The nation has a new Speaker of the House, and he’s someone already trusted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). NCBA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane said though Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana has not served on the Agriculture Committee, he has a strong voting record when it comes to agriculture.
“He has been a pretty reliable supporter of what agriculture has asked for. He’s a guy who has voted for the farm bill. He’s a guy who has voted for appropriations bills. He’s been a supportive member of Congress for agriculture,” Lane said. “He is a real win for cattle producers.”
Lane has known Johnson since Johnson was first voted into office in 2016 and said Johnson has proven to have strong principles.
“He’s very resolute in his view of those principles,” Lane said. “He is for free markets. He is for individual liberty. He is for limited government. Those tend to be values that overlap very strongly with most cattle producers around the country and certainly with NCBA’s policy book. And because of that, we’ve been long supporters of Mr. Johnson. He is going to bring a fresh perspective, I think, to these conversations.”
Johnson has been known to disregard climate science. During a 2017 town hall meeting in his home district of Shreveport, Louisiana, Representative Johnson was asked about climate change.
“I am not a big proponent of the climate change data, because I have seen data on the other side,” Johnson said to the group, some of whom shouted back at him. He continued despite the shouts from the audience. “The climate is changing. The climate is changing. But is it because of the natural cycles of the atmosphere over the span of history? Or is it changing because we drive SUVs? I don’t believe in the latter. I don’t believe that’s the primary driver.”
NCBA’s Lane says he doesn’t think Johnson’s views on climate change will be an issue despite the Biden administration’s consistent push for what it calls “climate-smart” agriculture.
“I’m not terribly concerned about that. I’ve seen all the same clips everybody has dug up and you know, I don’t think he has said anything that’s wildly different than what other members of the House Republican Conference have sort of said at various points in in the last ten years in this climate conversation,” Lane said. “I think it’s an evolving conversation like anything else. I think as agriculture has learned what an important role we play in that conversation and how beneficial we are in moving the needle in the right direction on climate, our own rhetoric and our own conversations about climate have changed. I wouldn’t expect anything different from members of Congress on Capitol Hill.” During his first speech as Speaker, Johnson said he intends to keep the House on a busy schedule in the coming weeks to finish the work that was paused during the search for the new Speaker. However, Lane expects the Farm Bill will not be one of the items they complete and an extension will be forthcoming.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.