Sam R. Hall: Farm bill likely delaying Cochran announcement

As everyone awaits an announcement from U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, the word in various political circles is increasingly that the elder statesman will retire.

While several people are anxious for him to make a decision, it seems Cochran may end up doing what he’s done for most of his career — putting the needs of Mississippi ahead of political desires.

Cochran’s primary focus right now is the farm bill, which is of great import to Mississippi. Not only do farm subsidies play a large role in the agricultural economy of the state, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) impacts some 664,000 low-income Mississippians.

Cochran is one of four lead negotiators — two from the Senate, two from the House — who will write the compromise farm bill. For Cochran, negotiating another five-year farm bill would be a significant and suitable final act.

In holding off a decision — or announcement, Cochran is ensuring he will not be negotiating as a lame-duck senator.

Clarion Ledger