The 2016 election didn’t bring just a new administration. It brought new members to both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees. At Land O’Lakes, Inc., advocacy is how we educate these legislators on the issues impacting our business, and it’s how we continue to increasingly make your voices heard.
Meet the new people our Government Relations team is working to get to know. If you live in any of these districts, now is the right time to reach out and share what issues matter to you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like some tips on how to start.
The House Committee on Agriculture has general jurisdiction over federal agriculture legislation and oversight of a few federal agencies. There are 12 new members to the committee this year, six Republicans and six Democrats.
Rep. Jodey Arrington, representing Texas’ 19th District
Rep. Arrington was elected to replace former Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) who retired. He represents Texas’s 19th district which is home to a WinField United facility and a Purina Animal Nutrition facility. The district includes Lubbock, Abilene and many ranches and farms and was once represented by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX).
Rep. Arrington worked as an advisor in the George W. Bush administration to assemble leadership teams in the area of water, agriculture and energy areas. He also served as vice chancellor for Research and Commercialization at Texas Tech University.
Rep. Don Bacon, representing Nebraska's 2nd District
Rep. Bacon defeated first-term Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE) in a very close race to represent the Omaha-centered 2nd Congressional District.
Rep. Bacon has served nearly 30 years in the Air Force, retiring as a Brigadier General, specializing in electronic warfare, intelligence and public affairs. He also grew up and worked on a farm in Northern Illinois.
Rep. James Comer, representing Kentucky's 1st District
District: Rep. Comer was elected to his first term in 2016 after the retirement of then-Rep. Ed Whitfield. His district, Kentucky’s 1st, is in the southwestern part of the state and includes Paducah, Murray and one Winfield United facility in Hopkinsville.
Rep. Comer currently operates Comer Family Farms, one of the largest farming operations in south central Kentucky. He was previously elected to Commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture in 2011 and lead efforts to legalize industrial hemp and to develop branding initiatives for Kentucky farmers.
Rep. Neal Dunn, representing Florida’s 2nd District Rep.
Dunn won the election for the open seat left vacant by Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL), who also served on the Agriculture Committee and retired. Florida’s 2nd district covers the central panhandle including Tallahassee and Panama City.
Rep. Dunn had served as a surgeon for the US Military for 11 years. He also serves on the House Budget and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
Rep. John Faso, representing New York’s 19th District
Rep. Faso replaces former Agriculture Committee Member Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) to represent this upstate NY district that includes the city of Cooperstown, several Land O’Lakes dairy members and a Winfield United facility in Kingston.
Rep. Faso previously served as the Republican leader of the New York State Assembly. During his tenure on the Assembly, he led the way for legislation on education and state spending reform.
Rep. Roger Marshall, representing Kansas’ 1st District
Rep. Marshall defeated Former Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) in the Republican primary and went on to win the general election to win the ‘Big First’ district in western Kansas. The district is home to many Land O’Lakes member cooperatives, three Winfield United facilities and one Purina Animal Nutrition facility.
Rep. Marshall campaigned, in part, on giving a louder voice for US agriculture in Congress. He also serves on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the House Small Business Committee.
Rep. Dwight Evans, representing Pennsylvania’s 2nd district
Rep. Evans was elected during a special election last year after then-Rep. Chaka Fattah resigned. He represents Northwest Philadelphia.
Rep. Evans was first elected to the Pennsylvania legislature at the age of 26 and served 36 years at the state House. He advocated during this time for education and public transportation reform.
Rep. Al Lawson, representing Florida’s 5th district
Rep. Lawson’s district stretches through north-central Florida including parts of Jacksonville and Orlando. It was previously represented by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) who retired. The district includes one Winfield United facility in Plymouth.
Rep. Lawson’s first job was working in farm fields of northern Florida. He has previously served 18 years in the state House and then served from 2000-2010 in the Florida Senate.
Rep. Tom O’Halleran, representing Arizona’s 1st district
Rep. O’Halleran replaces Former Rep. and House Ag Committee Member Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) who retired. His district encompasses most of the north and eastern parts of the state, including much of the rural area.
Rep. O’Halleran previously served in the Arizona House and Senate as a Republican but resigned from the GOP in 2014 due to disagreement on education and water policies. He also previously served on the Chicago Police Department as a homicide detective.
Rep. Jimmy Panetta, representing California’s 20th district
Rep. Panetta represents the central coast including Monterey and some of the largest specialty crop growing regions of the country. He replaces Rep. Sam Farr (D-FL) who retired.
Rep. Panetta completed an active duty tour in in Afghanistan and served in the U.S. Navy reserve. He also serves on the Committee on Natural Resources and the Subcommittees on Water, Power and Oceans and Federal Land.
Rep. Darren Soto, representing Florida’s 9th district
Rep. Soto represents central Florida including part of Orlando and the surrounding area with many citrus groves. Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) formerly held the seat and retired.
Rep. Soto previously worked as an attorney and served four years in the Florida Senate and five in the state House and has been very engaged on immigration issues. He also serves on the Committee on Natural Resources and the Subcommittees on Energy and Mineral Resources, Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, and Oversight and Investigations.
Rep. Lisa Blunt, Rochester, representing Delaware’s single district
Rep. Blunt Rochester replaces Rep. John Carney (D-DE) who was elected Governor. Rep. Blunt Rochester served as the State Personnel Director, State Labor Secretary and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. She is the first woman and first African-American to represent Delaware in Congress.
Rep. Blunt Rochester formerly worked for then-Rep. now-Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).
The Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry of the US Senate oversees legislation on US agriculture, forestry, farming programs and nutrition. This year we’re welcoming two new members, one Republican and one Democrat. There is also one open seat in the Senate Committee left by Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL), who was recently confirmed as Attorney General, and the seat will be filled by another Republican still to be announced.
Sen. Steve Daines, Montana
Sen. Daines represents several Land O’Lakes ag service members and member cooperatives as well as one Winfield United facility. He has served in the Senate since 2015 but was newly appointed to the Agriculture Committee.
Sen. Daines supported passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. He also serves on Committees on Appropriations, Energy and Natural Resources, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
Sen. Van Hollen represents several Land O’Lakes dairy members and one Purina Animal Nutrition facility in Hagerstown. In 2002, he was elected to the House of Representatives and was then elected to Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee and part of the House Democratic Leadership team.
Sen. Van Hollen was born in Pakistan as his father was a US Foreign Service officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and his mother worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
With these new leaders in the House and Senate, there’s an ongoing need to share our stories from the farm or help educate legislators on our stances on the legislation that affect our business. We will continue to make our collective voices heard.