itself.Harkin is currently chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, but will only hold the title until George W-Bush becomes President on Saturday. Only one other Iowan has held the post — Fort Dodge republican Senator Jonathan Dolliver from 1909-to-1910.