FarmPolicy

February 24, 2019

Farm Bill: Senate Debate Taking Shape

Reuters writer Thomas Atkins reported this morning that, “WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy on Saturday said a global trade deal was now within reach but political leaders needed to give a ‘final push’ to complete the current round of negotiations…Lamy warned that the consequences of failure could be dire, saying protectionism historically had paved the way to war, and that poor countries would feel slighted if the industrialized world continued to enjoy favor under the existing trade regime.”

I. Farm Bill
II. Payment Limits
III. Doha

I. Farm Bill

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “The new U.S. farm law should guarantee disaster aid to ranchers and growers and not meddle with the current system of crop subsidies, in the view of some Senate Agriculture Committee members, aides said on Friday.

“Those are somewhat different priorities than presented by the committee chairman, Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat. Harkin has suggested that grain, cotton and soybean subsidies be refashioned to protect farmer revenue to a degree.

“Senators such as Democrats Max Baucus of Montana and Kent Conrad of North Dakota say an ever-ready disaster relief program must be part of farm law, rather than rely on lawmakers to approve assistance when catastrophes strike.”

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President Bush Offers “Flexibility,” But No Specifics on Doha

Categories: Doha / Trade /Farm Bill

Congressional Quarterly writer Catharine Richert reported yesterday that, “Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus says he’s working on a package of spending offsets that could add billions of dollars to the farm bill’s bottom line — but with strings attached…Aides say Baucus, D-Mont., would probably dictate exactly where the new money should be spent, including on a disaster relief fund that could cost about $5 billion according to some estimates.”

I. Doha
II. Farm Bill

I. Doha

Michael A. Fletcher reported in today’s Washington Post that, “President Bush on Friday called on Pacific Rim leaders to support efforts to expand free trade, saying that open markets are a crucial element in strengthening the ‘forces of freedom and prosperity.’

Flanked by Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard, left, and Mark Johnson, Chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council, President George W. Bush delivers remarks Friday, Sept. 7, 2007, to the APEC Business Summit at the Sydney Opera House. President Bush told his audience, “America’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region was forged in war and sealed in peace… America is committed to the security of the Asia Pacific region, and that commitment is unshakable.” White House photo by Eric Draper (via The White House Webpage).

“Speaking to business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum at the famed Sydney Opera House, Bush said free trade is the only route to long-term freedom and growth, despite the short-term pain it often causes in industrialized nations in terms of lost jobs and stagnant wages.”

(The full text of President Bush’s speech can be viewed here).

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President Bush: “We'll show flexibility when it comes to making sure this round is as successful as possible”

Associated Press writer Nate Jenkins reported yesterday that, “Ethanol producers have friendly government policies to thank for the current boom in the corn-based alternative fuel and will need more help from Washington to keep from going belly up in a few years, says a new study…Without a federally mandated increase in ethanol consumption, small plants could stop being profitable by 2011 and be operating in the red in 2013, according to the study by David Peters, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.”

I. Doha
II. Farm Bill
III. Biofuels
IV. Wheat- Acreage
V. EU Update

I. Doha

Tim Colebatch, writing today at The Age Online (Australia) reported that, “The Doha Round trade talks may have one foot in the grave but the other is trying to drag its way to the finish line.

“US President George Bush yesterday hinted at a shift in the US position, while the man in charge of the talks told APEC trade ministers he was optimistic that victory was near.

“World Trade Organisation director Pascal Lamy, who is in Sydney to urge leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum to dig deep and make the concessions needed to get the round completed, told ministers that negotiators were closer to agreement than people realised, and the round could be completed within months.”

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EU: CAP Overview, Food Prices, “Agriturismo,” & Other Diverse Issues

Categories: EU

CAP Overview

Jack Thurston, writing earlier this week at The CAP Health Check Blog, noted that, “The new issue of Food Ethics magazine is devoted to a discussion of CAP [The Common Agricultural Policy] reform and the 2008 CAP Health Check. Alongside articles by CAP Health Check blogger Wyn Grant and me, you’ll find some useful analysis by many of the movers and shakers in the CAP debate, both in Brussels, the UK and elsewhere. Read article-by-article here, or download the entire magazine as a handy PDF file: Food Ethics – CAP Reform issue. The Food Ethics Council is a UK-registered charity that challenges government, business and society to make wise choices that lead to better food and farming.”

Food Prices

European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Mariann Fischer Boel posted an update to her blog recently, where she noted that, “One of the hottest topics over the month of August was the rising price of food. The media in Germany went into overdrive over the soaring cost of milk, and the story rapidly spread further afield. There was similar concern about the effect of tight grain supplies on retail prices for bread and meat.

“I’ve obviously been watching the market situation very closely.”

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Biofuels: Energy Policy, Prices, Resource & Trade Issues

Reuters writer Missy Ryan reported yesterday that, “U.S. farm groups bristled this week at calls for deeper cuts to American agriculture subsidies, just as trade negotiators urged the United States to do more to break a stubborn stalemate in world trade talks…Dave Salmonsen, who follows trade at the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest U.S. agriculture group, said trading partners were wrong to place the onus on the United States for moving the World Trade Organization’s Doha round closer to a long-elusive agreement.”

I. Biofuels
II. Doha
III. Farm Bill

I. Biofuels

Joe Barrett, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, reported that, “Everywhere farmers grow corn, water is becoming a major concern as ethanol plants ramp up production at a startling rate and the threat of drought is ever-present. Rushing to help meet President Bush’s call to cut gasoline use by 20% over the next 10 years, the ethanol industry has projects under way that would nearly double capacity from the current 6.8 billion gallons of ethanol a year.

“A 50-million gallon ethanol plant might use about 150 million gallons of water to make fuel. That’s more water than some small towns use, raising some local battles over placement of the plants. But farmers in Mr. Clements’s district alone pumped 62.6 billion gallons of water from underground in 2005. That’s why many water experts are more concerned about farmers growing more thirsty corn to meet the extra demand from ethanol than they are about the water used by the distilleries themselves.”

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Senate Takes Turn at Farm Bill Development

Reuters writer Rodrigo Gaier reported yesterday that, “Brazil said on Monday that the Doha round of global trade talks is not dead and that it is convinced that the negotiations will be concluded successfully…’The (Doha) round is not going to die. It is alive and well,’ Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told reporters in Rio de Janeiro. ‘I’m convinced that the talks are going to be concluded and in a successful way.’”


I. Farm Bill
II. Doha
III. Agricultural Economy

I. Farm Bill

Linda Vanderwerf, writing last week at The West Central Tribune Online (Minnesota) reported that, “Writing a new farm bill, and the arm-twisting that entailed, occupied all of U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson’s time for the first six months of the year. (Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. (Photo from The West Central Tribune Online (Minnesota)).

“This last month has given the first-year House Agriculture Committee chairman a chance to catch up on other issues and adopt a more relaxed schedule. Peterson was in Willmar on Wednesday for meetings with constituents about a variety of issues. He also stopped in the Tribune offices.

“Peterson now awaits the Senate’s farm bill, so that a conference committee can iron out differences.”

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Remember Doha?

Categories: Doha / Trade

Stephen Castle, writing in Saturday’s New York Times, reported that, “Negotiators in Geneva are set to resume talks on world trade on Monday at the start of another crucial period for the stalled negotiations, which began in 2001 and have been on the verge of collapse for months.

“Discussions will focus on agriculture, one of the main obstacles to an accord, with negotiations on industrial issues and the trade of manufactured goods scheduled for the week after. The director general of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, will meet with trade ministers from the Asia and Pacific region in Sydney, Australia, from Wednesday through Friday.

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