Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, delivered the following opening remarks at today's Committee Organizational Meeting for the 118th Congress.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Good morning, and welcome to the organizing meeting of the House Committee on Agriculture for the 118th Congress. I am honored to be the first Pennsylvanian to serve as Chairman in nearly 170 years. The first to hold the gavel was Thomas Forest, a Federalist, from 1820 to 1821, when the Committee was first established. The second was John Dawson, a Democrat, from 1853 to 1855.
"I’m honored to represent the Keystone State, but as I’ve said time and time again, I promise to be a Chairman not just for Pennsylvania agriculture, but for all American agriculture.
"I’m asked almost daily what my priorities are for the 118th Congress. It’s simple. Ask a farmer. Ask a rancher. Ask a forester. Ask a consumer. Because their needs should be our priorities.
"This means supporting policies that put production agriculture first and aim to revitalize rural America. This also means tackling rising inflation and input costs, energy costs, addressing the politicization of science, and keeping a watchful eye on excessive regulations and spending from this Administration.
"We certainly have our work cut out for us as far as reauthorizing the Farm Bill. But the Committee agenda will also include responsibilities outside of the Farm Bill, including commodity markets and the ever-evolving digital ecosphere. And no matter the agenda item, science, technology, and innovation will be woven throughout our work.
"I’m thrilled to welcome so many agriculture advocates to the dais this Congress. Their experience and constituents will help craft a Farm Bill and promote policies that work for American agriculture. I’d like to take a moment to recognize each of them.
"First, a not-so-new member—Frank Lucas of Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District. Mr. Lucas has had a hand in writing every Farm Bill since 1996, and I’m grateful for his insight as we go about the work of the 2023 reauthorization. Frank, thank you for your service and welcome back.
"Next, John Rose of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. Though new to the Committee, Congressman Rose has been a vocal advocate for the agriculture industry since day one in Congress. He is a former Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner and owns an 8th-generation family farm—a farm that’s existed longer than the state of Tennessee itself. John, thank you and welcome.
"Next up, we have Ronny Jackson of Texas’ 13th Congressional District. Mr. Jackson is a Navy man and represents the largest agricultural district in the state of Texas. His perspective will be invaluable to ensuring the needs of farmers and ranchers in the Lone Star State are met. Ronny, welcome to the Committee.
"I’m pleased to welcome Marc Molinaro of New York’s 19th Congressional District. Marc has dedicated his life to public service in the Empire State and I’m grateful to have him on our farm team here in Congress. Marc, welcome.
"I’d like to welcome another Texan to our team, Monica De La Cruz of Texas’ 15th Congressional District —the first Republican to ever win the seat since its creation. Monica’s family is rooted in agriculture—she is the proud granddaughter of a Mexican farmer who created a life in America by working in watermelon fields. I’m grateful to have her South Texas perspective as we get to work this Congress. Monica, welcome to the team.
"Next, Nick Langworthy of New York’s 23rd Congressional District is joining us from the Southern Tier and western side of the state, a rich agriculture district full of small, generational family farms. It’s also an up-and-coming agritourism destination. The district is also home to the oldest and largest Concord grape-growing region in the world. Nick, welcome to the Committee.
"Now, jumping over to the West Coast, I’d like to welcome John Duarte of California’s 13th Congressional District. Mr. Duarte and his wife farm almonds and grapes in the Central Valley and his first-hand perspective will be invaluable as we identify ways to better address the needs of farmers, ranchers, and producers this Congress. John, welcome.
"Zach Nunn is new to the Committee this year, joining us from Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. Mr. Nunn is a sixth-generation Iowan from a small family farm growing corn and soybeans. He’s also raised sheep, poultry, and hogs. Zach, welcome to our farm team.
"Another Midwesterner, Mark Alford, is joining the Committee from Missouri’s 4th Congressional District. Mr. Alford’s passion for agriculture can be accredited to his father, an agriculture teacher, who taught him about the complexities of producing food, fiber, and fuel for the world. Mark, we’re happy you’re here.
"Next, Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District. Mr. Van Orden is a retired Navy SEAL, and while he is the self-appointed 'cheese king,' Mr. Van Orden’s district actually produces more cranberries than any other district in the country. I’m excited to have such an enthusiastic voice for dairy on the committee. Derrick, welcome.
"Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon’s 5th Congressional District has been passionate about agriculture since childhood, having shown livestock—specifically sheep—as a member of 4-H. Her district is agriculturally diverse, with the Willamette Valley region alone producing more than 170 different crops. Lori, welcome to the Committee.
"Last but certainly not least, I’d like to welcome Max Miller of Ohio’s 7th District. Mr. Miller’s district is home to thousands of farms, including the largest dairy farm in the Buckeye State. Max, we’re excited to have you, and welcome to the team.
"We have a great slate of Members and again, I welcome each of you to the House Committee on Agriculture. Now, I yield to the Ranking Member from Georgia, David Scott, for his remarks. But first, I would like to thank the Ranking Member for his service as Chairman, and his friendship. David is a gentleman and a statesman, and steadfast partnership will be imperative to our success these next two years."