Costa launches early blitz for House Ag committee chair amid shakeup

Costa seeks to succeed fellow Blue Dog Democrat Colin Peterson of Minnesota on the powerful Ag panel after Peterson’s electoral defeat.

Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) announced Thursday that he is seeking the chairmanship of the power House Committee on Agriculture. 

“The Committee on Agriculture should reflect the changing landscape of agriculture in the United State,” said Costa in a statement. “As a third-generation farmer, I have the first-hand experience, expertise and passion to connect with rural Americans and lead this committee through the difficult challenges ahead.” 


Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) is the current chairman, but was defeated by to Republican Michelle Fischbach after nearly 30 years in Congress, opening the door for Costa and other Democrats to vie for the position. 

Costa is third in seniority on the committee, which he first joined in 2005. He served on the conference committee for both Farm Bills in 2014 and 2018. 

“Chairman Peterson is a friend and mentor and he leaves big shoes to fill,” Costa said. “Not only must this committee address an unstable agricultural economy and a broken international trade system, but we must also feed millions of vulnerable Americans in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. This is a challenge I am ready to accept.”

Costa’s district includes large amounts of farmland in Fresno, Madera and Merced Counties. The region Costa represents is the third-largest producer of milk in the country and the third-largest producer of fruits and nuts in the nation. 

Congressman David Scott (D-Ga.) has served on the committee since 2002 and threw his hat in the ring Thursday to challenge Costa for the position. 

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