US - As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, US Representative Rick Crawford (AR-1) has accepted the chairmanship of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee, serving as the key House authority for oversight and rule implementation for the farm bill.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman-Elect Congressman Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the announcement on 10 December, having served as Subcommittee chairman during the 113th Congress, which included the 2014 farm bill mark-up and passage.
Specifically, the Subcommittee oversees programme and markets for major commercial crops, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and risk management. Congressman Crawford previously served as a Subcommittee member.
"The General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee covers the gamut of the major production crops we see in the First District," Mr Crawford said.
"I thank Chairman Conaway for this opportunity and look forward to working with him in the 114th Congress preparing farm legislation that protects our producers’ ability to feed and clothe our nation."
In addition to overseeing programme crops, the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee governs the Commodity Credit Corporation as well as risk management, which includes specialty crops. Congressman Crawford said risk management is especially important as specialty crop acreage has increased in the First District, most notably with peanuts.
"The number of First District producers growing peanuts has jumped in the past five years," Mr Crawford said. "We welcome the changing landscape, but we also recognise that these growers face unique challenges compared with our traditional producers. As such, we may need more creative solutions that help them protect their investments."
The risk management category also includes oversight of crop insurance. Congressman Crawford said despite crop insurance not working well historically in the First District, the 2014 farm bill emphasised the programme more prominently than previous farm bills while making significant, positive changes to it.
"We made great strides with the 2014 farm bill to craft legislation that allows First District producers to properly manage risk on their operations, but we still have progress to make." Mr Crawford said. "As Subcommittee Chairman, I encourage feedback from our producers so Congress can continue to improve their available risk management options."
During the 113th Congress, Congressman Crawford chaired the Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit Subcommittee within the House Agriculture Committee while also serving on the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. Crawford will continue to serve on the T&I Committee while expanding his leadership within the Ag Committee.
"Whether we’re talking about agricultural production, inland waterways, or highways, they’re all critically important to the First District," Mr Crawford said. "I’m eager to begin working on these issues in the weeks ahead."
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