A farm expert should be appointed to the vacant seat on the Federal Reserve Board, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar said in a recent letter to the President.

"A nominee familiar with the U.S. food and fiber sector-coupled, needless to say, with the requisite knowledge of monetary policy and the world's financial system-would be an asset to the board of governors," the Indiana Republican wrote in a Sept. 1 letter, which was released Thursday.

A seat on the seven-member Fed board has been vacant since June when Susan M. Phillips left to become dean of George Washington University's business school. Administration officials have said the search for a successor is moving slowly. Rumored candidates include two bankers with community reinvestment experience: Catherine P. Bessant of NationsBank Corp. and Mary L. Decker of First Chicago NBD Corp. - Jaret Seiberg

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