The 112th Congress is expected to see many new faces when it convenes next January. Many new members will not understand agriculture and some could be called upon to help write the next Farm Bill. Mark Maslyn, executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says AFBF is looking forward to working with new members to help them better understand one of the nation's most vital industries.
However before the next Congress gets started, this Congress has work remaining to be finished in a lame duck session. Tax issues and a permanent spending bill are on the agenda for November and December, but Maslyn says if there is a big change from the election he doesn't expect to see much happen beyond the must pass bills.
The most important work facing the new Congress is the next Farm Bill. Maslyn says Farm Bureau will work with ag committee members to help them understand the role of farm programs and develop a bill that provides an effective and responsive safety net for producers across the country. On the trade front, Maslyn says they are hopeful the new Congress will change the outlook of trade opportunities.
"We hope the new Congress will take a fresh approach to free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and Korea, which have been pending in Congress for several years," Maslyn said. "This year alone, more than 600 bilateral and regional trade agreements will have been negotiated around the world. The U.S. will share in less than 20 of these trade deals."