Change means new faces in key places

Dave Bergmeier

As of Jan. 20, a new face is now at 1600 Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C.

Congress will also have new leadership in committee chairs that directly impact farmers and ranchers. What we all will learn from President Joe Biden and those committee chairs will be known soon but its impact will not be known for a while.

Much work lies ahead in the High Plains and in the nation’s Capitol. Whether producers are getting ready to care for young calves or plant crops, much of the worry from farmers and ranchers centers on what changes will directly affect their bottom line, a rightful concern.

Commodity and farm organizations are going to be critical in making sure policies will foster opportunity as they already anticipate what will be a long list of questions. Questions will include:

• Will crop insurance continue be an integral part of what a producer can plan on?

• Will the ethanol industry receive the right direction it needs as it helps to lower greenhouse emissions?

• Will climate change policy, a focus of the new administration, also provide new opportunity for all producers, not just a select few?

• Will future generations have to deal with a staggering federal debt in a way that will make it difficult to enter the industry?

• Will China uphold its end of a trade agreement to purchase farm commodities as sought by President Donald Trump?

• Will China continue to be held accountable for intellectual properties that continue to plague many companies that try to do business there?

• Will lingering market concentration issues, whether from the input or output side of the agriculture industry, be at the forefront of regulators?

• Will hard-fought wins on tax policy that directly impact the ability for one generation to transfer the operation to the next stay in place?

Producers have many questions in these uncertain times. It will be incumbent upon them to reach out to their organizations that can help them and to elected officials and their staff, who can listen and write down concerns.

The next few years are likely to be a continuation of what we already know—many unknowns can quickly cloud what might have been an “easy to read” crystal ball—and that means it is going to require an ability to share concerns.

At High Plains Journal we’ll do our best to help producers to stay informed about myriad topics that in a global economy can change their bottom lines. Much of the focus on the Jan. 20 inauguration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be on what they want to accomplish. They must make sure that the farmers and ranchers are seated at the table, too, because they recognize that without food security there will be only be global insecurity and turmoil.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].