Thankfully, Tom Philpott of Grist explained everything to me. As with the general election (yay Patty Murray!), the major changes in the agricultural committee make-up have come in the House and not the Senate. However, as Philpott emphasizes, it's not in the party, it's in the geography. It matters what the congressperson did prior - industrial livestock vs. small-scale fruits and veggies, etc. As such, it looks like support within these committees is headed towards bolstering trade or relaxing regulatory standards (particularly environmental standards from the EPA) that favor big biz. For those of us less-than-excited about industrial agriculture, this is quite the let-down election.
In light of the new-ish direction our agriculture might tend towards, another article on Grist about Marion Nestle struck a strong chord. She discusses our rampant obesity problem and the role industrial agriculture and the food industry as a whole play in growing our waistlines. With swaths of lands in monocrops of soy, corn, and wheat and big bucks spent on marketing the processed results of these crops, food has turned into another consumer product. And there are plenty of books out there to read on this issue - from Nestle herself, to Pollan and others.
With that fair friends, I will close for the night. Next Monday/Sunday night, be on the lookout for the theme of week two and a fun produce item of the week!