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Evolving stories About Growing Food in a Big City

Midterm elections could change federal agriculture policy

Cassandra West

Iowa farm By Susan Richardson Last week’s midterm elections swept dozens of conservative Republicans into the U.S. House of Representatives, giving the GOP a majority. So, what will be the effect of the election results on the Farm Bill, sustainable food initiatives and other agricultural issues? Following is a roundup of views and news from bloggers and ag experts about the potential impact:

"Passing a farm bill is going to be hard work. Since American farmers would otherwise have to compete against heavily subsidized counterparts in other nations, this has always been a necessary bipartisan effort. This has occurred on track in recent years despite the caterwauling on talk radio and on editorial pages. We’ll have to wait and see.” Texas Agriculture Talks

“U.S. lawmakers will face increasing pressure to constrain spending on farm subsidy programs, possibly as part of government-wide austerity, in the wake of large Republican gains in the mid-term elections.” DTN/The Progressive Farmer

“Forty-six seats that flipped from Democratic to Republican hands represent districts that rank in the top half of those that get federal subsidies, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group. Those losses could have implications for the next farm bill. Mark Maslyn of the American Farm Bureau Federation worries that the Democrats who will join the House committee to fill empty seats may come from more urban and suburban districts and will be more interested in nutrition and environmental issues than farm programs. He’s also concerned that many of the fiscally conservative Republicans in the House could join up with more liberal Democrats to push for cuts in farm subsidies.” Des Moines Register/Greenfields blog

“Even before the outcome of the mid-term elections became clear, progressive reform of federal agriculture policy already faced steep hurdles -- most of them erected by the lobbying power of Big Ag interests. Now those hurdles are higher.” Grist