Senate leadership has announced new members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which will be evenly split with 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced new Democratic members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Those include Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico and Raphael Warnock of Georgia. Sen. Bob Casey, R-Pa., has left the committee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also announced that newly elected GOP Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama would join the returning members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
New members to the committee were named after the committee held the confirmation hearing Tuesday for Tom Vilsack to become USDA secretary.
DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom noted some dynamics among the new Democratic members on the committee. "Booker brings a Black urban perspective, Warnock, a Black and Southern perspective, and Lujan, a Hispanic and Southwestern perspective."
Ellyn Ferguson, a veteran agriculture Capitol Hill reporter for CQ Roll Call, noted Booker and Warnock "have called for fairer Agriculture Department policies to aid small and minority farmers."
CQ Roll Call also pointed to a tweet from Booker that "our food system is broken. Family farmers are struggling while factory farms & Big Ag profit. Affordable, fresh food is harder to find in rural & urban areas. 35+ million Americans are food insecure. Excited to join @SenateAgDems to address these urgent issues & more."
Booker has introduced multiple bills related to agriculture and the food system in the past, but they did not get any real traction in the Senate because he did not have any ties to the Agriculture Committee.
Warnock had also said during his campaign that he would level the playing field for Black and minority farmers by expanding access to capital and financial resources.
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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