| Picture from the Wall Street Journal with a link:
Record prices and crop-insurance payouts offset a disappointing harvest for crop farmers. Livestock producers faced tougher conditions, as drought shriveled pastureland and surging feed costs and weaker prices hit the pork and dairy industries hard.
Drought is shifting from east to west as dryness eases in parts of the Midwest and worsens in the Great Plains. Forecasters see drought through the winter in much of the middle of the US. Lack of precipitation in coming months would mean cropland won't recharge with moisture ahead of spring planting. Ranchers would face a renewed struggle to find water and grazing land for livestock.
| Senator Cochran is now the Ranking Member of the Senate Ag Committee, after Senator Pat Roberts (R. Kansas) nominated Cochran. This is a good move for Southern agriculture who had little representation during the writing of the Farm Bill. We hope that the South's concerns are better addressed moving forward with the Farm Bill process.
| House members mourned the loss of their colleague and friend Rep. David Gibbs (D-West Point) who died on January 13. Rep. Gibbs began serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1993 and was remembered by many for his quiet leadership. He served as a member of the Agriculture, Appropriations, County Affairs, Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) and Youth and Family Affairs Committees. Governor Phil Bryant has 30 days from the vacancy to set a date for the special election to fill Gibbs’ District 36 (Clay, Lowndes and Monroe Counties) seat. At least 40 days notice of the election must be provided, with the qualifying deadline being 30 days before the day of the election.