Commodity Classic has kicked off in Anaheim, California - hosting thousands of producers from the corn, wheat, soybean and sorghum sectors of agriculture. It is not only an opportunity for farmers to learn more about new technologies improving their industry - but also a way to hear from experts about what may affect them in and out of the field this growing season.
Jim Wiesemeyer is one of those experts from Informa Economics. He told producers that in this election year - things may get very interesting in Washington. Wiesemeyer sees a “you have a throw the bums out” mentality through out the country, and what’s different this time is that it including “my own lawmaker”. Not all, but more than a few, and that means that any incumbent, especially in the house is vulnerable and they know that right now.
That’s why you’re see this nervousness, and that’s why you’re seeing this visceral atmosphere between the parties…they don’t want to make a mistake. One of the Senators targeted is Senate Ag Chair Blanche Lincoln. But Wiesemeyer says he believes her type is what Washington needs more of. Lincoln has the ability, in the gut, to go against her party when she thinks she should.
She’s very good for ag because she’s an equitable person, she knows about the inter-relationships between livestock markets and grain markets, she’s big on energy policies, etc. But, right now Lincoln is about 18 to 20 points behind in the polls, and agriculture would loose a good person if she’s not reelected.
As for Wiesemeyer’s thoughts on USDA; Wiesemeyer says it’s the most unusual USDA in his 32 years of covering this business in Washington. Wiesemeyer goes on to say that Vilsack is a nice guy, he’s articulate, he’s just taking USDA in a different direction. There are three major issues that he’s taking on, sustainable agriculture, whatever that is, organic agriculture, and local farmers’ markets.
All of those are interesting, they’re important, but there’s not production agriculture in there, and Wiesemeyer thinks that’s what a lot of producers are starting to sense, “what about me? Am I being left behind here?” Wiesemeyer says to be fair - Vilsack does take his cues from the Obama Administration and particularly First Lady Michelle Obama as far as organic agriculture is concerned.