Other items Congress may attempt to address before leaving for campaigning include the small business tax legislation that has languished for months as well as a new set of small business tax incentives meant to buoy the sagging economic recovery.

Congress may also attempt reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense authorization bill.

In addition, reports indicate that there could be some activity on food-safety legislation, but that may be too late for a successful effort at least at this point.

And, as already mentioned, something has to be done about all the unfinished appropriations bills that have to be passed each year, with the most likely scenario being a simple extension of existing law.

But, perhaps, the most interesting tidbits about the 111th Congress are the legislative issues that have ultimately fallen flat under their own weight, but which have, in no small part, figured into the collective anxiety that has been felt in farm country over the past couple of years. The infamous “cap and trade” bill, the Clean Water Restoration Act, and chemical security legislation are just a few of the legislative items that were on tap — and that all look good to the naked eye — until you read the fine print and recognize the terrible bureaucratic overreach and the crippling impacts on jobs and the economy.

It is fortunate for U.S. agriculture that like-minded Republicans and Democrats, such as Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Lincoln, have quelled many of these issues that would have severely harmed farmers’ ability to compete in the world market.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to grapple with how to keep the promise to Lincoln on disaster aid made by the White House. Despite the hubbub about the lack of funding or authority, some level of relief still appears to be a matter of when, rather than if.

The 111th Congress has been a wild ride, with lots of steep ups and downs, sharp curves, falling rocks, and more than a few cliffs. But, the proverbial other side of the mountain is near and the sun’s breaking. Hopefully, there will be some time to bask in it before the ride begins anew early next year.