WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2015 – Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is taking over the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that writes spending measures for the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration.

Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is leaving the Agriculture subcommittee’s top GOP seat to take over as chairman of the Labor-Health and Human Service subcommittee.

Moran’s selection will ensure that conventional agriculture interests have an ally chairing the Agriculture panel. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who has clashed with the biotechnology industry, will be the subcommittee’s top Democrat.

Then-Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., chaired the subcommittee during the last Congress, when Democrats controlled the Senate.

Moran said he would “focus on investing in policies that are vital to Kansas farmers and ranchers, such as agriculture research and extension and farm bill implementation.”

“We are beyond excited that Sen. Moran has earned this key leadership position on agricultural issues in the U.S. Senate,” Kansas Farm Bureau President Richard Felts said in a press release issued by Moran’s office. Moran “has always been a champion for farmers and ranchers, and we look forward to his continued strong leadership on behalf of agriculture and rural Kansas.”  

The new chairs of other subcommittees include: Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Energy and Water Development; John Boozman, R-Ark., Financial Services and General Government; John Hoeven, R-N.D., Homeland Security; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Interior-Environment (which oversees the Interior Department and EPA); Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., State-Foreign Operations; and Susan Collins, R-Maine, Transportation.