United States House Committee on Agriculture

The main hearing room for the House Agriculture Committee in 1300 Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, or Agriculture Committee is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. The House Committee on Agriculture has general jurisdiction over federal agriculture policy and oversight of some federal agencies, and it can recommend funding appropriations for various governmental agencies, programs, and activities, as defined by House rules.

History of the Agriculture Committee

The Agriculture Committee was created on May 3, 1820, after Lewis Williams of North Carolina sponsored a resolution to create the committee and give agricultural issues equal weight with commercial and manufacturing interests. The committee originally consisted of seven members, from the states of Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Thomas Forrest of Pennsylvania was the first chairman. The Agriculture Committee remained a seven-member body until 1835, when two more members were added. It was not until 1871 that the next two members were added. Since then it has gradually grown to its current size of 46 members.

The U.S. Senate counterpart to the House Agriculture Committee, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, was created on December 9, 1825.

Role of the Agriculture Committee

The Agriculture Committee is not generally considered to be a particularly powerful one. However, it is an important committee to be on for Representatives from many rural areas where agriculture is the main industry. The committee has jurisdiction over agriculture, forestry, nutrition, water conservation, and other agriculture-related fields.


As prescribed by House Rules, the Committee on Agriculture's jurisdiction includes the following:

  • Adulteration of seeds, insect pests, and protection of birds and animals in forest reserves
  • Agriculture generally
  • Agricultural and industrial chemistry
  • Agricultural colleges and experiment stations
  • Agricultural economics and research
  • Agricultural education extension services
  • Agricultural production, marketing and stabilization of prices of agricultural products, and commodities (excluding foreign distribution)
  • Animal industry and diseases of animals
  • Commodity exchanges
  • Crop insurance and soil conservation
  • Dairy industry
  • Entomology and plant quarantine
  • Extension of farm credit and farm security
  • Inspection of livestock, poultry, meat products, and seafood and seafood products
  • Forestry in general and forest reserves other than those created from the public domain
  • Human nutrition and home economics
  • Plant industry, soils, and agricultural engineering
  • Rural electrification
  • Rural development
  • Water conservation related to activities of the Department of Agriculture


114th Congress

Majority[1] Minority[2]


Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Austin Scott (R-GA) David Scott (D-GA)
Conservation and Forestry Glenn Thompson (R-PA) Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Nutrition Jackie Walorski (R-IN) Jim McGovern (D-MA)
General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Rick Crawford (R-AR) Tim Walz (D-MN)
Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Rodney Davis (R-IL) Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
Livestock and Foreign Agriculture David Rouzer (R-NC) Jim Costa (D-CA)

Chairmen since 1820

Chairman Party State Years
Thomas Forrest Federalist Pennsylvania 1820-1821
Josiah Butler Democratic-Republican New Hampshire 1821-1823
Stephen Van Rensselaer National Republican New York 1823-1829
Ambrose Spencer National Republican New York 1829-1831
Erastus Root Democratic New York 1831-1833
Abraham Bockee Democratic New York 1833-1837
Edmund Deberry Whig North Carolina 1837-1845
Joseph H. Anderson Democratic New York 1845-1847
Hugh White Whig New York 1847-1849
Nathaniel S. Littlefield Democratic Maine 1849-1851
John G. Floyd Democratic New York 1851-1853
John L. Dawson Democratic Pennsylvania 1853-1855
David P. Holloway Opposition Indiana 1855-1857
William G. Whiteley Democratic Delaware 1857-1859
Martin Butterfield Republican New York 1859-1861
Owen Lovejoy Republican Illinois 1861-1863
Brutus J. Clay Union Kentucky 1863-1865
John Bidwell Republican California 1865-1867
Rowland E. Trowbridge Republican Michigan 1867-1869
John T. Wilson Republican Ohio 1869-1873
Charles Hays Republican Alabama 1873-1875
John H. Caldwell Democratic Alabama 1875-1877
Augustus W. Cutler Democratic New Jersey 1877-1879
James W. Covert Democratic New York 1879-1881
Edward K. Valentine Republican Nebraska 1881-1883
William H. Hatch Democratic Missouri 1883-1889
Edward H. Funston Republican Kansas 1889-1891
William H. Hatch Democratic Missouri 1891-1895
James W. Wadsworth Republican New York 1895-1907
Charles F. Scott Republican Kansas 1907-1911
John Lamb Democratic Virginia 1911-1913
Asbury F. Lever Democratic South Carolina 1913-1919
Gilbert N. Haugen Republican Iowa 1919-1931
Marvin Jones Democratic Texas 1931-1941
Hampton P. Fulmer Democratic South Carolina 1941-1945
John W. Flannagan, Jr. Democratic Virginia 1945-1947
Clifford R. Hope Republican Kansas 1947-1949
Harold D. Cooley Democratic North Carolina 1949-1953
Clifford R. Hope Republican Kansas 1953-1955
Harold D. Cooley Democratic North Carolina 1955-1967
William R. Poage Democratic Texas 1967-1975
Thomas S. Foley Democratic Washington 1975-1981
Kika de la Garza Democratic Texas 1981-1995
Pat Roberts Republican Kansas 1995-1997
Robert F. Smith Republican Oregon 1997-1999
Larry Combest Republican Texas 1999-2003
Bob Goodlatte Republican Virginia 2003-2007
Collin C. Peterson Democratic Minnesota 2007-2011
Frank Lucas Republican Oklahoma 2011-2015
Mike Conaway Republican Texas 2015-present


Other references

See also

External links

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