The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Openings available on both Senate and House ag committees


When new members of the Senate and the House of Representatives come to Washington and start bidding for committee assignments, they will have opportunities on both the Senate and House agriculture committees.

Current members of both committees are departing and there is always the possibility that some members will leave to take posts on other committees.

The Senate Agriculture Committee will have at least two seats open for Democrats and one for a Republican. Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Ben Nelson of Nebraska are retiring, and Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana was defeated in a primary.

Senate Agriculture Committee


From left: Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Tammy Baldwin and Deb Fischer

The most likely Democratic senators-elect to request Senate Agriculture Committee assignments are Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who won Lugar’s seat, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who won Conrad’s seat, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who is succeeding Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl.

On the Republican side, the most likely senator-elect to request an Agriculture assignment is Deb Fischer of Nebraska, who won Nelson’s seat.

House Agriculture Committee

On the House Agriculture Committee, there will be at least three opening for Republicans and at least five for Democrats.

New Republican members will replace Tim Johnson of Illinois, who is retiring, Jean Schmidt of Ohio, who lost her primary, and Bobby Schilling of Illinois, who was defeated.

On the Democratic side, new members will be needed to replace Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, who lost his primary, and three members who were defeated: Joe Baca of California, Leonard Boswell of Iowa and Larry Kissell of North Carolina.

The Democrats have also had a vacant seat on the committee since Dennis Cardoza of California resigned. Another Democratic committee member, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, is 394 votes ahead in his race, but it has not been declared yet.

Ag Appropriations subcommittees

On the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, there will be two Democratic openings because Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the subcommittee chairman, and Nelson are retiring. None of the Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee were up for election this year.

On the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, all Republican and Democratic members were re-elected.

Composition of the committees and subcommittees could also change slightly since the Democrats increased their numbers in both the Senate and the House.