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AGRIBUSINESS: Change To Senate Ag Committee

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Politics took another turn in Washington DC as the new Congress sorted out committee assignments and ranking positions.

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts stepped aside as the ranking republican on the agriculture committee and endorsed Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran to take his place.

It’s not that simple as Roberts, who has played a leadership role in both houses, vowed to hold the seat but Cochran, who has been in the senate since over 32 years played the seniority card and took the job.

A commentary in the newspaper politico said:

"Robert's voice has made him a frequent thorn in the side of the South since he has been one of the leading opponents of target price supports important to rice, peanut and wheat producers from the region.

"Southern producers complained bitterly last summer when the Senate adopted a five-year farm bill that bore Robert's stamp and leaned heavily toward revenue insurance options to replace the current system of direct cash payments to growers."

Roberts said he would remain a strong and vocal champion for agriculture.  He will focus on the rules committee to keep minority rights in the republican battle with Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

Senator Thad Cochran, a former chair of the ag committee,  says he will use his experiences to help quickly advance a new Farm Bill that will meet the needs of our country’s farmers, small businesses and those who rely on the nutrition programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction.

An interesting shift in power that may result in a change in the farm legislation that will be drafted in the coming months and implemented in October.