United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

The Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of all matters relating to the nation's agriculture industry, farming programs, forestry and logging, and legislation relating to nutrition, home economics, and rural development.[1]

Senate Agriculture Committee
Standing committee
Active

United States Senate
117th Congress
History
FormedDecember 9, 1825
Leadership
ChairDebbie Stabenow (D)
Since February 3, 2021
Ranking memberJohn Boozman (R)
Since February 3, 2021
Structure
Political partiesMajority (12)
  •   Democratic (12)
Minority (11)
Jurisdiction
Policy areasAgriculture, Crop insurance, Farm bill, Farm credit, Food stamps, Food inspection, Forestry, Home economics, National forests, National grasslands, Nutrition, Rural development, Rural electrification, Soil conservation, Soil survey, Water conservation, Watersheds, Wilderness areas
Oversight authorityAgricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Commodity Credit Corporation, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Farm Credit Administration, Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, Food and Nutrition Service, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Forest Service, USDA Rural Development
House counterpartCommittee on Agriculture
Subcommittees
  • Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade
  • Rural Development and Energy
  • Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources
  • Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops
  • Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security
Meeting place
328A Russell Senate Office Building
Website
agriculture.senate.gov
Rules

    The current chair is Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and the ranking member is Republican John Boozman of Arkansas.

    History

    Founded in 1825 the committee was formed at the request of Senator William Findlay from Pennsylvania. Arguing that agriculture was as important to national progress as commerce and manufacturing, Findlay succeeded in persuading the full Senate to divide the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures into two separate committees. The Committee on Agriculture was formed by resolution on December 9, 1825.[2]

    During the first four decades of the existence of this committee, the need for it was repeatedly called into question. At that time in America, nearly ⅔ of the population was directly engaged in agriculture.[2] As such, issues related to agriculture overlapped with areas covered by other committees and were often referred to those committees instead of the Agriculture Committee.[3]

    Following a debate over the necessity of various committees to have need of the services of a dedicated clerk, a Special Committee was formed to investigate ways to "reduce the number and increase the efficiency of the committees."[4] On February 17, 1857, the Special Committee submitted a plan of reorganization for the committees that did not include the Agriculture Committee. During a special session of the Senate, on March 5, 1857, the Senate approved the Special Committees recommendations and the Committee on Agriculture was dissolved.[5]

    In 1862, the country was embroiled in the Civil War, a large influx of immigrants was occurring and the nation was moving towards industrialization. That year, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Organic Act recreating the Department of Agriculture.[6]

    It became the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in 1884, a reflection of the growing importance of forests to the country's needs.[7] It was renamed again to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in 1977. Nutrition was added to the name after the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 directed the Department of Agriculture to "conduct more human nutrition research, establish a national nutrition education program and develop a system to monitor America's nutritional status".[8]

    Jurisdiction

    In accordance of Rule XXV of the United States Senate, all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the following subjects are referred to the Agriculture Committee:

    1. Agricultural economics and research.
    2. Agricultural extension services and experiment stations.
    3. Agricultural production, marketing, and stabilization of prices.
    4. Agriculture and agricultural commodities.
    5. Animal industry and diseases.
    6. Crop insurance and soil conservation.
    7. Farm credit and farm security.
    8. Food from fresh waters.
    9. Food stamp programs.
    10. Forestry, and forest reserves and wilderness areas other than those created from the public domain.
    11. Home economics.
    12. Human nutrition.
    13. Inspection of livestock, meat, and agricultural products.
    14. Pests and pesticides.
    15. Plant industry, soils, and agricultural engineering.
    16. Rural development, rural electrification, and watersheds.
    17. School nutrition programs.[9]

    The Agriculture Committee is also charged "to study and review, on a comprehensive basis, matters relating to food, nutrition, and hunger, both in the United States and in foreign countries, and rural affairs, and report thereon from time to time."[9]

    Members, 118th Congress

    Majority Minority

    Subcommittees

    Subcommittees[10] Chair Ranking members
    Commodities, Markets and Trade Raphael Warnock (D-GA) John Hoeven (R-ND)
    Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Michael Bennet (D-CO) Roger Marshall (R-KS)
    Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
    Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research Cory Booker (D-NJ) Mike Braun (R-IN)
    Rural Development and Energy Tina Smith (D-MN) Joni Ernst (R-IA)

    Chairs

    The committee, under its various names, has been chaired by the following senators:[11]

    Committee on Agriculture, 1825–1857

    Chair Party State Years
    William Findlay Jacksonian Pennsylvania 1825-1826
    Calvin Willey Adams Connecticut 1826-1827
    John Branch Jacksonian North Carolina 1827-1828
    Ephraim Bateman Adams New Jersey 1828-1829
    Charles D. Bouligny Adams Louisiana 1829
    William Marks Anti-Jackson Pennsylvania 1829–1831
    Horatio Seymour Anti-Jackson Vermont 1831–1833
    Bedford Brown Jacksonian North Carolina 1833–1836
    John Page Jacksonian New Hampshire 1836–1837
    Perry Smith Democratic Connecticut 1837–1839
    Alexander Mouton Democratic Louisiana 1839–1841
    Lewis F. Linn Democratic Missouri 1841–1843
    William Upham Whig Vermont 1843–1845
    Daniel Sturgeon Democratic Pennsylvania 1845–1851
    Presley Spruance[12] Whig Delaware 1851
    Pierre Soule Democratic Louisiana 1851–1853
    Philip Allen Democratic Rhode Island 1853–1857

    Committee on Agriculture, 1863–1884

    Chair Party State Years
    John Sherman Republican Ohio 1863–1864
    James H. Lane Republican Kansas 1864-1865
    John Sherman Republican Ohio 1865-1867
    Simon Cameron Republican Pennsylvania 1867–1871
    Oliver Morton Republican Indiana 1871–1872
    Frederick T. Frelinghuysen Republican New Jersey 1872–1877
    Algernon S. Paddock Republican Nebraska 1877–1879
    John Johnston Democratic Virginia 1879–1881
    William Mahone Readjuster/Republican Virginia 1881-1883
    Warner Miller Republican New York 1883-1884

    Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, 1884–1977

    Chair Party State Years
    Warner Miller Republican New York 1884–1887
    Thomas Palmer Republican Michigan 1887–1889
    Algernon S. Paddock Republican Nebraska 1889–1893
    James Z. George Democratic Mississippi 1893–1895
    Redfield Proctor Republican Vermont 1895–1908
    Henry C. Hansbrough Republican North Dakota 1908–1909
    Jonathan P. Dolliver Republican Iowa 1909–1910
    Henry E. Burnham Republican New Hampshire 1911–1913
    Thomas P. Gore Democratic Oklahoma 1913–1919
    Asle J. Gronna Republican North Dakota 1919–1921
    George W. Norris Republican Nebraska 1921–1926
    Charles McNary Republican Oregon 1926–1933
    Ellison D. Smith Democratic South Carolina 1933–1944
    Elmer Thomas Democratic Oklahoma 1944–1947
    Arthur Capper Republican Kansas 1947–1949
    Elmer Thomas Democratic Oklahoma 1949–1951
    Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1951–1953
    George D. Aiken Republican Vermont 1953–1955
    Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1955–1971
    Herman E. Talmadge Democratic Georgia 1971–1977

    Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, 1977–present

    Chair Party State Years
    Herman E. Talmadge Democratic Georgia 1977–1981
    Jesse Helms Republican North Carolina 1981–1987
    Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont 1987–1995
    Richard G. Lugar Republican Indiana 1995–2001
    Thomas Harkin Democratic Iowa 2001[13]
    Richard G. Lugar Republican Indiana 2001
    Thomas Harkin Democratic Iowa 2001–2003[14]
    Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi 2003–2005
    Saxby Chambliss Republican Georgia 2005–2007
    Tom Harkin Democratic Iowa 2007–2009
    Blanche Lincoln Democratic Arkansas 2009–2011
    Debbie Stabenow Democratic Michigan 2011–2015
    Pat Roberts Republican Kansas 2015–2021
    Debbie Stabenow Democratic Michigan 2021–present

    Historical committee rosters

    117th Congress

    Majority Minority

    Subcommittees

    Subcommittees[15] Chair Ranking members
    Commodities, Markets and Trade Raphael Warnock (D-GA) John Hoeven (R-ND)
    Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Michael Bennet (D-CO) Roger Marshall (R-KS)
    Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
    Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research Cory Booker (D-NJ) Mike Braun (R-IN)
    Rural Development and Energy Tina Smith (D-MN) Joni Ernst (R-IA)

    116th Congress

    Majority Minority

    Subcommittees

    Subcommittees[16] Chair Ranking members
    Commodities, Markets and Trade John Boozman (R-AR) Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
    Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Mike Braun (R-IN) Michael Bennet (D-CO)
    Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Nutrition, Agricultural Research and Specialty Crops Deb Fischer (R-NE) Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA)
    Rural Development and Energy Joni Ernst (R-IA) Tina Smith (D-MN)

    Source [17]

    115th Congress

    Majority Minority

    Subcommittees

    Subcommittees[16] Chair Ranking members
    Commodities, Markets and Trade John Boozman (R-AR) Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
    Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Steve Daines (R-MT) Michael Bennet (D-CO)
    Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security David Perdue (R-GA) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Nutrition, Agricultural Research and Specialty Crops Luther Strange (R-AL) Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA)
    Rural Development and Energy Joni Ernst (R-IA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

    114th Congress

    Majority Minority

    Subcomittees

    Subcommittees[16] Chair Ranking members
    Commodities, Markets and Trade John Boozman (R-AR) Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
    Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources David Perdue (R-GA) Michael Bennet (D-CO)
    Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security Ben Sasse (R-NE) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Nutrition, Agricultural Research and Specialty Crops John Hoeven (R-ND) Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA)
    Rural Development and Energy Joni Ernst (R-IA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

    113th Congress

    Majority Minority

    Committees

    Subcommittees[16] Chair Ranking members
    Commodities, Markets and Trade Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
    Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Michael Bennet (D-CO) John Boozman (R-AR)
    Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Pat Roberts (R-KS)
    Nutrition, Agricultural Research and Specialty Crops Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) John Hoeven (R-ND)
    Rural Development and Energy Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Mike Johanns (R-NE)

    See also

    References

    1. "Jurisdiction". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
    2. Register of Debates in Congress. December 9, 1825. pp. 5–6.
    3. "Chapter 1: The Committee is Created: 1825–1857". The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 1825–1998. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
    4. Congressional Globe, December 23, 1856, pp. 182–184.
    5. Journal of the Senate, March 5, 1857, p. 386.
    6. Daniel J. Boorstin (1973), The Americans: The Democratic Experience p. 119, New York: Vintage Press.
    7. U.S. Senate (1976). Temporary Select Committee to Study the Senate Committee System, p. 15. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
    8. "Chapter 7: Borrowing and Credit: 1970–1979". The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 1825–1998. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
    9. "Jurisdiction". The United States Senate Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry. Retrieved May 31, 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
    10. "Subcommittees". Retrieved March 25, 2021.
    11. "Chairmen of Senate Standing Committees 1789-present" (PDF). Retrieved September 23, 2020.
    12. On March 4, 1851, upon convening in special session, the Senate resolved, “That the committees of the Senate at the Executive session shall be formed and constituted the same as at the last session of Congress, except where vacancies have occurred by the expiration of the term of any senator, and in such cases said vacancies shall be filled by the Chair.” The terms of both the chairman (Daniel Sturgeon) and 2nd most senior member of this committee having expired, Presley Spruance has been included as chairman on this list.
    13. At the beginning of the 107th Congress in January 2001 the Senate was evenly divided. With a Democratic president and vice president still serving until January 20, the Democratic vice president was available to break a tie, and the Democrats thus controlled the Senate for 17 days, from January 3 to January 20. On January 3 the Senate adopted S. Res. 7 designating Democratic senators as committee chairmen to serve during this period and Republican chairmen to serve effective at noon on January 20, 2001.
    14. On June 6, 2001, the Democrats took control of the Senate after Senator James Jeffords (VT) changed from the Republican Party to Independent and announced that he would caucus with the Democrats.
    15. "Subcommittees". Retrieved March 25, 2021.
    16. "Subcommittees". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
    17. "U.S. Senate: Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry". www.senate.gov. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
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