January 26, 2020

Biofuels; EPA Regulations (“Tailoring Rule”); Climate Change; and Crop Insurance


John M. Broder reported in today’s New York Times that, “President Obama moved on Wednesday to bolster the nation’s production of corn-based ethanol and other alternative liquid fuels and ordered the rapid development of technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal.

“The president is trying to expand the portfolio of American energy sources to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, a factor in global warming, and spur advances in alternative technologies. Last week he expressed support in his State of the Union address for increased generation of nuclear power and offshore drilling for oil and gas.

Mr. Obama’s motives are environmental, economic and political. He is trying to address climate change by replacing dirty fuels with cleaner sources, jump-start an American clean-energy industry, reduce dependence on foreign oil and attract Republican votes for legislation to do all three.”


Budget Issues; Climate Issues; Farm Bill; Biofuels; and Political Notes

Budget: Reactions to Executive Branch Agricultural Proposals

Bloomberg writer Alan Bjerga reported earlier this week that, “U.S. Department of Agriculture spending would rise 2.3 percent to $132.3 billion in fiscal 2011 as the number of people receiving aid to buy groceries, the USDA’s biggest expense, reaches records, the government said.

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, will cost $75.3 billion in the year starting Oct. 1, up 3.9 percent from this year, accounting for most of the overall increase, according to the budget President Barack Obama sent to Congress today. Agricultural subsidies would fall 11 percent as the administration tries to limit payments to wealthy farmers.

“A record 37.9 million people, or about one of every eight Americans, received food stamps in October, as the jobless rate reached a 26-year high, the USDA said on Jan. 12. Participation in the program that month was up 22 percent from a year earlier, setting a record for the 11th straight month.”


President’s Budget Proposal: Agriculture, Climate Issues, and Trade

Budget: General Overview

An update posted yesterday at CQPolitics reported that, “President Obama proposed a $3.8 trillion fiscal 2011 budget Monday that administration officials are touting as a prescription for both adding jobs to the economy and reducing deficits over the next decade [See: “Remarks by the President on the Budget,” transcript, video].

“Obama proposed $1.16 trillion in discretionary spending, not including military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would be a 2.7 percent increase over the $1.13 trillion set to be spent in fiscal 2010.”


Crop Insurance; Budget; Climate Issues; Sec. Vilsack on Rural America; Ag Economy; Trade; CFTC Issues; and Political Notes

Crop Insurance: The Standard Reinsurance Agreement

On Friday January 29, spoke with former USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins and Bob Parkerson, the president of National Crop Insurance Services about the federal crop insurance program. Specifically, the conversation focused on the current renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) that is underway between the crop industry and the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).

RMA released its initial SRA draft proposal in early December, while the industry submitted its counter draft proposal earlier this month.


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