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Demoblicans and farmers should start to be bestest buddies - if the Buckeye State finally ousts Republocrats they seem to support in the past. This summer many farm fields were tall with corn, like riding through a tunnel. Tell me they aren't betting on an ethanol boom, justified or not, they grow it, Demoblicans will use tax-payer funds to use it, if elected of course.

All electric USA is far cheaper & Cleaner. But no one lobbies for electric, at least not like hoards of Bucky farmers with John Mellencamp tugging at our heart strings of the family farm.

Ethanol producers could see an already-bright demand outlook turn a shade friendlier if Democrats win control of one or both houses of Congress this fall.

If Democrats take control of either the House or Senate, southern Republicans would be replaced by Corn Belt Democrats at the helm of the powerful agriculture committees.

"Farm-state congressmen are like a party unto themselves, by which I mean that most farm-state Democrats and Republicans agree on an awful lot more than they disagree when it comes to ag policy, and they are a very powerful voting bloc," said Gregory Conko, director of food safety policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

The rise of Rep. Collin Peterson, Democrat from Minnesota, to the helm of the House Agriculture Committee or Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin to the chair of the Senate farm panel would be a "moderate positive" for a largely corn-based industry that already enjoys strong support from lawmakers of both parties and the White House, said Mark McMinimy, an analyst with Stanford Washington Research Group.

The House panel is now chaired by Robert Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, while the Senate committee is run by Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

"You're putting people in key positions who would be supportive of the ethanol industry's agenda. Put it this way, even more supportive than in the 109th Congress -- and that was relatively supportive ... A good situation gets better for ethanol is the way I see it," McMinimy said.
Under the 2005 energy bill, the federal biofuel mandate -- the amount of biofuel that the government requires processors and refiners to use annually -- is already set to rise from the current 4 billion gallons to 7.5 billion by 2012. Meanwhile, environmental and farm-state lawmakers are pushing to double the level to 15 billion over the same time frame.

This summer's spike in gasoline prices contributed to a frenzy in ethanol-related investments. Construction on 44 plants that will process the fuel alternative is underway in the United States, promising to bring the total number of plants to 149. Analysts have warned that the potential for ethanol oversupply and a sustained drop in oil prices could undercut ethanol producers in the future. See full story.

Efforts to further boost ethanol production would likely mark an area in which a Democratic Congress and the White House would be likely to overcome partisan differences, McMinimy said.

Farm bill revisited
A biofuels initiative could be part of the rewrite of the 2002 farm law scheduled for next year. Top farm lawmakers, including Peterson, have already signaled that a continuation of current crop subsidy programs is likely to garner wide support.

Democrats would likely put additional emphasis on more environmentally friendly policies, such as seeking to expand the Conservation Security Program that was part of the 2002 farm bill, Conko said.

Also, Democratic lawmakers would be more likely to implement country-of-origin labeling for meat products, analysts say. The measure, required under the 2002 farm bill, has split cattle producers and is fiercely opposed by the meat-packing industry and retailers, who argue the measures would be too expensive.

Congress voted last year to delay mandatory labeling of red meat until 2008.

Trade advocates argue that labeling would undercut U.S. efforts to open foreign markets to U.S.-produced goods. Proponents say consumers prefer U.S.-grown products and that the measure would make domestically-produced meat easier to identify.

"It seems like it would be an enhanced possibility that the house would fix some kind of date certain for implementing country of origin labeling," McMinimy said.
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