Peter Welch slated for US Senate Agriculture Committee

Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., at a Vermont Democratic Party gathering in Burlington on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2022. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Vermont’s newly elected Democratic U.S. Sen. Peter Welch is slated to get a seat on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, where he would have a key role in crafting this year’s omnibus Farm Bill.

First reported by Politico Pro, Welch’s office confirmed the report Wednesday night. Final committee assignments are expected to be announced in the coming days.  

Welch is a first-term senator, but he came into the chamber in January with some clout, having served as Vermont’s sole member of the U.S. House for 16 years.

He replaced U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who retired after a historic 48-year career. If Welch gains a seat on the agriculture committee, he would continue another Leahy legacy. The retired senator spent years on the committee, and eventually helmed it, crafting national organics standards, leading on forest conservation efforts and Lake Champlain cleanup, establishing a nationwide Farm to School program, overseeing an expansion of SNAP benefits and negotiating numerous Farm Bills.

Welch would play a major role in crafting this year’s Farm Bill with a post on the agriculture committee. The mega-bill is renewed every five years.

Politico Pro reported that fellow first-term Democrat, Pennsylvania’s U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, is also slated to join the committee, making the party breakdown 12:11. The left-leaning new members are bound to bring to the committee table a renewed focus on agriculture’s climate impact, corporate consolidation and social programs.

Welch has advocated for the dairy industry throughout his time as a member of the House, and in his first week in Vermont as a senator convened a panel of dairy industry leaders in St. Albans. On Friday, he is scheduled to visit Corse Farm Dairy, a small organic dairy farm in southern Vermont, alongside USDA Undersecretary Jennifer Moffitt.

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