Three Southerners were among the five congressmen given agriculture subcommittee chairmanships Jan. 28 by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

Representatives Frank Lucas, R-Okla., Bill Jenkins, R-Tenn., and Robin Hayes, R-N.C., join Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., as newly appointed subcommittee chairmen.

Lucas will continue to serve as chairman of the Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research Agriculture Subcommittee. A member of the Agriculture Committee for more than eight years, Lucas was heavily involved in the 2002 farm bill conference committee and authored the comprehensive conservation bill that expanded the farm bill's conservation programs by $16 billion.

His subcommittee has jurisdiction over a multitude of issues, including: soil, water, resource conservation, agricultural credit, rural development, farm security, agricultural research, Extension programs, plant pesticides, and biotechnology.

Jenkins will chair the Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture Programs Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over peanuts, sugar, tobacco, honey and bees, foreign agricultural assistance and trade promotion programs. He owns and operates a family farm in east Tennessee, and since first being elected to Congress in 1996 has worked for economic development and natural resource protection.

Hayes is chairing the Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over livestock, poultry, meat, fruits and vegetables, seafood products, aquaculture, animal welfare, grazing, and marketing and promotion orders. Elected to Congress in 1998, Hayes is an assistant whip in the House leadership and has been a consistent voice on behalf of family farmers.

Moran will serve as chairman of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Agriculture Subcommittee. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over programs and markets related to cotton, cottonseed, wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oilseeds, rice, dry beans, peas, lentils, the Commodity Credit Corporation, crop insurance and commodity exchanges. Moran also chairs the Rural Task Force on Telecommunications, and is assistant majority whip.

Again serving as chairman of the Department Operations Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry Subcommittee is Gutknecht. His subcommittee covers agency oversight, review and analysis, special investigations, forestry, dairy, food stamps, energy and nutrition and consumer programs.

“I am pleased to have these very able chairmen in place, and I look forward to joining with them to serve the American people,” Goodlatte says.

Goodlatte was elected Jan. 8 by the House Republican Conference to serve as chairman of the full House Agriculture Committee. He replaces Rep. Larry Combest, R-Texas, who is retiring from the House of Representatives effective May 2003.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve in this position of leadership,” Goodlatte says. “The work of the Agriculture Committee affects the lives of every American.

“Just in the last session of Congress we addressed a wide number of issues ranging from bioterrorism and homeland security to food stamps and welfare reform, from conservation and nutrition to forest management, trade and rural development.

“Perhaps the most important work of the Agriculture Committee consists of maintaining policies, which assure a safe, abundant and affordable food supply which is indeed the marvel of the world.

“I look forward to assuming this position, and to giving agriculture and rural American fair representation and bold leadership in Congress,” he says.


e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com.