How will Tuesday’s election results impact agriculture?
With the Republicans taking control of the House, Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas is expected to take over as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Lucas has been a supporter to direct payments, which are expected to become a major issue as the debate intensifies over the 2012 Farm Bill. At the same time, there will likely be a lot of pressure on Lucas and other Republicans to follow through on their promises of cutting federal spending. That combination should make for some very interesting debate over farm programs in the coming months.
The faces on the House panel will also change considerably, as several Democrat members were defeated. The losers included Jim Marshall of Georgia, Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, Travis Childers of Mississippi, Deborah Halvorson of Illinois, Kathleen Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Bobby Bright of Alabama, John Boccieri of Ohio, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin of South Dakota and Frank Kratovil of Maryland.
On the Senate side, Blanche Lincoln’s defeat in Arkansas means there will be a new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Her likely Democratic successor at this point is thought to be Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Sources close to the panel says Stabenow is well-liked by her colleagues and earned their respect during the last round of farm bill negotiations by bridging the interests of states with commodity crops and those with specialty fruit and vegetables.
In Missouri the controversial dog breeding measure, Proposition B, passed by two points. It was opposed by livestock interests in the state. (Link to Tom Steever’s story on Prop B passage)
In Iowa, voters approved a constitutional amendment creating a trust fund to provide sustainable funding for soil, water and other resource conservation programs. The funding would come by setting aside three-eighths of one percent of any future increases in the state’s sales tax. It was opposed by Iowa Farm Bureau.
Iowa secretary of agriculture Bill Northey has been elected to a second four-year term, easily outdistancing challenger Francis Thicke.