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Senator Roberts Makes History

Becomes First to Serve as Ag Chairman in both House and Senate

Senator Roberts Makes History;
Becomes First to Serve as Ag Chairman in both House and Senate

Roberts Continues Work for Farmers and Ranchers Now and into the Future



WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today took another step forward in his work to advance American agriculture when he was selected to chair the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Roberts makes history becoming the first member of Congress to hold the top Agriculture post in both the U.S. House of Representatives and now in the U.S. Senate.

“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. I am humbled to serve as chairman and will continue to be a champion for rural Kansas.

“Production agriculture must rise to face a daunting challenge: feeding a growing and hungry global population. I will work to see that the federal government is an ally, not an adversary, in this purpose. I will fight to ensure farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to advance American agriculture. I will fight barriers to trade opportunities and regulations that threaten our producers’ competitiveness. And I will continue my work to maintain the security of our food supply and ensure science based regulations govern our food and agriculture sectors.

“I welcome the addition of new Senators to the committee including Ben Sasse (R-Neb), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). I also look forward to working with Senator Stabenow (D-Mich.) as the Committee’s ranking member. 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.”

Since the current committee structure was adopted, Roberts is the first in history to chair both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. Roberts also becomes the first in history to chair and serve as the ranking member for both Agriculture Committees.

Roberts' priorities will include oversight of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and policies and further hearings on Farm Bill implementation.

The Committee will debate reauthorization of laws dealing with commodity trading, child nutrition, school meal programs and grain inspection.

Roberts 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.

He will also conduct greater oversight of the enforcement and implementation of Dodd-Frank at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

As the House Agriculture Committee Chairman from 1995-1997, then Congressman Roberts led the reform of outdated federal farm policies. He also reformed the federal food stamp program, reducing waste, fraud and abuse. His advocacy for farmers and ranchers continued in the Senate as a key member of the Senate Agriculture Committee since 1997. In 2000, he wrote sweeping reforms to the federal crop insurance program. He also has called for a more aggressive U.S. trade policy and has fought to regain access to overseas markets for U.S. beef exports.

From 2011-2013, Senator Roberts was the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. In 2012, with then Chairwoman Stabenow, Roberts passed a Farm Bill through the Committee which was later approved by the full Senate. The full House did not consider the Farm Bill requiring a one-year extension of the 2008 bill. Roberts was a critic of the CFTC’s implementation of Dodd-Frank leading up to and following the collapse of MF Global and Peregrine Financial.

Roberts continues a strong tradition of Kansas leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Prior to Senator Roberts, the last Kansan to hold the ranking member post of the Senate Agriculture Committee was U.S. Senator Robert J. Dole (R-KS) who served in that capacity from 1975-78. Prior to that, U.S. Senator Arthur Capper (R-KS) served as ranking member from 1943 to 1947, prior to chairing the Committee from 1947 to 1949. Senator James Lane (R-KS) was the first Kansan to serve as chairman in 1863.

In addition to the top Republican spot on Agriculture, Roberts will continue his work in behalf of Kansas as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, the Rules Committee and the Ethics Committee.