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Election Could Weaken Support for U.S. Agriculture Subsidies


Washington, DC, Nov. 1 (EINNEWS)—Jobs, the economy, health care and other issues may be dominating election campaign news, but the results of tomorrow’s voting may have a deep impact on a topic few are discussing: agriculture.

According to the latest polls, Blanche Lincoln, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will lose her seat, setting up a scramble for a new leader, regardless of whether the Democrats keep control. In the House, analysts expect Republicans to win a majority, with the probability that the new Agriculture Committee Chairman will be Frank Lucas from Oklahoma.

The new committee line ups will jell at a time when deficit reduction will be high on the agenda, a new farm bill will be on the table and longstanding agricultural subsidies will be in play.

New faces on Capitol Hill next January – new faces with new ideas about issues important to agriculture, such as trade, the environment, and farm programs. What happens this November could set the course for American agriculture for the next decade.

Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar, one of the most senior members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a recent interview that for decades southern agriculture, particularly cotton and sugar sectors, have maintained a strong hold on U.S. farm policy.

But, he said, new committee dynamics and mounting federal deficits will spotlight the billions of dollars taxpayers spend to protect commodities such as sugar. Lugar believes all support and quota programs will come under scrutiny.

The Obama administration has placed more emphasis on rural development, nutrition, local food and farmers markets than previous administrations. Farm profits have also been setting records, weakening the case for agricultural safety nets.

One of the unintended consequences of tomorrow’s voting could be a radical change in direction for agricultural policy.

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