Rep. David Scott (D-GA) was approved by the Democratic Caucus to serve as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee for the 117th Congress. The committee is empowered with legislative oversight relating to the U.S. agriculture industry, forestry, nutrition, and rural development.
“I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to serve as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,” said Scott, who would be the first African American to serve in that role. “I was born on my grandparents’ farm in rural Aynor, South Carolina, during the days of segregation, and the hardships, of those, on whose shoulders I now stand. I owe this historic selection as the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to a diverse coalition of members from across our nation. And I will use this critical opportunity to represent the values of our entire caucus and advance our priorities for trade, disaster aid, climate change, sustainable agriculture, SNAP, crop insurance, small family farms, specialty crops, and rural broadband. The fault lines dividing our rural and urban communities are running deep, and climate change is now threatening our nation’s food supply. As Chairman, I will lead the fight to rise up and meet these challenges.”
Scott has served as a Member of Congress and the House Agriculture Committee since 2003. In his various leadership roles on the House Agriculture Committee, Scott has chaired the Subcommittees on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit as well as Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. Scott played a key role in ushering through the three last Farm Bills, including by serving as a conferee, securing critical disaster aid for farmers, strengthening the food and nutrition programs that help our families, seniors, and school children and securing $80 million for new scholarships for students attending 1890 African-American land-grant colleges and universities.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota congratulated Scott following his election to the position by the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday.
“He will make a great chairman, and I’m proud to pass the reins to him,” Peterson said. “As a long-time House Ag member and leader, David knows very well the impact the Committee’s work has on the lives of farmers, ranchers, rural residents, and consumers in communities across the country. I’m confident we’re all in good and capable hands.
The National Milk Producers Federation also congratulated Scott.
“We congratulate Congressman Scott on his new role … and look forward to working closely with him to address the challenges facing the nation’s dairy farmers and their cooperatives,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “We value his years of service on the committee and appreciate his support on numerous issues, ranging from nutrition to environmental policy.
On the Republican side, Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania will move forward as the ranking minority party member of the House Agriculture Committee.
In a statement, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association highlighted the work and leadership of both lawmakers and hoped that there would be bipartisanship moving forward: “We’re confident that Rep. Scott and Rep. Thompson will continue building on that foundation — strengthening protections for producers against unfair and anticompetitive market practices, establishing truthful, transparent labeling practices for beef and meat products, and ensuring national food security by ensuring the sustainability of independent producers.”