U.S. Senate leaders named members from their respective political parties to serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry during the 115th Congress. In all, 11 of 21 Senate members named to the committee come from “major” dairy states.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

The 115th Congress is expected to get an early start on writing the 2018 Farm Bill. A critical component of that will be a federal dairy safety net and potential adjustments to the current Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), which expires at the end of 2018.

Read also: House Ag Committee has strong ‘dairy state’ representation

The Senate Agriculture Committee will be chaired by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) will serve as Ranking Member.


As the majority party, Republicans have 11 total seats on the committee. The entire Republican membership includes:


Chairman Pat Roberts, Kansas

Thad Cochran, Mississippi

Mitch McConnell, Kentucky

John Boozman, Arkansas

John Hoeven, North Dakota

Joni Ernst, Iowa

Chuck Grassley, Iowa

Jeff Sessions, Alabama

John Thune, South Dakota

Steve Daines, Montana

David Perdue, Georgia

Jeff Sessions has been nominated to be U.S. attorney general. If confirmed, his seat on the ag committee will be filled by another senator.


As the minority party, 10 Democrats will serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee. They are:

Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, Michigan

Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Sherrod Brown, Ohio

Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota

Michael Bennet, Colorado

Kirsten Gillibrand, New York

Joe Donnelly, Indiana

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota

Robert P. Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania

Chris Van Hollen, Maryland

Dairy represented

Dairy interests should be well represented on the Senate Ag Committee, with four Republicans and eight Democrats representing 11 states listed among the 23 “major” dairy states in USDA reports.

Among those states, Iowa has two members on the committee. However, 12 major dairy states have no members on the Senate Ag Committee: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus

Those states may still have some say in future dairy legislation by virtue of membership on the Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus, a bipartisan group made up of federal lawmakers dedicated to educating other members of Congress on the importance of the dairy industry to the nation's economy. Caucus members were still being named.

Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee

Another panel with jurisdiction impacting agriculture and dairy is the agriculture subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) serves as ex-officio member of all subcommittees.

Republican members named to the ag subcommittee are:

Chairman John Hoeven, North Dakota

Thad Cochran, Mississippi

Mitch McConnell, Kentucky

Susan Collins, Maine

Roy Blunt, Missouri

Jerry Moran, Kansas

Marco Rubio, Florida

Democratic members are:

Ranking Member Jeff Merkley, Oregon

Dianne Feinstein, California

Jon Tester, Montana

Tom Udall, New Mexico

Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin  end mark

Dave Natzke