WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2016 - Donald Trump is now president-elect, after Hillary Clinton conceded the race early this morning. Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress. 

Trump declared victory shortly before 3 a.m. in New York. He pledging to unify the country and follow through on promises to boost economic growth, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and put millions of Americans back to work. He said he would seek “partnership, not conflict” with other countries.

Trump’s win was in large part to big GOP margins he rolled up yesterday in rural areas from Pennsylvania to Iowa. And his victory virtually ensures that some major parts of the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda are headed for the dust bin, including the “waters of the United States” rule, which Trump has promised to scrap. 

A bigger question is what will happen to U.S. trade policy.  Agriculture groups have been holding out hope that Congress would take up the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the upcoming lame duck session. But the chances of that would appear to be nil, given that Trump made opposition to the TPP a critical feature of his successful appeal to voters in the Rust Belt.

Vilsack: Democrats struggled to reach displaced workers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in New York last night to join Hillary Clinton for a victory party that didn’t materialize.

In an interview with Agri-Pulse early in the evening, Vilsack expressed hope that Clinton would win both Iowa and Ohio, two states in which he had spent the past week campaigning for Clinton.

But Vilsack acknowledged that Democrats had trouble connecting with voters in the Rust Belt who struggled to deal with what he called an “economy in transition.” “We are now in a different time and different world, and we have to move from an extraction economy to a sustainable one,” he said. 

For more on the election results and the impact on agriculture policy, read this week’s Agri-Pulse newsletter.

Roberts stays as Senate Ag chairman. The final margin in the Senate will hinges on the outcome of the race in New Hampshire and a runoff in Louisiana. But Republicans retain control of the chamber, and that means that Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts will get a chance to write another farm bill, this time as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

Roberts, who became chairman of the Senate committee in 2015, authored the 1996 farm bill as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Ag appropriators survive. In some races of note for agriculture, incumbent GOP Sen. Roy Blunt won re-election in Missouri. Blunt is a member of the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee, which controls the USDA and FDA budgets. 

In House races, agricultural appropriator David Young won election in Iowa and Roger Marshall won election in Kansas’ heavily agricultural First District. Marshall unseated Tim Huelskamp in the GOP primary.

In Kentucky, former state agriculture commissioner James Comer won election to a seat being vacated by Ed Whitfield. 

Massachusetts votes to ban livestock confinement. Voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that would ban confinement of farm animals. The ban applies to products brought into the state as well as foods produced in Massachusetts. 

Some late spending by the National Pork Producers Council and the advocacy group Protect the Harvest appeared to have little impact on the outcome. 

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, says the public  “has no tolerance for extreme confinement of farm animals.”

Lawmakers ask court to stop WOTUS. Some 21 senators and 67 House members are asking an appeals court to kill the WOTUS rule, although Trump’s victory will make the legal challenge moot if he follows through on his promise to kill the measure. 

The lawmakers who signed a 44-page brief filed with the 6th U.S. Court of appeals include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; and several House committee chairmen, including Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas. The top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, also signed the brief. 

The lawmakers say that the rule encroaches on traditional state authority over land use and water quantity in violation of the Clean Water Act. The brief argues that the law was “intended to regulate water pollution, not the flow of water and not wildlife habitat.” 

Argentina tax action leaves uncertainty on soybeans. USDA analysts are struggling to tell how soybean production in Argentina is going to be affected by the government’s decision to delay a reduction in export taxes. The government also is offering a 5 percent export rebate to the country’s northern province. 

But experts with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service say their sources are divided over whether the refunds will be enough to encourage farmers to increase soybean plantings. One line of thought is that many farmers will simply pocket the tax refund to cover their transportation and pest control costs. USDA is currently estimating that Argentina will produce 55 million metric tons for the 2016-2017 crop year. That’s off from nearly 61 million metric tons two years ago. 

Argentine President Mauricio Macri took office last year pledging to repeal the export taxes as a way to boost agricultural production. 

He said it. “Ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement.” - President-elect Donald Trump


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