Pending election results and what it means for U.S. agriculture

Anyone who follows politics knows election nights can be long, and the following mornings rather early.

The 2020 U.S. Presidential election has been no different. As of Wednesday morning, it still could be anyone’s game south of the border.

Jim Wiesemeyer of Pro Farmer joins Shaun Haney for some insight into the election. Wiesemeyer says that on the house side, it seems the Republicans will gain some house seats.

Wiesemeyer foresees some recounting of ballots, contesting the results, and possibly some court battles ahead. But, the biggest impact of last night’s election results? Collin Peterson from Minnesota, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, is out. The rural vote has been important for Republicans, and it looks to have increased in importance.

As of yet, ballots are still being counted, and projecting the winner isn’t a safe bet, as it’s too close to call. To make the line even greyer, the ballot handling system is different from state to state. It begs the question, does that part of the system need to be re-evaluated? Wiesemeyer says yes.

“That’s the law, but I do think that should be reviewed, especially now that we’ve had an avalanche of either voting early, absentee ballots, or mail-in ballots,” says Wiesemeyer. “Some of these northern purist states were not ready for that — it was the usual thing in some southern states and we saw how many dealt with that better.”

If Biden does find the path to victory — with the Democrats having the house and a Republican Senate — the House Agriculture Committee focus could change more to food nutrition issues and food safety, which is a major shift from its current focus. Previous Chairman Collin Peterson was able to appeal to both crowds, which as we know, isn’t an easy task to do.

“There is a push by some farm-state lawmakers and some commodity group lobbyists that are urging the Biden group — if he is the next president — to pick Collin as the USDA Agriculture secretary,” says Wiesemeyer. Many speculate this would be good news for production agriculture, but there’s still many decisions (and ballots counted) that need to happen before we can look too far down that road.

Watch the full interview for Wiesemeyer’s insights into how the remaining states will change the overall outcomes and how the house, senate, and presidential changes (or no change) will affect U.S. agriculture.

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