House Committee on Agriculture

Chair: Collin Peterson

D

Projected Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings

18 Policy/Legislative Hearings

41 Total Hearings

Last updated: Oct. 10, 2020, 9:46 a.m.

The committee authorizes U.S. farm policy and its large subsidies to farmers and ranchers, as well as timber policy via the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Agriculture Department. It also has jurisdiction over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, which at $58 billion a year and more than 34 million recipients is actually larger than the direct farm subsidy program. It also oversees the commodity exchanges. As a result, the committee has a mix of urban and rural representatives. They often act in a bipartisan way with regard to farm programs, but sometimes clash over expanding or restricting food stamp benefits. It has six subcommittees: commodity exchanges, energy and credit; conservation and forestry; nutrition, oversight and department operations; general farm commodities and risk management; biotechnology, horticulture and research; and livestock and foreign agriculture.

Like its Senate counterpart, the committee’s highest profile job is to produce a new Farm Bill every five years (the last was in 2018, the end of the 115th Congress). That helps explain its somewhat erratic hearing schedule, which has ranged from a high of 71 in the 114th Congress (2015-16) to a low of just 23 in the previous Congress. It is one of the least active committees in the House. During the 115th Congress under Chair Mike Conaway (R, Texas), the committee held no investigative oversight hearings and only 23 policy or legislative hearings.

During the 10 years from the 111th Congress to the 115th Congress (2009-18), the committee held only one investigative oversight hearing, in the 112th Congress (2011-12), even though it has a subcommittee with oversight as part of its responsibilities.


Chairs

111th Congress: Collin Peterson (D-MN)

112th Congress: Frank Lucas (R-OK)

113th Congress: Frank Lucas (R-OK)

114th Congress: Mike Conaway (R-TX)

115th Congress: Mike Conaway (R-TX)

116th Congress: Collin Peterson (D-MN)


Current Congress

We are 100% of the way through the 116th Congress

House Committee on Agriculture

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
18 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 55% historical maximum
41 Total Hearings; 72% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 0 41 61 100% A
112th Congress 1 28 44 75% C
113th Congress 0 13 23 34% F
114th Congress 0 33 71 96% A
115th Congress 0 24 35 58% F
116th Congress* 0 18 41 67% D
Historical average 0.2 26.2 45.8

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
House Committee on Agriculture

Date Hearing Title Committee Category