The House Ag Committee Has Its First Black Chairman

And finally someone who cares about climate change.

Rep. David Scott( D-Ga.) will chair the House Ag Committee in the next Congress. Bill O'Leary/Associated Press

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The 2020 election sent shockwaves through US food and farm policy circles. The defeat of Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee since 2007, left a hole at the top on an institution that plays a key role in writing the farm bill. This omnibus legislation, renewed every five years, shapes planting decisions over huge swaths of farmland as well as the anti-hunger programs buckling under the pandemic-driven economic recession. Peterson ruled the committee as a conservative, agribusiness-aligned Democrat who denied that climate change was a serious issue for ag policy even as it bedeviled farmers from coast to coast

As President-elect Joe Biden ruminates over who will lead the US Department of Agriculture, which executes the policies laid out by the farm bill, Democratic leadership of the US House has settled on its next ag committee chair: Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), who represents a semi-rural district in the outskirts of Atlanta. Scott will be the first Black person to lead the powerful committee. Here’s what I wrote about him in the wake of the election last month:

In negotiations over the 2018 farm bill, he successfully pushed a provision to fund $80 million in scholarships at 19 agriculture-focused historically Black colleges and universities.

In a Nov. 5 letter to colleagues, Scott expressed his desire to take the post: “With each wildfire, hurricane, or flood more devastating than the last, it is incumbent upon us to ensure food security for future generations,” he wrote. “The threat of climate change is a present and growing danger, and we must promote sustainable agriculture solutions that are economically viable, ecologically just, and support the social fabric of our rural communities.”

If he succeeds in his bid and follows through on that statement, Scott would not only be the first Black House ag committee chair—he’d also be the first one to take climate change seriously.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate