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Potential House Ag Committee Chair Candidates
USAgNet - 11/20/2020

Two names have surfaced as potential chairmen of the House Ag Committee.

According to Farms.com, California Rep. Jim Costa, a current member of the committee, announced his intentions to seek the position.

"The Committee on Agriculture should reflect the changing landscape of agriculture in the United States," Costa said in a statement. "As a third-generation farmer, I have the first-hand experience, expertise and passion to connect with rural Americans and lead this committee through the difficult challenges ahead."

Since announcing his candidacy for the position, Costa has received support from about 70 farm groups.

A representative from California hasn't chaired the House committee since Republican John Bidwell held the position from 1865 to 1867.

Given the state's standing in the country's ag landscape, someone from California should lead the group, said Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

"Jim Costa is the right person to lead the committee as Americans grapple with the challenge of keeping nutritious food available for all, growing the economic opportunities for new and existing agriculturalists, and addressing the risk brought by a changing climate," he said in a Nov. 9 statement.

The other person seeking the chairmanship hails from Georgia.

Rep. David Scott, another current member of the committee, is looking to take the leadership position.

"I was born on a farm in rural South Carolina during segregation," Scott said in a Nov. 5 statement. "After my parents moved north to find work, I spent my childhood years living and working on my grandparents' farm. The core lessons I brought from these experiences still resonate throughout farming communities today, and I have drawn upon them as I have fought to support the needs of rural and urban America."

A representative from Georgia has never led the committee.

Costa and Scott are vying to replace Collin Peterson.

The Minnesota Democrat served as the chairman of the committee since 2007. His loss in the 2020 elections created the vacancy.

"Chairman Peterson is a friend and mentor, and he leaves big shoes to fill," Costa said.

As the most senior Democrat on the committee, Scott is technically the next in line to chair the group. Costa would be next in line behind Scott.

House Democrats will have their committee chairmanship elections during the final week of November.


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