Newly-elected Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, has been named to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, re-establishing a long tradition of having the 1st District’s representative on the committee.
The ag-heavy 1st District, nicknamed the “Big First,” includes all of western and most of central Kansas. Congressional leaders removed Marshall’s predecessor, Tim Huelskamp, from the committee in 2012 after repeated clashes with him, causing dismay throughout the state’s agriculture sector.
For at least 100 years, there has been a representative from the district on the committee. Marshall defeated Huelskamp in the August Republican primary, at least partly because many agricultural organizations failed to back the incumbent.
Marshall on Wednesday said that re-establishing representation on the committee was critical. The committee’s biggest responsibility is crafting a five-year farm bill, last approved in 2014.
He said he expects the committee to begin early discussions on the next bill soon.
“My district is the largest ag-producing congressional district in the country, with 60 percent of the economy being ag related,” he said. “Forty percent of the Kansas economy is ag related.
“Giving Kansas a voice on the agriculture committee just seems to make sense, especially since we have some products near all-time lows, and that means we need to ensure our farmers and ranchers have some kind of safety net.”
Agriculture industry leaders from across the state said they are pleased to re-establish a point of influence over national agriculture policy.
“It’s a great thing,” said Matt Teagarden, president of the Kansas Livestock Association. “That is one of the reasons we made an early endorsement for the seat, so he would have an opportunity to serve on the ag committee.
“As we approach the farm bill and other regulatory matters, it’s really important that we have a Kansan at the table.”
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the corresponding committee in the Senate, applauded Marshall’s selection. Roberts once held the seat Marshall now holds and once chaired the House Agriculture Committee.
“Congressman Marshall will be key to the consideration of the next farm bill,” Roberts said in a statement. “I am glad to have him in the House riding shotgun for Kansas’ farmers and ranchers.”