After vowing to make a new, five-year farm bill a legislative priority in 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is being backed by farm state lawmakers and agricultural groups. On Tuesday (Jan. 22), Reid introduced the Senate-passed version of the farm bill as one of several privileged, top priority bills.

The Senate farm bill (S.2340) originally passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support on June 21, 2012. The bill reforms food and agriculture policy, consolidates programs and saves taxpayers more than $23 billion by making programs more cost-effective.

Following Reid’s actions, a statement by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, applauded his, “leadership and commitment to getting a five-year farm bill done to provide certainty to the 16 million Americans working in agriculture. Last year, we were able to pass a farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, saving more than $23 billion in taxpayer money and reforming farm bill programs to be more cost-effective and market-oriented. Unfortunately, the House didn’t bring the farm bill to the floor. Majority Leader Reid has demonstrated that the Senate will once again make supporting our nation’s agriculture economy while cutting spending a top priority.” 

Chairwoman Stabenow has said she is committed to convening a committee mark-up as soon as possible, to produce an updated version of the farm bill, which could then be substituted for Majority Leader Reid’s placeholder bill.

Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president, said Reid’s approach is “a positive way to begin the year and Congressional session. NFU applauds Senate leadership for its commitment to U.S. agriculture. We appreciate the continued support of Sen. Debbie Stabenow … who has pledged to hold a committee markup of the bill as soon as possible.

“Farmers and ranchers are in need of certainty through a five-year farm bill and we will continue to work with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to garner their support for a bill as soon as possible.

“NFU urges (Ohio Rep. John Boehner), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to make the same commitment to rural America so that we do not prolong this process much longer.”

House Agriculture Committee ranking members

Also on Tuesday, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, House Agriculture Committee ranking member, announced the Democratic ranking members and five subcommittee’s membership. Peterson will serve as an ex officio member of all subcommittees.

Named members (and remaining vacancies) include:

Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry
Jurisdiction: Soil, water, and resource conservation, small watershed program, energy and biobased energy production, rural electrification, forestry in general and forest reserves other than those created from the public domain.

  • Ranking Member, Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz.
  • California Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod.
  • New Hampshire Rep. Ann Kuster.
  • Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan.
  • North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre.
  • Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader.
  • Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene.

Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight and Nutrition
Jurisdiction: Agency oversight, review and analysis, special investigations, food stamps, nutrition and consumer programs.

  • Ranking Member, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge.
  • Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern.
  • New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
  • California Gloria Negrete McLeod.
  • Vacant.

Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
Jurisdiction: Program and markets related to cotton, cottonseed, wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oilseeds, rice, dry beans, peas, lentils, the Commodity Credit Corporation, risk management, including crop insurance, commodity exchanges, and specialty crops.

  • Ranking Member, Georgia Rep. David Scott.
  • Texas Rep. Filemon Vela.
  • Texas Rep. Pete Gallego.
  • Illinois Rep. Bill Enyart.
  • California Rep. Juan Vargas.
  • Illinois Rep. Cherie Bustos.
  • New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
  • Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz.
  • California Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod.
  • California Rep. Jim Costa.
  • Vacant.
  • Vacant.

Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture
Jurisdiction: Fruits and vegetables, honey and bees, marketing and promotion orders, plant pesticides, quarantine, adulteration of seeds and insect pests, and organic agriculture, research, education and extension, biotechnology and foreign agriculture assistance, and trade promotion programs, generally.

  • Ranking Member, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader.
  • Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene.
  • California Rep. Jim Costa.
  • Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge.
  • New Hampshire Rep. Ann Kuster.
  • California Rep. Juan Vargas.
  • New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit
Jurisdiction: Livestock, dairy, poultry, meat, seafood and seafood products, inspection, marketing, and promotion of such commodities, aquaculture, animal welfare and grazing, rural development, farm security and family farming matters, and agricultural credit.

  • Ranking Member, California Rep. Jim Costa.
  • North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre.
  • Georgia Rep. David Scott.
  • Texas Rep. Filemon Vela.
  • New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
  • Texas Rep. Pete Gallego.
  • Illinois Rep. Bill Enyart.
  • Illinois Rep. Cherie Bustos.
  • Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader.
  • Vacant.
  • Vacant.