- Editor's Note -

Where have I heard this before?

By Amanda Huber

Obviously, the biggest news since I last wrote this column was the outcome of the Presidential election and the subsequent runoff election of Senator Chambliss of Georgia. I contemplated what to write and how to sum it all up, and then as fate would have it, the words were just plopped right into my lap. Well, not exactly.
A sister publication to Peanut Grower is Rice Farming, and in the December issue Reece Langley, vice president for government affairs of the USA Rice Federation, had an eloquently written column about the election that summed it up well and put everything into perspective.

Langley wrote,

Imagine a youthful Democrat with rockstar qualities overcoming the odds to capture his party’s nomination and go on to succeed President Bush, whose sky-high popularity had plummeted in an economic downturn. Imagine a Democratic Congress at or near full strength, with 57 Democratic Senators and 258 Democratic Congressmen.

Think of the President as he begins his administration ‘with elaborate promises and high expectations,’ with an ‘ambitious agenda predicated on the premise that the election signaled the voters’ demand for change and that, with the Democrats in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, the era of gridlock is over.’

His policy agenda boldly includes stimulating the economy, a middle-class tax cut and health care reform. All of this is in addition to a loaded agenda that includes a controversial left-over trade deal, efforts by some in Congress to overturn biofuels mandates, pent-up demand for environmental legislation and talk about USDA reorganization.

Welcome to…1993. Now, don’t be hard on yourself if you guessed 2009 because the same thing can be written about next year (although the total number of House Democrats may be off by one if current leads hold in still undecided races).

Interesting, huh? Langley goes on to say, essentially, that President Clinton is not remembered for those policies he really wanted to accomplish and that Obama is not likely to achieve everything on his agenda either. However, the goal of the agriculture industry remains the same – to educate new members of Congress and the new administration about the various agriculture industries and their priorities, which includes ensuring that USDA implements Farm Bill programs according to Congressional intent, that ag is protected in the budget reconciliation process and that trade agreements are beneficial to our industries.

To read Langley’s full column, go to www.ricefarming.com and click on USA Rice Federation under Columns and Departments. It helped me put the election, and the work that’s cut out for the ag industry, into perspective, and it would be well worth your time to read the entire column.