Senator Pat Roberts confirmed as Senate Ag Committee chairman | TSLN.com

Senator Pat Roberts confirmed as Senate Ag Committee chairman

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was confirmed as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee today and becomes the first person to have chaired both the House and Senate Agriculture committees in modern times.

Roberts chaired the House Agriculture Committee when the 1996 farm bill was passed. In 1996 he ran for the Senate and succeeded Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., who retired.

In a news release, Roberts said his priorities will include oversight of the Agriculture Department and hearings on farm bill implementation. He also noted that the committee will debate reauthorization of laws dealing with commodity trading, child nutrition, school meal programs and grain inspection.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency does not come directly under the committee's jurisdiction, Roberts said he "will continue to ask tough questions of the Environmental Protection Agency regarding detrimental regulations affecting farmers and ranchers, including duplicative pesticide permitting under FIFRA and the proposed change to the Waters of the U.S. definitions."

"I am honored to work for America's farmers and ranchers," Roberts said. "I am proud to bring Kansas leadership to the committee. I look forward to an aggressive schedule with hearings providing much needed oversight of our farm programs, school meals, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency."

"Production agriculture must rise to face a daunting challenge: feeding a growing and hungry global population," he continued. "I will work to see that the federal government is an ally, not an adversary, in this purpose."

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Roberts said he looks forward to working with outgoing Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who becomes the ranking member on the committee now that the Republicans have control of the Senate.

"We have a history of working together on the Agriculture and Finance committees, and I know we will again make a great team for American agriculture," Roberts said.

Roberts also becomes the first person to have served as ranking member on both the House and Senate Agriculture committees.

From 2011-2013, Roberts was the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. In 2012, the committee passed a farm bill through the full Senate, but the House did not consider that bill.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., then claimed the position citing seniority, and Cochran was ranking member when the 2014 farm bill was passed.

Roberts is also a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, the Rules Committee and the Ethics Committee.

–The Hagstrom Report