By Colleen Scherer, managing editor, AgProfessional

Although last Tuesday's election brought a Republican majority to the House of Representatives as Democrats maintained their control of the Senate, the impact of the changes on agricultural policy have yet to be determined. Some opinions already predict that policy will be status quo. However, one significant change could be in free trade agreements.

Before legislators left Washington, D.C., to finish their campaigning, they left unfinished trade deals behind with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. John Boehner, (R-Ohio), it has been reported, is expected to push for the completion of these agreements once he becomes Speaker of the House.

What will be the most interesting to watch will be if the new House Agriculture Committee will put pressure on the EPA to not tighten regulations on farmers and agricultural businesses. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is rumored to be the next Ag Committee chairman. He's already said he intends to spotlight EPA's "overreach" of power, which aimed at tightening regulations on particulate matter rules that would impact farms and livestock operations, and although the farm bill is looming closer, Lucas has said he'll put it on the back burner until closer to the end of 2011.

Some have even speculated that EPA and the Obama administration policies that would have impacted rural America hard, helped turn the mid-term elections toward Republicans.

To see the difference in rural vs. urban voting on one state issue, just look at this map from the Missouri Secretary of State, which highlighted the state's election results on Missouri's Proposition B that will tighten regulations on "puppy mills."

Livestock groups say the measure was supported by HSUS, which they claim is working to pass laws against all animal agriculture statewide. Fifty-one percent of the votes were for the measure and 48 percent were against it. The map reveals how the middle of the state, which is mostly rural comprised the large percentage of the no votes. The urban votes, which mainly comprised the affirmative votes, are clearly defined on the map clustered around Kansas City and St. Louis.

This mid-term election sends the message that rural areas and agriculture still have a strong united vote on many issues, but their lack of numbers remains the number one challenge.

In the meantime, the country will wait to see what the recent changes mean for rural America and its agriculture core. Although changes are not expected to be immediate, many are hopeful heavy regulations will be abated, whether they be from the EPA or from the proposed energy cap and trade legislation.