Last week Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran replaced Kansas Senator Pat Roberts as the ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee.
Purdue University Ag Economist Otto Doering says that power shift changes the dynamic when it comes to future of farm bill discussions.
"The southern crops, rice particularly, really want to keep the direct payments," he says. "The direct payments were essentially eliminated in both the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill."
So what does that mean for agriculture?
Doering says, "We may see a real formatting of the bill in terms of how the actual commodity programs might go and whether it ends up in the insurance title or the commodity title."
He says the goal was to have the Farm Bill completed prior to the New Year to maintain programs at their prior levels.
Now, Doering notes, farm programs will be subject to sweeping budget cuts.