Arkansas’s Lincoln Becomes First Woman to Chair Senate Ag Committee

September 8, 2009 07:00 PM

By Catherine Merlo

Arkansas's senior U.S. Senator, Democrat Blanche Lincoln, has been named Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. 

In the committee's 184-year history, Lincoln will be the first Arkansan and first woman ever to serve as chairman. She replaces Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who will chair the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"As a seventh-generation Arkansan and farmer's daughter, I know my father is smiling down on me today,” Lincoln said today.  "I am fortunate to have served on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry since I was first elected to the Senate in 1998. 

Lincoln added: "I thank Senator Harkin for his tremendous leadership. As chairman, I will work with my colleagues to build upon the committee's strong record and devote my full energy to producing forward-looking, balanced priorities on behalf of all families and communities. I will continue to fight for the hardworking farm families and rural communities who provide the safest, most abundant and affordable supply of food and fiber in the world.” 

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) today issued the following statement about the change in leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee: "Senator Lincoln's passion and support for American agriculture make her an excellent choice to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee. She grew up on a farm and knows first-hand how much hard work and dedication it requires. I look forward to working with her on the issues that matter to agriculture and rural America. I also want to commend Senator Harkin for his leadership and wish him well as he takes over the Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.”  

Learn more about Sen. Lincoln at

Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at


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