U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has been tapped to lead the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry during the 115th Congress, continuing his efforts to put the concerns of farmers and ranchers first.
“I am humbled to be chosen by the Senate Republican Conference to lead the Agriculture Committee as we head into the 115th Congress,” said Chairman Roberts. “We just wrapped up a productive two years in the Agriculture Committee, and I look forward to an even busier schedule as we point our focus to completing a new Farm Bill. We’re going to take a hard look at what is and isn’t working, and we’ll start by listening. As I said when I first became Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, we must to listen to farmers and ranchers first. My focus remains the same.”
“Times are tough right now in farm country. We have low commodity prices and a tightening credit situation. We have immediate supply and demand challenges to address as well. Farmers and ranchers are asking me what can be done, especially for new and beginning producers just starting their operations. We will see what dials can be turned up or down in the current Farm Bill to provide some relief.
“We will also work with the Trump Administration to roll back regulations that have left those in farm country feel ruled, not governed.
“But we must also look ahead – way ahead – to the challenges agriculture faces in feeding the world. Too often the Congress looks in the rear view mirror. We need to look out over the dash at long term problems that we cannot ignore like water management, energy use and production, and the promise of developing agriculture technology.”
Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee were announced this week. They include:
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
John Hoeven, North Dakota
Joni Ernst, Iowa
Chuck Grassley, Iowa
Jeff Sessions, Alabama
John Thune, South Dakota
Steve Daines, Montana
David Perdue, Georgia
“I welcome Senators Steve Daines from Montana and Jeff Sessions from Alabama to the Agriculture Committee,” said Chairman Roberts. “Their home states represent an important share of agriculture production in the United States and are welcome additions to the agriculture posse.”
“Montana’s number one economic driver is agriculture, and I’m excited to represent their priorities on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture,” said Senator Daines. “I look forward to working with Chairman Roberts and the Committee.”
President-elect Trump has nominated Senator Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General. Once confirmed by the Senate, Sessions’ seat on the Agriculture Committee will be filled by another Senator.
“I’m also pleased that U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will continue in her role as Ranking Member. We have a proven track record of success in finding common ground on polarizing issues. We have written a Farm Bill before, and we’ll do it again.”
Roberts is the only Member of Congress to hold the titles of both Senate and House Agriculture Committee Chairman and Ranking Member. As the House Agriculture Committee Chairman during 1995-1997, then Congressman Roberts led the reform of outdated federal farm policies. He also reformed the federal food stamp program, reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. His advocacy for farmers and ranchers continued in the Senate as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee since 1997. In 2000, he wrote sweeping reforms to the federal crop insurance program. He also has called for a more aggressive U.S. trade policy and has fought to regain access to overseas markets for U.S. beef exports.
From 2011-2013, Senator Roberts served as the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. In 2012, with then Chairwoman Stabenow, Roberts passed a Farm Bill through the Committee, which was later approved by the full Senate. During 2014-2016, Senator Roberts served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Under his leadership, the Committee held more than 25 hearings and business meetings, passing bipartisan legislation, including Child Nutrition Reauthorization, Agriculture Biotechnology Disclosure Solution, and the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015. The Committee also passed emergency wildfire legislation and reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, protected the current Farm Bill from changes and cuts, and took action to resolve the Country-of-Origin Labeling trade dispute.