United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

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The Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of all matters relating to the nation's agriculture industry, farming programs, forestry and logging, and legislation relating to nutrition and health.[1]

History[edit]

Founded in 1825 the Committee was formed at the request of Senator William Findlay from Pennsylvania. Arguing that agriculture was as important to national progress as commerce and manufacturing, Findlay succeeded in persuading the full Senate to divide the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures into two separate committees. The Committee on Agriculture was formed by resolution on December 9, 1825.[2]

During the first four decades of the existence of this committee, the need for it was repeatedly called into question. At that time in America, nearly ²⁄3 of the population was directly engaged in agriculture.[3] As such, issues related to agriculture overlapped with areas covered by other committees and were often referred to those committees instead of the Agriculture Committee.[4]

Following a debate over the necessity of various committees to have need of the services of a dedicated clerk, a Special Committee was formed to investigate ways to "reduce the number and increase the efficiency of the committees."[5] On February 17, 1857, the Special Committee submitted a plan of reorganization for the committees that did not include the Agriculture Committee. During a special session of the Senate, on March 5, 1857, the Senate approved the Special Committees recommendations and the Committee on Agriculture was dissolved.[6]

In 1862, the country was embroiled in the Civil War, a large influx of immigrants was occurring and the nation was moving towards industrialization. That year, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Organic Act recreating the Department of Agriculture.[7]

It became the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in 1884, a reflection of the growing importance of forests to the country's needs.[8] It was renamed again to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in 1977. Nutrition was added to the name after the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 directed the Department of Agriculture to "conduct more human nutrition research, establish a national nutrition education program and develop a system to monitor America's nutritional status".[9]

Members, 113th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

Source: 2013 Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page S296 , S661–662

Subcommittees[edit]

Subcommittees Chair Ranking members
Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Michael Bennet (D-CO) John Boozman (R-AR)
Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research Bob Casey (D-PA) John Hoeven (R-ND)

Source: Committee Membership List: Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (United States Senate, as of July 2013)

Chairmen[edit]

The committee, under its various names, has been chaired by the following senators:[10]

Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, 1829–1857[edit]

Name Party State Years
  William Marks National Republican Pennsylvania 1829–1831
  Horatio Seymour National Republican Vermont 1831–1833
  Bedford Brown Democratic North Carolina 1833–1836
  John Page Democratic New Hampshire 1836–1837
  Perry Smith Democratic Connecticut 1837–1839
  Alexander Mouton Democratic Louisiana 1839–1841
  Lewis F. Linn Democratic Missouri 1841–1843
William Upham Whig Vermont 1843–1845
  Daniel Sturgeon Democratic Pennsylvania 1845–1851
  Pierre Soulé Democratic Louisiana 1851–1853
  Philip Allen Democratic Rhode Island 1853–1857

Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, 1863–1884[edit]

Name Party State Years
  John Sherman Republican Ohio 1863–1867
  Simon Cameron Republican Pennsylvania 1867–1871
  Oliver P. Morton Republican Indiana 1871–1872
  Frederick T. Frelinghuysen Republican New Jersey 1872–1877
  Algernon S. Paddock Republican Nebraska 1877–1879
  John Johnston Democratic Virginia 1879–1881

Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, 1884–1977[edit]

Name Party State Years
  Warner Miller Republican New York 1884–1887
  Thomas W. Palmer Republican Michigan 1887–1889
  Algernon S. Paddock Republican Nebraska 1889–1893
  James Z. George Democratic Mississippi 1893–1895
  Redfield Proctor Republican Vermont 1895–1908
  Henry C. Hansbrough Republican North Dakota 1908–1909
  Jonathan P. Dolliver Republican Iowa 1909–1910
  Henry E. Burnham Republican New Hampshire 1911–1913
  Thomas P. Gore Democratic Oklahoma 1913–1919
  Asle J. Gronna Republican North Dakota 1919–1921
  George W. Norris Republican Nebraska 1921–1926
  Charles McNary Republican Oregon 1926–1933
  Ellison D. Smith Democratic South Carolina 1933–1944
  Elmer Thomas Democratic Oklahoma 1944–1947
  Arthur Capper Republican Kansas 1947–1949
  Elmer Thomas Democratic Oklahoma 1949–1951
  Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1951–1953
  George D. Aiken Republican Vermont 1953–1955
  Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1955–1971
  Herman E. Talmadge Democratic Georgia 1971–1977

Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, 1977–present[edit]

Name Party State Years
  Herman E. Talmadge Democratic Georgia 1977–1981
  Jesse Helms Republican North Carolina 1981–1987
  Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont 1987–1995
  Richard G. Lugar Republican Indiana 1995–2001
  Thomas R. Harkin Democratic Iowa 2001
  Richard G. Lugar Republican Indiana 2001
  Thomas R. Harkin Democratic Iowa 2001–2003
  Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi 2003–2005
  Saxby Chambliss Republican Georgia 2005–2007
  Thomas R. Harkin Democratic Iowa 2007–2009
  Blanche Lincoln Democratic Arkansas 2009–2011
  Debbie Stabenow Democratic Michigan 2011–

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Committee Jurisdiction". The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 1825–1998. Retrieved October 14, 2005. 
  2. ^ Register of Debates in Congress, December 9, 1825, p. 5
  3. ^ Register of Debates in Congress, December 9, 1825, p. 6
  4. ^ "Chapter 1: The Committee is Created: 1825–1857". The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 1825–1998. Retrieved October 14, 2005. 
  5. ^ Congressional Globe, December 23, 1856, pp. 182–184.
  6. ^ Journal of the Senate, March 5, 1857, p. 386.
  7. ^ Daniel J. Boorstin (1973), The Americans: The Democratic Experience p. 119, New York: Vintage Press.
  8. ^ U.S. Senate (1976). Temporary Select Committee to Study the Senate Committee System, p. 15. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  9. ^ "Chapter 7: Borrowing and Credit: 1970–1979". The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 1825–1998. Retrieved October 14, 2005. 
  10. ^ "Appendix I: Chairmen of the Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, 1825 – 1997". The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 1825–1998. Retrieved October 14, 2005. 

External links[edit]