The argument could be made that political gamesmanship, partisan bias, and ideological differences have characterized the environment that the beef industry has operated in for over a decade. These factors will only increase in their importance prior to the election, and perhaps beyond it.
Every policy, every action, and every issue will sadly have to be viewed through the political prism that will be shaping them. The agricultural industry has traditionally benefitted from a lack of the partisan wrangling; the farm lobby and the farm coalition did not divide itself along political lines, as they saw the necessity of working together. One could say that agricultural policy, while still often terribly flawed, was the last bastion of statesmanship. It was a place where agricultural interests worked together for the common good, regardless of party lines or political considerations.
But that fell apart with the more divisive nature that took over the Washington Beltway, and with programs like ethanol which began to pit various agricultural segments against each other. Plus, we’ve had more and more outside groups moving to try to influence ag policy.
With that said, most people expect that ag policy will be a major focus of all the political posturing and wrangling to come over the next several months. While the focus will be on much broader ideological differences, the battles will trickle down into every component of policy.
This is only significant in that it usually means agriculture will have less and less influence in the policies that affect us. You’ll hear frustration that, while agricultural plays a pivotal role in driving the economy and in providing national security, our role in feeding a growing world will be minimized. Those are legitimate expressions, but if we aren’t being talked about much in the pre-election rhetoric, it also means that hopefully they won’t be messing with us much, either.