Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. After a hard fought battle, America now knows who will be in the oval office for the next four years. A decisive win for the President overall, but in rural parts of America...county after county voted for the challenger rather than the incumbent. So what does that mean for voters who don't live in urban areas? I asked Chuck Conner, President of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and a member of Mitt Romney’s agriculture advisory committee. Democrats retained control of the Senate and Republicans kept their house majority. Focusing on the AG sector, Senate AG committee chair Debbie Stabenow will return for another 6 year term. The Michigan Democrat won with about 58% of the vote, 19 points ahead of her closest rival. Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas - who chairs the House AG Committee - will remain in office for another 2 years. He garnered at least three quarters of the districts' vote. Also on the house AG committee - Iowa Congressman Steve King will head back to Washington for a 6th term. He represents Iowa’s 4th district. King received about 55% of the vote. He defeated Democrat Christie Vilsack who is the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
When Congress returns to work next Tuesday, some of the attention will focus on the unfinished Farm Bill. As the measure stands right now there are great divides between the Senate version - which is controlled by Democrats, and the House version - controlled by Republicans. One of the biggest sticking points is how much to cut from the food stamp program. AgDay talked with Roger Bernard, who is a Washington policy analyst for Informa Economics. Bernard says there is a chance that a Farm Bill could be finished in the lame duck session, but those odds are remote.
Three state ballot initiatives of particular interest to agriculture have been defeated.
NORTH DAKOTA CRUELTY:
In North Dakota, voters handily rejected a measure Tuesday that would have created a felony penalty for malicious cruelty to a dog, cat or horse. The measure was being defeated 67% to 33%. Opponents of the measure say it was an attempt of animal rights groups to go after livestock producers.
ARIZONA LAND VOTE:
In Arizona voters chose--2 to 1-- to leave control of federal land in the hands of D.C. Proposition 120 asked whether millions of acres of federal land including the Grand Canyon should officially become the property of Arizona residents. In Arizona federal land makes up about 40% of the state. Voters voted against prop 120 leaving the current system in place.