POLITICO – RYAN MCCRIMMON –
IN THE HOPPER: The farm bill is on track for a lame-duck finale, says the (likely) incoming House Agriculture chairman. After the farm bill gets done (and it seems like it’ll be a big “if” until it actually passes), Rep. Collin Peterson says House Democrats will eye stepped-up oversight of USDA next year, as we previewed in our Election night coverage.
— Didn’t get enough of the midterms? MA has all the late-breaking House and Senate farm-state results (and recounts!) that rolled in Wednesday.
— Republicans romped to victory in state agricultural commissioner races in Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota and Texas, but Florida’s contest is likely headed to extra innings.
— Health advocates are licking their wounds after Washington voters approved a state ballot initiative to stymie new soda taxes. Oregon voters took the opposite tack, foiling beverage makers, who dreamed of forming a West Coast wall against new taxes on sugary beverages.
PETERSON, THE FARM BILL AND 2019: Farmers and ranchers can look forward to a final farm bill before the end of the year, the current House Agriculture ranking member told reporters Wednesday, saying that farm bill negotiators are getting “relatively close” — whatever that means — to an agreement for a final measure that Congress can pass during the lame-duck session.
— Ag industry groups fear that starting the farm bill process anew in 2019, with Democrats controlling the House, would mean a flurry of amendments contrary to industry’s interests, like stricter subsidy limits and checkoff changes, writes Pro Ag’s Helena Bottemiller Evich.
The commodity title is still not settled, but a handful of options are on the table for negotiators to consider, Helena reports.
On the nutrition title, Trump made what amounted to a potential threat to veto a farm bill lacking stricter work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients.
“We could have a very fast [bill] without the work rules, but we want the work rules in,” Trump said during a post-election press conference that lasted almost 90 minutes.
Oversight areas: Democrats could scrutinize Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plans to relocate the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, other USDA efforts and, potentially, checkoff controversy, Peterson said.