The House Republican Steering Committee on Wednesday selected Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania to serve as ranking member for the House Agriculture Committee.

Pending formal approval of the full House GOP conference, he will succeed Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, who is retiring from Congress.

"As a lifelong resident of a small town in rural central Pennsylvania and the descendant of a long line of dairy farmers, I am incredibly humbled to have been elected by my Republican colleagues to be their leader on the House Agriculture Committee in the 117th Congress,” Thompson said in a statement. “The challenges ahead of us are considerable, but we will continue to put farm families first and ensure our country has the most safe and affordable food supply chain on the planet."

Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia (no relation to presumptive Democratic Chair David Scott, who got the nod from that party's steering committee Tuesday) and Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas, were also vying to be the top Republican on the panel.

Thompson has served 11 years on the House Agriculture Committee and serves as ranking member of the general farm commodities and risk management subcommittee. He also was the vice chair of the full committee and chair of the nutrition subcommittee during the development of the 2018 farm bill.

His vision to lead the committee has two parts: having a robust rural America and serving the next generation of family farms.

“We need to make sure that we provide the right kind of policies so folks can find opportunity in rural America,” Thompson told Agri-Pulse in November 2019.

At the time, Thompson said his priorities include expanding new markets for agricultural products, improving the farm safety net, improving Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage to be more effective and affordable for producers, and improving rural broadband connectivity.

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He also wants to expand access to commodity purchases through The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, a federal program providing low-income Americans with emergency food assistance at no cost.

Thompson's appointment rounds out the new leadership group for the House and Senate Ag Committees, who will have new faces in three of four slots for the upcoming Congress. In addition to Thompson taking Conaway's place, David Scott is poised to succeed Rep. Collin Peterson as the new chair of the House committee. In the Senate, Arkansas Republican John Boozman is expected to lead Republican efforts on the ag committee; Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow is the lone holdover from the leadership group that drafted the last farm bill. 

The steering committee selected Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to become ranking member on the powerful House Energy and Committee. This committee has jurisdiction over energy policy and oversight of the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency.

McMorris Rodgers, whose district covers the eastern third of Washington, would replace retiring Oregon Rep. Greg Walden. 

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