Committee on Agriculture

Michael Conaway

Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture – Public Hearing

2015/04/17

1300 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture – Public Hearing

RE:  To review reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act

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Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management – Public Hearing

2015/04/17

1300 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management – Public Hearing

RE: To review reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act

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Chairman Conaway: TPA is Important for Agriculture

2015/04/16

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) issued the following statement on the introduction of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.

“TPA will provide our negotiators with the credibility necessary to conclude the most effective trade agreements possible, by making it clear to the rest of the world that Congress and the Administration are serious about this endeavor,” Chairman Conaway said. “Trade is crucial for a growing and dynamic American agricultural sector that must maintain and increase access to the world’s consumers, 95 percent of whom live outside of our borders. We cannot sit idly by and allow others to fill consumer demand around the world.  That being said, the details of trade agreements are of utmost importance.  The Agriculture Committee will do its part to ensure they are favorable to U.S. agriculture. At the end of the day, even with TPA in place, it is Congress who decides if trade agreements will be ratified. But, passing TPA is an essential part of getting to that point.”

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Chairman Conaway supports bipartisan bill to repeal death tax

2015/04/16

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, authored by fellow Texan Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).

"As a CPA, I know from experience that the Death Tax hurts individuals who have worked hard and saved all of their lives in order to build up a nest egg for themselves and their families. Farmers and ranchers are hit especially hard, because their assets are primarily land and equipment.  When a farmer or rancher passes away, even though he has already paid taxes on everything he owns, the sons and daughters who want to carry on the family tradition will first have to get over the hurdle of a whopping tax penalty that can reach as high as 60 percent. Why would we do that to young people wanting to stay on the farm or ranch?  The Death Tax hurts not only that next generation of farmers and ranchers, but it hobbles an important sector of our economy that creates economic activity and jobs.  A repeal of the death tax is long overdue.”     

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Opening Statement: Chairman K. Michael Conaway Committee on Agriculture Hearing: Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: The World of Nutrition and the Role of the Charitable Sector

2015/04/15

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

I want to welcome our witnesses to today’s hearing and thank them for taking the time to travel here to share their perspectives and answer our questions on how the charitable sector plays a vital role in providing food assistance to families in need. Today is about hearing from the folks on the ground, practitioners in the field. They will provide us with their first person accounts of what is working and is not working as we continue to explore the Past, Present, and Future of SNAP.

We proceed today without preconceived notions and with a commitment to strengthening the program so it can serve as a tool to help individuals and families move up the economic ladder.

Today, we also begin a new phase of the review, which is to explore the world of nutrition that surrounds SNAP, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Addressing the nutritional needs of Americans is not the sole responsibility of SNAP. The program does not operate in a vacuum. Instead, there is a web of government programs and charitable organizations working toward a common goal. From churches to community organizations to corporate philanthropy and local food banks, these non-profits are deeply rooted in their communities and serve as important partners in the delivery of critical food assistance across the country. Understanding SNAP’s interaction with these organizations will help to maximize the effectiveness of all organizations involved, government and nongovernment, and better target limited resources by identifying both unmet needs and areas of overlap.

Contrary to the picture painted by many, SNAP benefits are designed to be supplemental, leaving household responsible for the remaining needs. Many do so with the help of local organizations, such as the West Texas Food Bank, which annually serves more than 75,000 individuals more than 3.6 million meals through their various partner organizations. Individuals and organizations that highlight the SNAP benefit level in a manner that misrepresents the idea that it is supplemental is both confusing and disingenuous. While the issue of hunger deserves our thoughtful consideration, misleading the general public to draw attention to it is unacceptable.

A successful solution for nutrition assistance is the responsibility of government and the charitable sector, a combination of the two working together. Charitable organizations have greater flexibility to address the needs of their communities in ways the Federal government is often not able to do by being accountable to the family in need and not the government program. Charitable organizations have strong community ties and often operate programs on the government’s behalf. For many of these organizations, food assistance is only part of their mission and is seen as a means, not just an end.

We all want to address hunger in America. To do that, we must focus on serving individuals and families in need, and less on who or what is providing the assistance. The organizations we will hear today are doing just that, and there is a great deal to learn.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today as we explore how charitable organizations augment Federal nutrition programs in delivering critical food assistance across the county. 

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House Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing on the Role of the Charitable Sector in Feeding the Hungry

2015/04/15

Today the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on the vital role that the charitable sector plays in feeding vulnerable Americans. Men and women who work for and have received assistance from these organizations gave committee members a first-hand account of what is working and what is not working on the ground in their communities. They specifically addressed the partnership between government nutrition programs and charitable organizations that are dedicated to providing nutrition assistance and helping individuals rise out of poverty. This hearing is part of the committee’s ongoing review of the Past, Present, and Future of SNAP, currently known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and formerly referred to as food stamps.

“Addressing the nutritional needs of Americans is not solely the responsibility of the government through SNAP,” Chairman K. Michael Conaway said. “Recipients benefit from a strong partnership between the government and the charitable sector. Churches, food banks, and other local organizations are deeply rooted in their communities and often have more flexibility to meet the specific needs of individuals and families they serve. If we understand the complementary relationship between SNAP and these other organizations, it will help us all achieve the goal of improving the lives of those in need to move up the economic ladder.”   

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway's opening statement and the archived webcast.

​Witness List:

Ms. Kate Maehr, CEO, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago, IL 

Ms. Keleigh Green-Patton, South Holland, IL

Mr. Dustin Kunz, Salesforce Administrator & Research Project Manager, Texas Hunger Initiative, Waco, TX 

Ms. Lynda Taylor Ender, AGE Director, The Senior Source, Dallas, TX

Mr. Jonathan Webb, Director of Foundations and Community Outreach, Feed the Children, Edmond, OK 

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4-H Students Present before House Agriculture Committee

2015/04/14

Today, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a public hearing to review a presentation by National 4-H Conference participants concerning the future of agriculture in the United States.

As the nation’s largest youth development organization, 4-H is a model for bridging the gap between rural and urban communities. 4-H consists of six million young people with various backgrounds and serves to help them better understand the agriculture industry. Today’s hearing focused on how youth involved in 4-H can help address the future of agriculture and the importance of fostering relationships between urban and rural communities.  Members heard from 17 distinguished delegates from the National 4-H Conference whose presentation highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between rural and urban areas. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden was also in attendance and offered opening remarks.

“These young people are the future of agriculture,” ​Chairman Davis said. “It is vital for us to listen to and understand how they are finding and creating common ground with individuals of non-farm backgrounds. As the Agriculture Committee continues its series of hearings exploring every aspect of our food and fiber supply, it is important that we take into account all challenges in both a rural and urban setting. I am impressed by these young leaders and thank them for what they are doing within their home states and communities. This is a great start to future conversations that will highlight and enhance the rural-urban relationship.”

Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway applauded the students for their presentation. “Hearing from smart young leaders like today’s 4-H participants gives me faith in the future of agriculture and of America. As the Agriculture Committee moves forward on many legislative initiatives, we will focus on bridging the gap between rural and urban communities. I appreciate Rep. Davis’ work on this important issue, and I look forward the committee’s future hearings examining all aspects of the food and fiber industries.”

Click here for more information, including Chairman Rodney Davis' opening statement, archived webcast, and student biographies. 

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CFTC Commissioners Testify Before Ag Subcommittee

2015/04/14

Today, the House Agriculture Committee completed its series of four hearings in advance of writing legislation to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Led by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit held a public hearing with Commissioner Sharon Bowen, Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo and Commissioner Mark Wetjen.

“I appreciate Commissioners Bowen, Giancarlo, and Wetjen taking the time to share their priorities, issues, and challenges in overseeing the commodity markets,” Chairman Austin Scott said. “Their input is vital for us to have a better understanding of how to improve the CFTC. Since February, we have heard from the full range of stakeholders, starting with Chairman Massad, then onto end-users and financial intermediaries, and finally from the commissioners. Guided by our principles that regulatory requirements be both minimized and justified and that regulations provide clarity and certainty, we hope to illuminate areas in which we can help make the Commission function better through this reauthorization process. The success of these markets benefits consumers, the economy, and businesses around the globe, including many in my home state of Georgia, as companies protect themselves from uncertainty.”

“Hearing the commissioners’ views on current rulemakings, issues that warrant the committee’s attention, and priorities for us to consider during reauthorization is an important step before the committee drafts its legislation,” Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway said. “As we move towards reauthorizing the CFTC, Chairman Austin Scott and members of the Agriculture Committee will incorporate what we have learned from this hearing series into our legislation.  Our overarching goal is to ensure that derivatives markets can meet the needs of hedgers and do not become overly or needlessly regulated to the detriment of all market participants. Our economy, both here and around the world, depends on these robust financial markets to allow participants to effectively manage risk.”

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Austin Scott’s opening statement and the archived webcast.

​Witness List:

The Honorable Sharon Y. Bowen, Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Washington, DC 

The Honorable J. Christopher Giancarlo, Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Washington, DC 

The Honorable Mark P. Wetjen, Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Washington, DC 

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Opening Statement: Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis: 4-H Conference Participants Concerning the Future of Agriculture

2015/04/14

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here with us today to discuss how the future of agriculture can be sustained through enhancing the rural/urban coalition. Here in the Agriculture Committee we have seen challenges in enacting the Agriculture Act of 2014. If we do not mend the divide between rural and urban areas and foster a widespread understanding of the food and fiber industries and the impact they have on everyday life, it is likely we may face the same challenges in enacting future farm bills.  Bridging the gap between rural and urban areas is essential to the passage and implementation of future food and agricultural legislation.

The Committee strives to promote policies that will protect and increase access to safe and affordable food, but has encountered opposition from organizations and individuals who do not see the need for continued Federal involvement. We hope that by strengthening the relationship between rural and urban communities a better understanding of the food and fiber needs of all Americans can be achieved and ultimately, the challenges confronting the production, processing and distribution of those products can be addressed.

Today’s hearing is the first in a series that will highlight programs and activities which support the enhancement of a rural/urban coalition. It is fitting that for our introductory hearing, we have 17 distinguished Delegates from the National 4-H Conference with us. Since its inception, 4-H has been a model for bridging the gap between rural and urban communities. Since 1890, 4-H has brought together youth from various backgrounds to help them better understand the agriculture industry and the use of natural resources. Through exposure to agriculture education, we can develop a culture of agriculture advocacy in today’s youth and grow the rural/urban relationship.

For the past several years, youth participants in the National 4-H Conference have met with Members of Congress, and made presentations to Federal agencies, and House and Senate Agriculture Committee staffs. . Today, the 4-H participants will initiate what will be an ongoing discussion regarding the challenges associated with food and fiber production, enhancing global food security, and how these challenges affect the future of agriculture. In addition to our 4-H Delegates we are delighted to have Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Krysta Harden, join us to offer opening remarks.

While the Committee is aware that the challenges we face will not be resolved overnight, we believe it is vital to the future success of agriculture to begin the conversation today.

I now recognize the Ranking Member, Ms. Delbene for her opening remarks. 

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Opening Statement: CEEC Subcommittee Chairman Austin Scott: Reauthorizing the CFTC: Commissioners' Perspectives

2015/04/14

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good Morning. Thank you for joining us today for this hearing of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee as we continue the Agriculture Committee’s work toward CFTC reauthorization.

Thus far, we’ve appreciated the opportunity to hear perspectives on reauthorization from end-users and market participants. Their testimony has been vital to helping us gain a better and more complete understanding of ways in which our regulatory structure could better serve the markets that it is designed to regulate. Today we will continue our examination of the reauthorization of the CFTC with the important step of hearing from the Commission itself.

I’m glad to welcome Commissioner Mark Wetjen, Commissioner Sharon Bowen, and Commissioner Chris Giancarlo to the Committee. This marks the first appearance before members of this Committee for Commissioner Bowen, so we extend a warm welcome to her. We thank each of you for taking the time to appear before us today and share your perspectives on the Commission, what works and, perhaps, what doesn’t.

Guided by our principles that regulatory requirements be both minimized and justified, and that regulations provide clarity and certainty, we hope this reauthorization process will illuminate areas in which we can help the Commission function more efficiently.

Collectively, the Commissioners represent a wide breadth and depth of experience and insight, and we appreciate their willingness to use their talents in service to the public. Accordingly, one of our goals in this Committee is to ensure that each Commissioner at the CFTC is adequately empowered within his or her role.

It has been noted many times before this committee, but always bears repeating, that derivatives markets are essential not only to the farmers, ranchers, and end-users who utilize them, but also to our broader economy. We will continue to look for a healthy balance between market access and market integrity, so that the markets meet the needs of those who use them to hedge risk.   

Thank you again to our witnesses for joining us here today, and thank you for the important work you do at the Commission. You serve our nation well, and we appreciate your choice to do so.

With that, I’ll turn to our Ranking Member, Mr. Scott. 

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Contact Information

1301 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2171
Fax 202-225-0917
agriculture.house.gov


Membership

Ralph Abraham

LOUISIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Rick Allen

GEORGIA's 12th DISTRICT

Dan Benishek

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Mike Bost

ILLINOIS' 12th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Rick Crawford

ARKANSAS' 1st DISTRICT

Rodney L. Davis

ILLINOIS' 13th DISTRICT

Jeff Denham

CALIFORNIA's 10th DISTRICT

Scott DesJarlais

TENNESSEE's 4th DISTRICT

Tom Emmer

MINNESOTA's 6th DISTRICT

Bob Gibbs

OHIO's 7th DISTRICT

Chris Gibson

NEW YORK's 19th DISTRICT

Bob Goodlatte

VIRGINIA's 6th DISTRICT

Vicky Hartzler

MISSOURI's 4th DISTRICT

Steve King

IOWA's 4th DISTRICT

Doug LaMalfa

CALIFORNIA's 1st DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

John Moolenaar

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Dan Newhouse

WASHINGTON's 4th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

David Rouzer

NORTH CAROLINA's 7th DISTRICT

Austin Scott

GEORGIA's 8th DISTRICT

Glenn Thompson

PENNSYLVANIA's 5th DISTRICT

Jackie Walorski

INDIANA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT