Ag committee shuffle

Ag committee shuffle

IT'S time to close the books on this session of what has been called a "do nothing Congress" that accomplished very little in 2012.

A handful of transitions are underway.

The "Big Four" on the House and Senate agriculture committees -- the chairmen and ranking members -- will remain the same, but new members have been named to the committees.

Incoming Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.) will take seats on the Senate Agriculture Committee, replacing Sens. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) and Dick Lugar (R., Ind.), both of whom are leaving the chamber.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.) was tapped to head the Senate Appropriations Committee following the death of longtime chairman Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii).

Rep. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) was recently named as the replacement for Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), who is retiring to take the helm at the Heritage Foundation.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D., Minn.), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, announced the committee's new Democrats: incoming Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D., N.M.), Ann Kuster (D., N.H.), Gloria McLeod (D., Cal.) and Filemon Vela (D., Texas).

Peterson said additional appointments will be announced in the coming weeks.

House Agriculture Committee chair Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) announced his subcommittee chairmen for the next session.

Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) will serve as chairman of the subcommittee on department operations, oversight and nutrition. King won a tight race in a redrawn district in Iowa that is one of the leading districts representing egg and pork production, as well as ethanol and renewable energy production.

"During my time as a contractor, it was mandatory that, to be successful, I had to make sure every dollar achieved the most bang for the buck. As oversight chairman, I will work to apply those same principles to the tax dollars that fund the programs under the jurisdiction of my subcommittee," King said.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R., Texas) will serve a second term as chairman of the House agriculture subcommittee on general farm commodities and risk management.

"During my second term, ... I will work to pass a farm bill that is good for Texas and the country while helping to protect our crop insurance program. I will also strive to protect the integrity of our commodity exchanges, ensuring that these markets will remain in the U.S. and will continue to serve as dependable risk management venues," Conaway said.

Rep. Rick Crawford (R., Ark.), who will chair the subcommittee on livestock, rural development and credit, said it "will give me a larger platform to advocate for farm families in Arkansas and across the country."

Crawford's subcommittee will have jurisdiction over: livestock, dairy, poultry, meat, seafood and seafood products; inspection, marketing and promotion of such commodities; aquaculture; animal welfare and grazing; rural development; farm security and family farming matters, and agricultural credit.

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R., Pa.) will chair the subcommittee on conservation, energy and forestry, and Rep. Austin Scott (R., Ga.) will chair the subcommittee on horticulture, research, biotechnology and foreign agriculture.

Volume:84 Issue:54

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