Even with changes in one or both houses of Congress, bipartisanship will remain crucial for agriculture as farmers and their associations look toward 2007 and the beginnings of what may be a tough farm bill debate.

And agriculture, possibly as no other industry, expects change.

“There's a constant in politics, and that's change” says Roger Haldenby, vice president of Operations for Plains Cotton Growers Inc., the producer representative organization for “the largest cotton patch in the world” covering 41 counties in West Texas.

Haldenby says cooperation between parties made the mostly farmer-friendly farm legislation of 2002 possible and sees no reason why recent changes in leadership should change that format.

“The changes taking place in Washington as a result of the recent elections simply reinforce the constant need to work with both sides of the aisle when it comes to developing and implementing good, sound agricultural policy for our country,” he says.

“The changes in leadership roles don't alter the constancy of the members of Congress who fill those roles. Agriculture always has been, and will remain a bipartisan policy issue. It takes both sides working together for the greater good to pass legislation. We're confident this strong bipartisan leadership will shine through in the 110th Congress.”

e-mail: rsmith@farmpress.com