By Spencer Chase
Seven Republicans are joining the House Agriculture Committee this year, three of whom — Randy Feenstra of Iowa, Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota and Tracy Mann of Kansas — represent some of the top ag districts in the country.
Feenstra’s Iowa district was represented on the committee by Steve King until he was stripped of committee assignments in 2019. Mann’s Kansas district was represented by Roger Marshall, who won the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Pat Roberts. Fischbach unseated former Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.
“It’s really important both to our ag producers and to our main street businesses and everyone involved that we have someone from a rural district like mine on the House Ag Committee,” Mann, a former lieutenant governor who grew up on his family’s farm, said in an interview with Agri-Pulse. He now represents the “Big First” district in Kansas, which covers the western two-thirds of the state and is heavily agrarian and rural.
For his part, Mann tells Agri-Pulse he hopes to see a good working relationship among committee members and a recognition of the co-dependent nature of farm policy.
“We aren’t going to have food in our urban areas if we don’t have good ag policy that works for rural America,” he said. Asked about his committee priorities, Mann specifically cited protecting crop insurance, addressing and limiting environmental regulations, and expanding trade markets for U.S. ag goods.
Kat Cammack, a Florida Republican representing the district of her former boss — Ted Yoho, will also represent a district with committee representation in the last Congress.
Texas’ Michael Cloud, Alabama’s Barry Moore, and Mary Miller of Illinois will also join the committee’s GOP ranks.
Cloud's Texas Gulf Coast district includes cotton, rice and sorghum production as well as the Port of Corpus Christi.
Moore represents the southeastern Alabama 2nd Congressional District formerly served by the recently-retired Martha Roby.
Miller is a farmer and business manager now representing the Illinois district represented for the last eight years by John Shimkus.
The committee's Republicans will be led by Pennsylvania Republican Glenn "GT" Thompson, who takes over as the committee's ranking member following the retirement of Texas Rep. Mike Conaway.
“Any farm or ranch operation requires a strong and highly effective farm team, and agriculture policy is no different. I’m honored to welcome these fearless and qualified advocates to the House Agriculture Committee," he said. "The diverse expertise, backgrounds, and districts of our new and returning members will be a valuable asset as we work to restore a robust rural economy and begin crafting the next Farm Bill.”
Thompson also announced the following members would be returning to the committee:
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.
Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga.
Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C.
Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.
Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn.
Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y.
Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio