Chairman Collin Peterson Remarks at Org$anizational Meeting of the House Agriculture Committee

For Immediate Release: February 7, 2019
Media Contact: Patrick Delaney, 202-225-1564,

Peterson Remarks at Organizational Meeting of the House Agriculture Committee

WASHINGTON (February 7, 2019) – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota kicked off the Committee’s organizational meeting with a welcome to new Democratic members on Thursday, and a look ahead to the work the Committee will undertake in the 116th Congress.

[As prepared for delivery]

“Welcome to our new and returning members. I’m honored to serve again as Chairman of this great Committee, and I look forward to working with each of you.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have a great opportunity to drive real, tangible and bipartisan progress for Americans in all communities, rural or urban, from this Committee. Now it won’t be flashy—as far as I know, nobody’s ever accused me of that—but it will be important work.

“We’ll look at the state of the farm economy; the struggles facing our dairy farmers; and the impact of the trade war. We will also monitor USDA’s progress implementing the Farm Bill; the ongoing evolution of the RFS; the ability of farmers and ranchers to adapt and to help mitigate the effects of climate change through our conservation and energy programs; and the ability of the Forest Service to address the evolving threat of wildfires. Also, we will work to provide responsible oversight of USDA.

“There will be a lot of new faces doing this work from this side of the dais, and I’d like to introduce each of them. I’d urge all of you to connect with them, because they each have interesting backgrounds and motivations driving their work here in Washington.

Abigail Spanberger represents Central Virginia and will Chair the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee. It’s been many years since we had a freshman Democrat chair a subcommittee here and I’ll tell you, Abby brings everything she needs and more to this role. I look forward to working with her, especially as we review USDA’s implementation of the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill.

“Welcome to Jahana Hayes. Jahana has the distinction of being a former National Teacher of the Year, and represents both urban and rural communities in central and northern Connecticut, including many small and medium-sized dairy operations.

Antonio Delgado joins us from the Hudson Valley.Antonio represents more than 5,000 farms, producing everything from dairy to row crops to specialty crops. The farmers in Antonio’s district are at the heart of the farm-to-table food movement in New York.

“Welcome to my fellow Minnesotan Angie Craig. Angie represents the Second District of Minnesota, which contains both productive farmland and suburban communities in the Twin Cities. I’ll count on her to help further the important conversation on how we get farmers and consumers to better understand one another.

Anthony Brindisi comes to us from Central New York, where he represents one of the small handfuls of districts in Congress that is more than 50 percent rural. Anthony represents almost 4,000 employees at small and medium-sized dairy operations that are counting on improvements made in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Dr. Jeff Van Drew has the distinction of being the first representative of the Garden State on the Ag Committee since 1943. Jeff represents South Jersey where they grow specialty and nursery crops.

“Welcome to Josh Harder who brings valuable and unique business experience to the Committee from California’s Bay Area. Josh represents a significant amount of dairy and specialty crop land.

TJ Cox comes to us from the powerhouse 21st District in the Central Valley of California, the top dairy, fruit and almond district in the country. Prior to being elected, TJ owned an almond processing business and was an original investor in an ag workforce training program in Fresno.

Dr. Kim Schrier is a pediatrician by trade. She represents Central Washington, where they grow tree fruit, forage, and wheat, and raise cattle.  Kim is passionate about nutrition policy, especially as it relates to kids.

“Welcome back Chellie Pingree. Chellie brings the unique perspective of a Maine organic farmer. She served on the Committee in the 112th Congress, and we’re glad to have her back.

Salud Carbajal joins the committee in his second term in the House. Salud represents the Central Coast of California and the valuable fruit and vegetable production out there, as well as a large portion of National Forest land.

“I’m also pleased to welcome Ann Kirkpatrick back to the committee. Ann represents the southeastern corner of Arizona, which produces a range of nuts and specialty crops, dairy and cotton. We’re glad to have her back as well.

“Finally, welcome Cindy Axne of Iowa. She was vocal from day one about her desire to serve on this Committee, and she represents the corn, bean and pork area of southwestern Iowa.

“The thing that all these very different Members have in common is that they all listed the Ag Committee as among their top choices for committee assignment. They are the motivated and energized people we want working on the range of important issues we’re tasked with here. They bring a range of experiences and backgrounds to their work, and that will only make us stronger as a Committee.

“Welcome to each of you, and with that I recognize the distinguished Ranking Member from Texas for his remarks.”

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