Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow was named chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Friday. Following the lame duck session, she will take the gavel from Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

After the announcement of the new chair, Stabenow – who was instrumental in the addition of a fruit and vegetable title in the last farm bill – said: “I am ready to lead the Senate Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress. Agriculture is critical to Michigan’s economy, employing a quarter of our workforce. Not only does agriculture create jobs and feed our families across America, but it is also helping us develop new fuels and energy sources.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as we begin writing a new farm bill that once again recognizes the importance of America’s agricultural economy and rural communities.”