September 18, 2019

2012 Drought; and Farm Bill Issues

Peter Whoriskey and Michael A. Fletcher reported in today’s Washington Post that, “A drought gripping the Corn Belt and more than half the United States has reached proportions not seen in more than 50 years, the government reported Monday, jacking up crop prices and threatening to drive up the cost of food.

“Though agriculture is a small part of the U.S. economy, the shortfall comes as the nation struggles to regain its economic footing. Last week, the Agriculture Department declared more than 1,000 counties in 26 states as natural-disaster areas.

“About 55 percent of the continental United States is now designated as in moderate drought or worse, the largest percentage since December 1956, according to the National Climatic Data Center, and the outlook is grim.”


Drought Concerns Grow as Farm Bill Awaits House Floor Action

Jack Farchy reported on Friday at The Financial Times Online that, “Is the world on the brink of another food crisis?

“It has become a distressingly familiar question. With the price of agricultural staples such as corn, soyabeans and wheat soaring for the third summer in five years, the prospect of another price shock is once again becoming a prominent concern for investors and politicians alike.”

The FT article explained that, “The debate marks a dramatic shift from just a few weeks ago, when traders were expecting bumper crops and policy makers were comforting themselves that – if nothing else – falling commodity prices would offer some relief to the troubled global economy.

“But since then, scorching heat and a paucity of rain across the US has withered the country’s corn and soyabean crops [related graphs here and here], with the US Department of Agriculture this week making the largest downward revision to its estimate for a corn crop in a quarter of a century.

“The US is crucial to supplying the world with food: the country is the largest exporter of corn, soyabeans and wheat, accounting for one in every three tonnes of the staple grains traded on the global market.”


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Talks about the U.S. Drought, Its Impact

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed the U.S. drought and its impact on today’s CNN “State of the Union” television program.

Sec. Vilsack also noted the importance of the House bringing the 2012 Farm Bill to the floor for a vote:

The real challenge for us though is that the USDA, the Department of Agriculture, does not have the tools it once had to help people through this difficult times. When the disaster programs of the 2008 farm bill expired on September 20 of last year, it left us with very little option in terms of being able to provide help to these folks. And that’s why it’s just imperative that the House leadership get the food, farm and jobs bill that recently went through the House ag committee on the floor and get it voted on before September 30th so we can provide additional help and assistance to these folks.”

Here is a link to the interview with Candy Crowley and Sec. Vilsack, SecVilsackCNNSOTUDrought12July15 (MP3), it goes about six minutes.


Food Stamps (SNAP) Issues Discussed Recently on Fox News

Categories: Farm Bill

CRP Land Released to Farmers Struggling with Drought

East Central Illinois Corn

Unfortunately, this ear of corn, picked out on Friday from a field in East Central Illinois, is representative of how the crop looks throughout the area.



Farm Bill Issues

Categories: Farm Bill

David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “Speaker John Boehner begged off making any immediate decision Thursday on when — or if — a new farm bill will be brought to the House floor before Congress leaves for the August recess.  [Note: a video replay of yesterday’s press briefing with Speaker Boehner is available here, while relevant clips regarding the Farm Bill can be heard here (MP3- 0:23) and here (MP3- 1:04)].

“The timing is crucial if the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are to have any hope of negotiating a final package before the current farm program expires Sept. 30. And Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) told POLITICO a drought now hitting big stretches of the Midwest only increases the urgency.

“‘There’s a need to move before the Sept. 30th deadline,’ Roberts said, adding that he is skeptical of shortcuts like extending the current law until after the elections.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Animal Agriculture; and, Biofuels

House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill

The AP reported this morning that, “The House Agriculture Committee has approved a five-year farm and nutrition bill that gives farmers new ways to protect themselves from bad weather and poor prices and slices about 2 percent off the $80 billion the government spends every year on food stamps.

The 35-11 committee vote comes three weeks after the Senate passed its version of the half-trillion-dollar bill and shifts the focus to the full House as Congress seeks to come up with a consensus bill before the current farm bill expires at the end of September.

“House Republican leaders have shown little enthusiasm for taking up legislation that faces opposition from conservatives who say it is too expensive. Democrats, meanwhile, don’t like the cuts in food stamps.”


Farm Bill; Biofuels; CFTC Issues; and, Food Security

Categories: Audio /Farm Bill

Farm Bill Issues

Vicki Needham, Erik Wasson, Bernie Becker and Peter Schroeder reported yesterday at The Hill’s On the Money Blog that, “The House Agriculture Committee starts work Wednesday [markup will be broadcast on C-SPAN3] on a $900 billion farm bill that faces plenty of hurdles in the lower chamber.

“Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said Tuesday afternoon that fewer amendments than expected had been filed to the bill that represents a compromise between himself and ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

“‘I have a lot of new underclassmen so they may have a hard time getting their work done ahead of time,’ he said.”


Farm Bill Issues; Agricultural Economy; Trade; and, CFTC Issues

Farm Bill Issues

Peter Schroeder and Erik Wasson reported yesterday at The Hill’s On The Money Blog that, “The House Agriculture Committee will begin a markup Wednesday of a farm bill that exceeds $900 billion in total spending. The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), said he expects a slew of amendments to the bill, including some eliminating controversial cuts to food stamps.

“The House markup of the farm bill could last for days, with wide-ranging debates over everything from sugar quotas to biofuel support to increased funding for fruits and vegetable research. There is no sign yet that the bill is headed for a full House vote, although sources says that the markup means there will be no Agricultural appropriations bills, covering administrative funding for USDA, coming to the floor any time soon.”


Farm Bill and Policy Issues; the Ag Economy; and, Budget Issues

Farm Bill Issues

The AP reported yesterday that, “Republicans and Democrats in Congress who congratulated themselves for passing relatively routine legislation before July 4 are returning to the Capitol for a summer stocked with political show votes and no serious role for bipartisanship.

“Any thought of compromise on major issues — taxes, spending, deficit control or immigration among them — will have to wait until after the election or the new year.

“So, too, with a farm bill. It cleared the Senate on a bipartisan vote and is now at risk for becoming sidetracked in the House in the run-up to this summer’s presidential nominating conventions and the Nov. 6 election.”


Farm Bill (House Draft); Ag Economy; and, Animal Agriculture

Farm Bill- House Releases Draft

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “With time running out for a new U.S. farm law, agriculture leaders in the House of Representatives insisted on Thursday on keeping traditional farm subsidies that the Senate wants to kill and called for big cuts in food stamps for the poor.

“The bill could face an uphill battle in the House because of its busy agenda and the pressure to find even bigger cuts. As well, steep cuts in food stamps would face stiff opposition when it comes time to reconcile the bill with the Senate’s version.

“The House Agriculture Committee was scheduled to vote on the package next Wednesday.  After that, the House has 18 days available for floor debate before the 2008 law expires on Sept 30. Analysts see low odds for enactment of a new law on time.”


Agricultural Economy; Farm Bill; and, EPA Issues

Agricultural Economy

Monica Davey reported in today’s New York Times that, “Across a wide stretch of the Midwest, sweltering temperatures and a lack of rain are threatening what had been expected to be the nation’s largest corn crop in generations.

“Already, some farmers in Illinois and Missouri have given up on parched and stunted fields, mowing them over. National experts say parts of five corn-growing states, including Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions. And in at least nine states, conditions in one-fifth to one-half of cornfields have been deemed poor or very poor, federal authorities reported this week, a notable shift from the high expectations of just a month ago.

“Crop insurance agents and agricultural economists are watching closely, a few comparing the situation with the devastating drought of 1988, when corn yields shriveled significantly, while some farmers have begun alluding, unhappily, to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Far more is at stake in the coming pivotal days: with the brief, delicate phase of pollination imminent in many states, miles and miles of corn will rise or fall on whether rain soon appears and temperatures moderate.”


Farm Bill; Crop Insurance; Ag Economy; and, Biofuels

Farm Bill Issues

David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “Do Republicans in Congress want to fix the food stamp program — or punish it?

“That’s the question facing the House Agriculture Committee leadership as it rolls out its plan this week to cut farm subsidies together with about $16 billion in 10-year savings from food stamps — also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“To get across the House floor, Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) must go to the right of the Democratic-controlled Senate, which took only $4.5 billion from SNAP in its farm bill. But in trying to show some deft and care, Lucas is meeting stiff resistance in his own committee, where nearly two-thirds of the Republicans are freshmen from the large 2010 class so influenced by the rise of the tea party.”


Farm Bill; Budget Issues; Ag Economy; EPA; Trade; and, Biofuels

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

Erik Wasson reported yesterday at The Hill’s On the Money Blog that, “Lobbyists on the farm bill are facing crunch time this week, even with lawmakers in both chambers out of town.

“Staff for the House Agriculture Committee are putting the finishing touches on a five-year farm bill that would set the nation on a track to spend at least $900 billion on farm subsidies and food stamps over the next decade.

“K Street is eagerly expecting a draft summary to circulate Thursday or Friday.”


Farm Bill; Appropriations; EPA; Ag Economy; and, Trade

Farm Bill Issues

The AP reported late last week that, “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday urged the Republican-led House to vote on a long-term farm policy bill, saying failure to act could leave livestock producers exposed to disasters and other farmers uncertain about the future.

“Vilsack, in an interview with The Associated Press, dismissed apparent concerns among House GOP leaders that the half-trillion-dollar farm and food bill could lead to an election-year rebellion among conservatives. ‘If they put it up on the board, there would be enough votes,’ he said.

“‘It just needs to get done and there’s no excuse for it not to be done,’ he said.”


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