The 2020 Election and Agriculture
While the coming election will determine the Presidency, control of the Senate and the Agriculture Committees in the House and Senate will also be determined. The change in leadership that takes place will affect the policy agenda, including trade, anti-trust, energy and environmental issues in the near-term and how the next farm bill is developed over the longer-term. The 2018 farm bill is effective for the 2018 through 2023 crops, expiring on September 30, 2023.
Democrats are expected to retain the majority in the House, but Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (MN) is locked in a tight re-election fight in a district that President Trump won handily in 2016. It Peterson loses, the next chair (in order of seniority) could either be Representatives David Scott (GA), Jim Costa (CA) or Marcia Fudge (OH). Ranking Member Mike Conaway (TX) is also retiring; and the next three members in line are Representatives Glenn Thompson (PA), Austin Scott (GA), and Rick Crawford (AK).
On the Senate side, Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (KS) is retiring, and the next in line on the Republican side is Senator John Boozman (AR). However, control of the Senate is very much up for grabs on election day, and if the Democrats win the majority, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (MI) is expected to become the Chair of the Committee.
Regardless of the election results Congress and the current leaders will return for a lame duck session with the potential of another COVID response package and completion of the FY21 Appropriations bills on the to-do list. The election outcomes will impact the lame duck negotiating posture and leverage for Democrats and Republicans with a range of outcomes that won’t come into focus until after election day.