As the process to develop the 2023 Farm Bill is underway, it is interesting to look at the make-up of the House and Senate from the South. The South typically includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Southern Ag Today also includes Maryland in our grouping of Southern states.
Currently, 161 (or 37 percent) of the members of the House of Representatives are from the South (Table 1). In terms of agriculture committee make-up, 17 of the 54 members (31 percent) of the House Agriculture Committee are from the South. Mr. David Scott, the ranking member of the committee is also from the South (Georgia). In the 118th Congress, 29 of the 75 freshmen members (39 percent) are from the South.
In the Senate, obviously each state has two senators, so the South would have 28 of the 100. Five of the 23 members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry are from the South (Table 2), with Mr. John Boozman of Arkansas serving as ranking member.
While the South has a significant amount of representation in Congress – and especially on the agricultural committees – there is a considerable amount of work to do in educating new members who have never taken a vote on a farm bill.
Table 1. States with Members on the House Agriculture Committee.
Table 2. States with Senators on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.