By Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block.
As I write this week’s commentary, we still don’t have all the details of the election results. Here is what we do know. Republicans will maintain control of the Senate. That is a big deal. Even if Biden does push President Trump out, it will be by a very small margin. And Biden will have to deal with a Republican-controlled Senate. The election numbers are a shock to the Democratic party. The polls predicted a landslide victory for them. Didn’t happen. Now we will wait and see where we go from here.
There are some other things going on even though they don’t measure up to the election. President Trump took grey wolves off the list of endangered species. The states will now be handed responsibility of managing some 6,000 wolves. Most of the wolves live in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. There are 1,800 grey wolves in other western states. Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt reminds us – “After more than 45 years as a listed species, the grey wolf has exceeded all conservation goals for recovery.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is delighted. Our ranchers can kill these wolves that have been killing our baby calves. These wolves have been killing our sheep and lambs also. After all of these years, at last our farmers and ranchers have government support. I can see no value in protecting these wolves. But you can be sure some conservation groups will take this to Court.
Another issue – with a politically divided Congress we will be in a better position to block extreme legislation that the left wants to pass. Senator Grassley warns that farm groups need to push back against a Senate bill that would ban gas powered cars after 2035. “It is an extreme government overreach.” University of Tennessee says that would result in a $27 billion drop in farm income. We have been hearing some criticism about U.S. farm subsidies. Here are some facts – world ag subsidies exceed $700 billion. Because of the trade war and coronavirus our numbers have jumped up. Still South Korea, Japan, China and EU pay out more as a percent of their farm revenue. Unfortunately, poor countries don’t have the money to support their farms.
John Block served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. John hosts a weekly radio show going back more than 20 years. The commentary and opinions shared are a summary of the discussion from the broadcast and not a reflection of the opinions of the firm at large. For more from John Block Reports from Washington visit www.johnblockreports.com.