Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, on January 8 was selected to chair the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Roberts makes history becoming the first member of Congress to hold the top agriculture post in both the U.S. House of Representatives and now in the U.S. Senate. He chaired the House ag committee from 1995 to 1997

“I am honored to work for America’s farmers and ranchers,” Roberts said. “I am proud to bring Kansas leadership to the committee. I look forward to an aggressive schedule with hearings providing much needed oversight of our farm programs, school meals, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency. I am humbled to serve as chairman and will continue to be a champion for rural Kansas.

“Production agriculture must rise to face a daunting challenge: feeding a growing and hungry global population. I will work to see that the federal government is an ally, not an adversary, in this purpose. I will fight to ensure farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to advance American agriculture. I will fight barriers to trade opportunities and regulations that threaten our producers’ competitiveness. And I will continue my work to maintain the security of our food supply and ensure science based regulations govern our food and agriculture sectors.”

Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., preceded Roberts as the Senate agriculture committee chair. She will continue to serve on the committee as the ranking member.

Roberts’ priorities will include oversight of USDA programs and policies and further hearings on farm bill implementation. The committee will debate reauthorization of laws dealing with commodity trading, child nutrition, school meal programs and grain inspection.