The Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of all matters relating to the nation's agriculture industry, farming programs, forestry and logging, and legislation relating to nutrition and health.
Founded in 1825 the Committee was formed at the request of Senator William Findlay from Pennsylvania. Arguing that agriculture was as important to national progress as commerce and manufacturing, Findlay succeeded in persuading the full Senate to divide the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures into two separate committees. The Committee on Agriculture was formed by resolution on December 9, 1825.
During the first four decades of the existence of this committee, the need for it was repeatedly called into question. At that time in America, nearly ²⁄3 of the population was directly engaged in agriculture. As such, issues related to agriculture overlapped with areas covered by other committees and were often referred to those committees instead of the Agriculture Committee.
Following a debate over the necessity of various committees to have need of the services of a dedicated clerk, a Special Committee was formed to investigate ways to "reduce the number and increase the efficiency of the committees." On February 17, 1857, the Special Committee submitted a plan of reorganization for the committees that did not include the Agriculture Committee. During a special session of the Senate, on March 5, 1857, the Senate approved the Special Committees recommendations and the Committee on Agriculture was dissolved.
In 1862, the country was embroiled in the Civil War, a large influx of immigrants was occurring and the nation was moving towards industrialization. That year, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Organic Act recreating the Department of Agriculture.
It became the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in 1884, a reflection of the growing importance of forests to the country's needs. It was renamed again to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in 1977. Nutrition was added to the name after the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 directed the Department of Agriculture to "conduct more human nutrition research, establish a national nutrition education program and develop a system to monitor America's nutritional status".
|Commodities, Markets and Trade||John Boozman (R-AR)||Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)|
|Rural Development and Energy||Joni Ernst (R-IA)||Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)|
|Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources||Steve Daines (R-MT)||Michael Bennet (D-CO)|
|Nutrition, Agricultural Research and Specialty Crops||Luther Strange (R-AL)||Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA)|
|Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security||David Perdue (R-GA)||Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)|
Source: Committee Membership List: Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (United States Senate, as of July 2013)
The committee, under its various names, has been chaired by the following senators:
|William Marks||National Republican||Pennsylvania||1829–1831|
|Horatio Seymour||National Republican||Vermont||1831–1833|
|Bedford Brown||Democratic||North Carolina||1833–1836|
|John Page||Democratic||New Hampshire||1836–1837|
|Lewis F. Linn||Democratic||Missouri||1841–1843|
|Philip Allen||Democratic||Rhode Island||1853–1857|
|Oliver P. Morton||Republican||Indiana||1871–1872|
|Frederick T. Frelinghuysen||Republican||New Jersey||1872–1877|
|Algernon S. Paddock||Republican||Nebraska||1877–1879|
|Warner Miller||Republican||New York||1884–1887|
|Thomas W. Palmer||Republican||Michigan||1887–1889|
|Algernon S. Paddock||Republican||Nebraska||1889–1893|
|James Z. George||Democratic||Mississippi||1893–1895|
|Henry C. Hansbrough||Republican||North Dakota||1908–1909|
|Jonathan P. Dolliver||Republican||Iowa||1909–1910|
|Francis E. Warren||Republican||Wyoming||1910–1911|
|Henry E. Burnham||Republican||New Hampshire||1911–1913|
|Thomas P. Gore||Democratic||Oklahoma||1913–1919|
|Asle J. Gronna||Republican||North Dakota||1919–1921|
|George W. Norris||Republican||Nebraska||1921–1926|
|Ellison D. Smith||Democratic||South Carolina||1933–1944|
|Allen J. Ellender||Democratic||Louisiana||1951–1953|
|George D. Aiken||Republican||Vermont||1953–1955|
|Allen J. Ellender||Democratic||Louisiana||1955–1971|
|Herman E. Talmadge||Democratic||Georgia||1971–1977|
|Herman E. Talmadge||Democratic||Georgia||1977–1981|
|Jesse Helms||Republican||North Carolina||1981–1987|