BEEF Daily

What Obama Win Means For Agriculture


Congratulations on a second term, President Obama. Let’s hope we can work together on both sides of the aisle to get things done.

Whether you’re elated or depressed about the election results, the reality is we have re-elected President Obama for a second term, the Democrats have strengthened their hold of the Senate, and the Republicans have maintained their edge in the House. What does this mean for Americans, and what does it mean specifically for cattle ranchers?

Now that the political campaigns have come to an end, our elected leaders in Congress hopefully can get back to work, with passage of a farm bill among the biggest priorities. How can ranchers and farmers plan for the upcoming year if they don’t know where they stand with the farm bill?

Barry Flinchbaugh, Kansas State University professor emeritus of ag economics, recently spoke at the National Agricultural Bankers Conference, and shared a serious message: The tightest presidential election in history will come to an end on election day, but it won't solve serious deadlocks on Capitol Hill.

"It's not economic uncertainty that's driving the economy. It's political uncertainty and political incompetence. We're likely to wake up Wednesday morning and we'll discover the election won't solve it. Republicans will control the House, Democrats will control the Senate, President Obama will have four more years in the White House.”

A report on KXLO Country Radio had more on this topic: “Now Flinchbaugh is chastising wing nuts at both extremes of the political parties for their inability to compromise. He doubts the lame duck Congress will address farm legislation that expired Sept. 30, leaving the dairy program in limbo, livestock producers without disaster relief, and funding nightmares for soil conservation. Authority for food stamp programs ends Dec. 31. Crop insurance is covered by separate legislation, so would continue intact, although critics are demanding cuts in the premium subsidies farmers receive or perhaps restrictions on big farmers.”

Flinchbaugh says: "When Congress had the audacity in the midst of a 60-year drought to adjourn and let the farm bill expire, I told AP that if I was a member of Congress I'd be too embarrassed to go home. What some members of Congress don't seem to realize is that the country reverted to permanent farm legislation on Oct. 1 that has its roots in the 1930s and was last amended in 1949. If Congress doesn't act, 2013 crops will be covered by an ancient, nonrecourse loan program that sets a 50-90% price floor on commodities, indexed to parity prices from 1910 to 1914. That's 100-year-old farm policy. It means wheat prices will be fixed at $18/bu., corn at $12/bu., beans $27/bu., cotton $2/lb. and milk at $52/cwt.

While legislators are deadlocked over funding for food and nutrition programs,farm bills can't pass Congress without urban support, he says. “There are less than 50 ag districts out of 435, so how do you pass a bill without food stamps? It's not rocket science. You've got to build a majority when you're in the minority. The most likely outcome will be for Congress to delay rewriting farm legislation until next April. By then, the administration will be scrambling to finalize regulations in time for the 2013 crop. I'm pleading for horse sense. When someone asked Harry Truman what he meant by that, he defined it as something mules don't have,” Flinchbaugh says.

Congress must get to work and settle their differences for the good of the nation; as farmers and ranchers, we need to demand that they do so.

In addition to lending our voices and influence on the farm bill issue, I think it will be incredibly important to fight the very active regulatory environment of the Obama administration, in order to avoid new rules that would prove burdensome to food producers.

I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, so I think it’s important to look on the bright side. In America, we have the freedom to choose, and we exercised our right to vote on Tuesday. That’s something worth celebrating. And, on the bright side, at least the mudslinging campaign advertisements will cease for a little while.

What are you feelings on the election results? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

By the way, congratulations go to Bev Saunders for her caption in the latest contest. Her entry of “Cowboys and Angels” earned her a $125 Roper Apparel gift certificate. Check out all the entries here! The next contest starts Nov. 19; stay tuned for more details!

Discuss this Blog Entry 24

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I think we have lost our precious freedoms perhaps forever. We need to sit down hard on our senators and especially representatives to do their job and safeguard this nation for us all.

Charlie Kraus (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Barry Flinchbaugh thinks government action is the correct solution to drought. All of his solutions to farm problems require government action. Maybe that's why he doesn't like a congress that passes no farm legislation.

I don't recall a legislator ever asking me what are the problems on my farm. How can a legislator solve my problems if he doesn't know what they are?

Oh. Well.

If congress doesn't act on the Farm Bill or acts badly on the Farm Bill, I'll do what I've always done - solve my own farm problems.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

We were absolutely sick about the election results for president. And....very concerned for our future, all our futures! Romney is no superman...but hopefully he could have begun the process of heading in the right direction. It was and IS time for change!!!

John Saylors (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I think the DOW results yesterday pretty much sum up how a lot of us fell. Gridlock and lack of leadership to make hard decisions will keep us in the same condition for the months to come.

I was glad to see the constitutional amendment in KY pass that give those of us in KY the right to hunt and maintain the animal population through hunting and fishing. What is disturbing is that 15% of the state voted against it. If other states do not get this type of law on their books HSUS, PETA and these other radical groups will for sure try to limit those rights in your state.

Lawren ce Wansing (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

After what the Republicans have done in congress the last 4 years let's hope they see the light and start doing things constructively.After all they used the filibuster rule 328 times to force a super majority vote on major issues that would have jump start this economy just to beat the President. In other words TO HELL WITH AMERICA,we just want to get reelected.

D. A. (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Having freedom to farm as is best for the future of our land and to market our products as is best for our livestock, our customers and ourselves is very important to us, as it is to most farmers and ranchers. Unfortunately, too many of the strongest forces in agriculture are intent upon sowing dissent and misinformation in order to reap big profits. Sometimes we fear the wrong powers, and we truly have nothing to fear save fear itself. For too long, farmers and ranchers have let those who prioritize profit--at the expense of the health of our land, our animals, and our people--pull the proverbial wool over our eyes. It is time for all of us in agriculture, as well as in other segments of our economy, to remind ourselves that we are all connected directly to the soil through the food we eat. We can’t partition good health into the medical industry; health comes from the soil up, not from the pharmacy or laboratory down. Impoverished soil, artificially-fed plants, and overly confined animals have triggered an epidemic of obesity in the U.S. If we don't appropriately care for our soil and for the plants and animals that depend upon our stewardship and husbandry, human health will continue to suffer from a famine of quality in the food we consume. Unsatisfied appetites require more quantities of food. If our priorities are straight, if our methods of food production are sustainable and transparent, and if consumers are educated in the truth, they will come to our defense and demand for the products of our farms and ranches will remain strong. If we examine farming methods that have allowed mankind to survive and thrive for ten thousand years, we won’t keep farming the way we have farmed since World War II.

Alan Verner (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Agriculture seems to be getting less attention with every passing year. We are being taken for granted that we are going to keep producing the best and most bountiful food in the world no matter what Congress does or doesn't do. The statistic you pointed out that only 10% of the congressional districts are weighted agriculturally combined with our being only 1% of the population is something to be concerned about. Most people don't know that all the government food programs are part of the FARM Bill and make up approximately 80% of it the last I heard! No wonder agriculture gets a bad wrap from the consumer when they see those numbers that supposedly go to 'agriculture'. I agree that the communication with Congress and the consumer/taxpayer need to open up. We need more emphasis on product origination and support for 'Grown In The USA' and 'American Family Farms'! Which leads to another important subject, the estate tax repeal or the slow death of the family farm in the US. Now is the time for our Congress and President to step up to the plate and do whats right!

Bob Neese (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

There's nothing I can see that is "half-full" about this glass. The people have support of the status quo, of continued failure, and using every means possible to ensure America eventually hits rock bottom.
I'm entirely prepared for the end and discontinuation of any farm bill, of all subsidies. But the general tone of this piece and comments is that we cannot survive apart from big government's 'benevolent' intervention.
But, not to worry. With foodstamps set to expire at the year's end, a "farm bill" will get done..... because, just imagine.....what would it look like with 50 million hungry people whose foodstamp cards showed a $0 balance?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I feel that the blame for our recent & current situation falls mainly on the shoulders of the Congress. I'd like to see a requirement that in order to run for congressional election - and especially, RE-election - the candidate must have significantly contributed to bringing about something positive and worthwhile for the general public, rather that just sucking up the most funding from greedy special-interest groups in return for favoritism down the road. And maybe they should be paid by the JOB instead of by grant; let their production determine their income! (How about, they must submit an application to an Advisory Board made up of those who know all about income from production - say, perhaps... Farmers???)

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Read between the lines. Mr. O has always talked about the party gridlock ,but he offers them his plans that neither side could possibly agree on. He has caused the public anger so that he can push thru his agenda for the ONE-PARTY SYSTEM !*

G.J. (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I think Charlie Kraus has it right. A good rancher, or any other type of ag producer, knows what works for his animals. overcrowding or overgrazing only hurts you the next year and we as producers know that. So we should be able to do what works without having to worry, and with as little interuption as possible. I understand that regulation is needed but it should be more localized.
And to D. A.,
Some well thought out points about healthcare. Except, You have to realize that quality of food has only gone up. Obesity in our great nation has nothing to do with "overly confined animals" or any of your other examples for that matter. Obesity could be anything from a nationwide trend of overindulgence in food, to less time spent doing physical activities. I pods and x-box are fun and great, but what did kids and parents do before that? They went into the front yard and played catch. I know this is a cliche example, but I cannot stand to hear that as an excuse of obesity.

D. A. (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Quantity of food has indeed gone up since World War II, but not quality. Whether we’re talking about corn, wheat, or beef, the quality of proteins and specific fatty acids in our food supply has generally decreased over the past 150 years as yields and grain consumption and use of artificial fertilizers have increased. It's a known fact that the protein content in a single variety of wheat can vary from 7 to 20 percent, according to the fertility of the land and the growing environment. Our bodies can't squeeze more nutrition from the grain than the grain contains, and neither can the bodies of our animals. Beef that is finished on grass contains more Omega 3 fatty acids and fewer Omega 6 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, improving our nutrient balance. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) helps regulate appetite and control obesity, among its many other benefits. The very best source of CLA is meat and milk from ruminant animals finished on grass. (Researchers discovered the existence of CLA by accident in the late 1980s.) Vitamin E content is higher and beta carotene is higher in ruminant animals finished on pasture grasses. The better the fertility of the soil, the healthier the animal or plant, the higher the nutrient quality of the food, whether it comes from grain or meat. We need high quality soil to produce high nutrient-density food that will satisfy our need for quality protein enough to control obesity. And yes, we also need exercise, which I get by walking across pastures to move portable electric fences so that our cattle can graze fresh grass. To raise cattle this way requires a change of attitude, a paradigm shift. More cattle producers are seeing connections we didn't see before. The shift has typically struck us pretty hard.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 21, 2012

the good news is that corn is a grass, nothing beets mature seeds from grass for quality beef

randy almond (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I for one just hope that with the passing of the next 4 years, the citizens of the U.S. will have had enough of a socialist type government and leadership that have led us astray from all the basic principles our government was established on. Maybe our citizens should return to church and pray for our country it's leadership, it's ability to be a world leader again, for it's citizens to give her the respect we owe her, and for so much morethan just the passing of a farm bill. Which I do feel is important but our government needs to wake and taste the bitterness most of the country is tasting right now.

Neal (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

We in the U.S. are the envy of the world. Our problem isn't politicals it is the voters or the greed of the voter. Voters want their political to bring something home to them and the time has come when there isn't anything left to bring home, except debt! We have almost killed the goose that layed the golden egg but we want more. The voter greed is what will kill this country unless we decide to change.

Keith Evans (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I have a hard time understanding many of these comments. There is fear that the government is too big and too intrusive, and too socialized, combined with the fear that the government won't act to continue to provide generous farm subsidies.

Everyone claims that they want the government to save money and cut wasteful subsidies. However no one wants to lose their government payments. We sometimes sound like the oil companies who need trucks to haul their money to the bank, yet they feel entitled to some $5 billion in government in subsidy payments.

Keith Evans

Neckrein (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

You describe our elected as "Leaders", but they are far from that - they are POLITICIANS.

A leader tells us what we NEED to hear. A politician tells us what we WANT to hear.

The Afordable Care Act does not reform health care - it simply promises every constituent group that SOMEONE ELSE will be paying for THEIR health care.

Fifty-one per cent of Americans have voted to defer responsibility for their own actions, and to cede authority to their government. God help the rest of us!

SD (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Compromise? Really? That's what got us into this mess.

This is how compromise in DC will work: raise taxes now(all of them, not just income taxes) and promise spending cuts in the further (which will never happen). Then in 4 years they (the DC crowd) will say we need more compromise.

Here's an idea: how about only spending what we bring in. No increase in taxes. Then after they (the DC crowd) can prove themselves fiscally trustworthy I will think about compromising.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Farmers and ranchers despise the government and the environmental laws associated when it. but when it comes to government payments they are all for it and complain when they don't arrive in their mailbox.i have in laws who farm and they see no need for government payments. It is your choice to farm or ranch and you should accept the risks not the government.

not farmers without farmbill (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

if there is no farm bill by May will farmers not plant any corn or soybeans?

If there is no farm bill by may will the ranchers keep the bulls lock up and not breed their cows?

on Nov 8, 2012

You can bet the democrats will get the "food stamp" program done. Entitlements is how they have bought the votes that are getting them reelected for the last 50 years of election cycles

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 12, 2012

I hear all this hoot-n-hollerin' about how people on food stamps are what keeps the Dem's/Obama in office. You all have no idea what you are talking about, the food stamp program is not to feed the poor, it's a pass through subsidy to Kraft Foods, Cargill, and all the major food processors. The poor food stampers do not vote in nearly the same numbers as the middle class. The food processors have all the money, they lobby for the food stamp extension because it's worth billions to them. All of you have your head where the sun don't shine if you think poor people have any say in our government, yet alone elect the president. Our credit was downgraded by some KY senator who said his only job was to make Obama a one term president. The Congress is what's destroying our country, not the president.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 13, 2012

I find it amazing how ignorant our whole society is. We all think we know the solutions for everyone else. One person believe that the reason for obesity is the way we are producing our food, but does not take into consideration that more people are being feed. If your hungry, you might appreciate the fact that you have something to eat. Remember here several years ago the food pyramid was all FACT. But as we have learned, carbs are what are fattening(they are broke down into sugars). Also if the federal government does not quite taking up lands that are used for grazing, there will be less and less chance for us to produce food on otherwise non-productive ground. I believe that regulations, if needed, should come from our local governments. Those who receive 20 inches of moisture a year can not possible understand the hardships of those who receive 5 inches or those who seldom freeze compared to those who freeze 6 or 7 months out of the year and vice versa. We need to learn to depend upon ourselves rather than look to the government to put us all in the same box and still fail to take care of anyone. Its time to look inward and take pride in what we produce and do the best job we can.

Farmkid 73 (not verified)
on Dec 4, 2012

Congress needs to decide they have some serious work to do before the year end. Maybe they should take a farmer/rancher way of life for a few holidays, ie. if the farming and animals are not done there will be no vacation THIS YEAR!!
Or perhaps, they would like to move the Food Stamp program from the AG Budget to their Salaries Budget!

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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