The American Farm Bureau has weighed in with its post-election analysis and possible impacts for the farm bill and other key issues for producers.
AFBF Political Affairs Director Cody Lyon says a likely GOP majority in the House means a new Ag chair. “Could be going to GT Thompson from Pennsylvania, as the new chair…and the question would be, who’s going to be the ranking member on the Democratic side. Would David Scott remain as ranking member? He’s from Georgia and has been chair for the last few years.”
Also, will Ag members be mostly freshman or more seasoned lawmakers with farm bill experience? Over in Senate Ag Lyon says; “It’s going to be an extremely narrow, partisan margin in the Senate, absolutely. It all kind of depends on how four key races fall.”
With the Senate majority and next Ag chair likely hinging on a December Georgia runoff. Current Chair Debbie Stabenow was not up for re-election, Ranking Republican John Boozman won another term.
Lyon predicts the two would continue to work well together no matter the outcome, on issues of immediate concern to producers. “Farm programs, through conservation programs, through environmental, energy, research…they’re going to touch on all those key aspects of the farm bill. And then, where does nutrition fit in?”
On the House side, energy policy could play big for Republicans, topping climate issues according to Lyon. “Energy policy, overall, especially with the current price of diesel fuel and its impact on farmers and ranchers and rural communities around the country.”
While farm tax policies and Ag spending will also be key, focusing attention not just on the Ag committee, but Ways and Means and Appropriations