Attendees at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Cattlemen’s College went through a myriad of "what if" questions during the morning session on environmental and policy outlook.
Washington financial issues, emerging oversee markets, and residual policy issues are on the forefront, said Roger Bernard, policy analyst with InformaEconomics. And it is unlikely that a farm bill is brought to the forefront until mid-May to July—or until fiscal issues are resolved.
Unanswered environmental questions remain. Bernard said that former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson admitted after resigning her post a that one regret she had was a lack of cohesiveness from the agency to farmers nationwide. "Remember, people drive policy," Bernard says. "If we get someone in there with a similar mindset that could spell more challenges for U.S. farmers."
On the legislative side, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has pledged that there will not be action on dust or child labor regulations, Bernard says. However, the door is wide open for executive orders from President Obama.
EPA has also indicated a willingness to use their authority under the Clean Air Act, setting the stage for action when a new administrator is named.