Ag Policy Blog

Scott, Costa Seek House Ag Committee Chairmanship

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., the most senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, announced he will seek the chairmanship after Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., lost his re-election. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., the next senior Democrat on the committee, also announced Thursday he wants the chairmanship as well.

A pair of senior Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee announced Thursday they will each seek the chairmanship of that committee.

Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., the most senior member of the House Agriculture Committee after Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the chairman of the committee, announced today he will seek the chairmanship of the committee.

Peterson was defeated in his bid for a 16th term on Tuesday.

Also making a push for the chair is Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., who falls right behind Scott in seniority on the committee for Democrats.

Scott, 75, is chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.

“I am proud to announce that I am seeking the chairmanship of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture,” Scott said today in a news release and a letter to his colleagues.

“Today our nation faces perhaps the most significant struggles any of us have seen in our lifetime. Across rural and urban communities and from young to old, the threats posed by global illness, hunger, financial insecurity, climate change, and natural disasters are significant. As our nation's legislative body, it is the duty of Congress to address, through this committee, the insecurities plaguing our citizens and provide the means for a more fruitful existence.”

Costa, 68, chairs the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture and has served on the committee since 2005. His district represents one of the major agricultural regions of California.

"The Committee on Agriculture should reflect the changing landscape of agriculture in the United States,” Costa said. "As a third-generation farmer, I have the firsthand experience, expertise and passion to connect with rural Americans and lead this committee through the difficult challenges ahead." Costa added, "Not only must this Committee address an unstable agricultural economy and a broken international trade system, but we must also feed millions of vulnerable Americans in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. This is a challenge I am ready to accept."

In his letter, Scott noted his farm roots in South Carolina, his service on the committee since 2002 and the inclusion of a scholarship program for the 1890s schools in the 2018 farm bill.

He also said that the reaction to climate change must include “transitioning away from fossil fuels toward ethanol and biofuels” and that small and mid-size farmers need help to deal with trade wars and the global pandemic. He also said that nutrition programs must continue to provide low income people healthy food.

On the Republican side, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, is retiring. Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-Pa., who is next in seniority after Conaway, and Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., have both expressed an interest in becoming ranking member in the next Congress.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is also retiring and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is expected to succeed him. On the Democratic side, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is expected to remain ranking member.

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton contributed to this report.

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at jhagstrom@nationaljournal.com

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport

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