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Dairy Facts 2016

Senate Ag Leadership Changes; New Members Join House Ag Committee

Jan 09, 2013

During a Republican caucus meeting of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry members last week, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas threw his support behind Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran to be the committee's ranking member for the 113th Congress. While the membership of this committee is relatively unchanged from the 112th Congress, the House Committee on Agriculture announced several new members.

In the Senate, Cochran holds the most seniority over his Republican colleagues because he has served on the agriculture committee since 1979. Reclaiming his post on the committee could alter the perspective on fleshing out a five-year farm bill in the coming months with an increased Southern influence. Roberts, the former ranking member, will remain on the committee and will now serve as the ranking member on the Senate Rules Committee.

The committee seats left open by the retirements of Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) have been taken by Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Heidi Heidkamp (D-ND). The vacancy created by the retirement of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) will not be filled, giving the Democrats a slightly larger majority on the committee.

New Members of House Agriculture Committee

The House Committee on Agriculture will continue to have 46 members in the 113th Congress, but the Democrats picked up a seat due to their gains in the election, resulting in a 25-21 ratio compared to 26-20 in the second session of the 112th Congress. Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) will remain chairman, and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) will remain ranking member. A significant change for dairy issues is the departure of Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), who will be replaced as chairman of the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AK).

Although only two Republican members of the committee did not return to Congress, several moved on to other committee assignments. As a result, there are eight new Republican members of the committee. They are Representatives Dan Benishek (R-MI), Chris Collins (R-NY), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Ted Yoho (R-FL).

Due to retirements, lost elections and changes in committee assignments, nearly two-thirds of the 21 Democrats on the committee will be new. Representatives David Scott (D-GA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who supported the Goodlatte-Scott amendment, are returning, and they will be joined by the following freshmen: Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), William Eynart (D-IL), Pete Gallego (D-TX), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Filemon Vela (D-TX).

For more information, contact Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at

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