Michael Conaway
Michael Conaway

U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) was named the 50th chairman of the House Agricultural Committee. Selected by the House Republican Steering Committee, Conway succeeds Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who has held the post since 2011.

Lucas was term limited as chair, paving the way for Conaway to be the farm panel’s new chair. Conaway said he will announce his staff Wednesday.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 50th chairman of the storied House Committee on Agriculture. The work that farmers and ranchers do is part of our country’s foundation. They feed, fuel, and clothe our nation. I look forward to building on the bipartisan work of the chairmen who have led this committee for the past two centuries.

“I represent, and love, rural America. It’s the backbone of our country,” he continued. ”The values and concepts that make America great are stored in rural America, and I want to protect that. There are fewer and fewer voices representing rural America, and I am honored to be one of those voices. That is my overarching drive as the Committee moves forward.”

 Senior Democrat Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) will remain as senior agriculture committee Democrat.

Peterson congratulated Conaway on his appointment.

“I congratulate Congressman Conaway on his election to Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,” Petetson said. “As a fellow CPA, I think we can find common ground as the Committee oversees farm bill implementation and reauthorizing the CFTC during the next Congress. The Agriculture Committee has a strong bipartisan tradition, which I look forward to continuing under Chairman Conaway.

“I would also like to commend Chairman Lucas for his leadership. While he will no longer be Chairman, I have no doubt he will remain a strong advocate for America’s farmers and ranchers and a respected member of the Agriculture Committee.”

With Republicans assuming control of the Senate beginning in January, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is likely to be the new chair of the Senate ag committee. The current senior Republican on the committee, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), is expected to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The current committee chair, Sen. Stabenow (D-Mich.), will become the panel's senior Democrat.