Leadership in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee will see a change, as Thad Cochran, R-Miss., replaces Pat Roberts, R-Kan., as the ranking Republican member.

"I am pleased the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee have entrusted me with the opportunity to be their ranking Republican member," said Cochran. "I will use the experiences I've gained in serving on the committee since 1979 to help quickly advance a new Farm Bill that will meet the needs of our country's farmers, small businesses and those who rely on the nutrition programs under the committee's jurisdiction. I look forward to working with Chairman (Debbie) Stabenow and members of the committee in this new Congress, and I thank Sen. Roberts for his dedicated service as the ranking member during the 112th Congress."

Cochran joined the Senate Agriculture Committee after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978.  He previously served as committee chairman from 2003 to 2005. Roberts, who will remain on the committee, has been a U.S. Senate member since his election in 1996. He previously represented Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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While Roberts' position on the committee will change, he said his commitment to agriculture will not.

"Rest assured, I will remain a strong and vocal champion for agriculture as a senior member of the committee," said Roberts. "I will retain my Finance Committee seat and as a senior member of this committee, I am able to affect trade policy, especially ag trade, tax reform and rural health care. No matter whether I hold the gavel, or whether I am the ranking member or whether I am a senior member, agriculture has always been a top priority of my efforts in public service. Nothing will change that.

"I wish Senator Cochran the best in his new position and will work with him and his staff to ensure a smooth transition on the committee," he said. "I look forward to working closely with Senator Cochran in this new congress to pass a five year farm bill that benefits producers, consumers and the taxpayer."