In case you're keeping score, and it appears you may not be able to tell the players without a program, the Republican list of presidential candidates is changing shape, or shaping up, depending on your perspective.
Late last week Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels walked away from the idea of running for president, citing family needs. Daniels has been a top prospect, even courted by the Bush's according to some sources, yet he won't try to be on the 2012 ticket.
A long list of big names has also already bowed out including Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Rep. Mike Pence and Sen. John Thune. There are some potential candidates being urged to run by different sectors of the party including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who canceled a federal rail program as part of his cuts to state spending), Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Monday, Tim Pawlenty will officially announce his candidacy for president. Pawlenty - or T-Paw as he might want to be called - made an unofficial announcement by video on his website Sunday. Pawlenty, who wrapped up two terms as Minnesota governor has been eyeing a run for president for some time. He was passed over as vice president in John McCain's run in 2008.
Other candidates with their hats already in the ring include Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
How these candidates will view farm spending and the role of agriculture in their administrations is yet to be seen, but in the coming months we'll be working to firm up their positions on trade, ag policy and the role of USDA. Given the spending pressures facing all candidates, there will be continued pressure to cut farm spending - although the successful presidential candidate will probably be locked into a farm bill before the 2012 election is held (at least that's what House and Senate leaders are aiming for right now).
As spring turns to summer in 2011, the race for president in 2012 will get hot as well. We'll keep you posted.