Roberts to hold trade, climate change hearings
NEW ORLEANS — Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said here Sunday that the Senate Agriculture Committee will soon hold hearings on trade and on climate change.
Roberts, who has announced he will not run for re-election in 2020, told reporters after receiving an award from the American Farm Bureau Federation that he will be “just as ornery and tough” for the next two years as he has been throughout his lengthy career in the House and the Senate.
At the trade hearing, Roberts said, he hopes to hear from interests beyond the commodity and export groups. He said that Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Gregg Doud, who heads the agriculture section at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, might be among the witnesses he will call.
Roberts said he wants to get out the message that “we are losing markets” and that will continue “without a certain trade policy.” Roberts said he would look at climate change for both opportunity
and challenges and that the hearings would include agricultural research and technology. In Kansas, he noted, wheat yields have hit 100 bushels per acre, but that if the warming trend continues “it could go the other way.”
Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has not said what she wants to cover in the climate change hearing, he added.
The government shutdown, Roberts said, is “like shattered glass,” but that it doesn’t make any sense “to pass anything on the shutdown that the president won’t sign.”
Roberts said he hopes to work with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to get full Senate confirmation of the nominees for the Agriculture Department that the committee has approved.
Of his long career accomplishments, Roberts said it has been most important that the “primary component of Freedom to Farm, planting for the market” has survived, even though it has been “a tough battle to preserve that.”