U.S. ag industry reacts to new Speaker election

U.S. ag industry reacts to new Speaker election
Oct 27, 2023

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson received 220 votes on Oct. 25

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. ag industry is ready to work with the new Speaker of the House of Representatives following his election.

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson received 220 votes on Oct. 25, three more than the 217 needed, to become the 56th Speaker in U.S. history.

Multiple industry groups welcomed Johnson to the role and are urging for cooperation from Republicans and Democrats to ensure support for farmers.

“America’s families are relying on Speaker Johnson, and Congress, to focus on pressing needs, including completion of fiscal year 2024 appropriations and passage of a farm bill," Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement. “We stand ready to work with Speaker Johnson to pass this important legislation. Every family in America is counting on his leadership.”

“Our members are a critical part of the food value chain and call on Speaker Johnson to ensure the federal government remains funded and able to address key challenges especially persistent labor shortages and inflation,” North American Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts said in a statement.

Speaker Johnson represents Louisiana’s 4th congressional district.

This district includes more than 7,000 farms and is responsible for about 23 percent of state agriculture sales, data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture says.

And nearly 42 percent of the district’s population live in rural areas.

This puts him in a good position to advocate for farmers, said Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association.

“The new House speaker’s Louisiana district is steeped in farmland, and we look forward to working closely with him as Congress advances a farm bill that is good for corn growers and rural America,” he said in a statement. “We are grateful for Speaker Johnson’s previous support on issues important to corn growers, such as supporting crop insurance during the 2018 farm bill amendment process; opposing fertilizer duties; and advocating for EPA to adhere to scientific evidence regarding critical crop protection tools.”

After his election, Speaker Johnson released a letter to his House colleagues outlining the issues he’d like to tackle as he begins his tenure.

And he has a farm bill measure slated for December.

“Pass the Farm bill and await Senate action,” his letter says. “Begin negotiations as soon as possible.”

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