Conklin said Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas, the likely chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has indicated he prefers to wait until 2012 to begin farm bill discussions.

Cap and trade legislation, Conklin said, is likely dead, but the EPA “will play a larger role in ag policy.” The Department of Energy may also be a bigger player. Farms and ranches, which have been considered “non-point source” pollution sites, may become point-source sites.

He’s encouraged that “a lot of groups are beginning to focus on finding market-based solutions to environmental problems. Some are looking for a more flexible approach to regulations. That’s a positive approach.”

Conklin said agriculture, food and rural policy likely will continue to see a sluggish overall economy and high unemployment, budget pressures, high commodity prices and rising food costs and a “broader range of stakeholders for the farm bill.”