May 21, 2018

Budget Issues: Sequester, Fiscal Cliff; the Farm Bill; Biofuels; and Trade

Categories: Budget /Farm Bill

Suzy Khimm reported on Friday at the Wonk Blog (Washington Post) that, “The White House has released its plan explaining how the sequester’s mandatory spending cuts to defense and domestic spending will be implemented in 2013.”

The update explained that the sequester is “a package of automatic spending cuts that’s part of the Budget Control Act (BCA), which was passed in August 2011. The cuts, which are projected to total $1.2 trillion, are scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2021, evenly divided over the nine-year period. The cuts are also evenly split between defense spending — with spending on wars exempt — and discretionary domestic spending, which exempts most spending on entitlements like Social Security and Medicaid, as the Bipartisan Policy Center explains. The total cuts for 2013 will be $109 billion, according to the new White House report.

“Under the BCA, the cuts were triggered to take effect beginning Jan. 1 if the supercommittee didn’t to agree to a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package by Nov. 23, 2011. The group failed to reach a deal, so the sequester was triggered.”


Newsmakers with Rep. Harold Rogers- Budget, Spending Issues

Categories: Budget

From C-SPAN, Sunday, Sept. 16- “This week on Newmakers, Appropriations Committee Chairman, Harold Rogers (R-KY). Rep. Rogers discusses the appropriations process, including the stopgap continuing resolution passed by the House on September 13 to fund the government from October 1 through March 27. He also discusses the many spending decisions before the Congress, including the issue of sequestration and its impact on domestic and defense programs.”


Economic Research Service: Feed Outlook

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released its Feed Outlook report, “Higher Carryin Boosts U.S. Corn Supplies Despite Production Decline.”

The ERS report contained a detailed summary of recent USDA projections regarding feed grains and noted that, “U.S. feed grain supplies for 2012/13 are projected higher this month, with a reduction in forecast corn production more than offset by higher projected corn carryin. U.S. corn production is lowered 51 million bushels, with the national average yield forecast 0.6 bushels per acre lower at 122.8 bushels. U.S. corn supplies for 2012/13 are projected 108 million bushels higher at 11,983 million bushels as an increase in expected beginning stocks more than offsets lower production. Feed and residual use for 2011/12 is lowered 150 million bushels based on the record level of crop maturity and harvest progress as of September 1.”

The ERS report included this graphic relating to crop maturity (click on the graphs for full, expanded view):

Today’s report also included this graph depicting corn harvested area and yield since 1984.


Committee Chairman and House Leadership- Reminiscing About (Wishing For (?))- Speaker Pelosi

Categories: Farm Bill

As was noted earlier this week, National Journal columnist and agricultural reporter Jerry Hagstrom presented a farm policy seminar this week at the Big Iron Farm Show in North Dakota.

An interesting issue that came in the discussion related to the relationship between the Agriculture Committee Chairman and House leadership.

More specifically, Mr. Hagstrom elaborated on the positive and close relationship Rep. Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) enjoyed with then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) as he shepherded through the 2008 Farm Bill as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Mr. Hagstrom noted that during the current Farm Bill debate, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) does not appear to have a similar relationship with either House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) or Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.).

To listen to this portion of Mr. Hagstrom’s analysis, click on the listen bar below:

In addition, recall that Dan Morgan pointed out in his summary paper on the development and passage of the 2008 Farm Bill (“The Farm Bill and Beyond“) that, “After House passage, Peterson spoke effusively about Pelosi’s role. ‘They [Democratic leaders] were under a lot of pressure not to support us,’ he said in an interview. ‘But they had seen the other side, which 80 percent of our members have never seen who don’t know these farmers. She was under a lot of pressure from guys who said we shouldn’t have a Title I. The San Francisco papers beat the hell out of her. I could tell sometimes when I talked to her she wasn’t sure, because she didn’t understand.'”

Mr. Morgan added that, “Soon after the farm bill vote, Pelosi attended Farmfest, an annual agricultural fair held at Redwood Falls, Minnesota, in Peterson’s home district. It featured a forum: ‘The New Farm Bill— Shaping the Future of Rural America.’ If there had been any doubt of Pelosi’s support, Peterson dismissed it in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘She just had a great time [at Farmfest] and her staff did, and they bonded with the farmers and she was eating pork chops on a stick and riding around in an ethanol four-wheeler. And that had a lot to do with her being as engaged and helpful as she was in finally getting the farm bill through‘” (at page 41 of Morgan’s paper).

At page 35 of his paper, Mr. Morgan elaborated: “In retrospect March 25, 2007, was a significant date in the chronology of the 2008 farm bill.
Pelosi showed up at the National Farmers Union convention in Orlando, Florida, to party and rub shoulders with heartland America. ‘It wasn’t just her speech about the importance of farming that won over attendees,’ wrote Congressional Quarterly. ‘The fact that she stuck around for hours to dance, eat and talk convinced NFU members she was committed to agricultural policy. By all accounts, everyone—including the California Democrat— had a blast.’ Pelosi was dancing to Peterson’s tune. But such write-ups were worth their weight in gold. They kicked a little barnyard dust onto her Armani wardrobe, and underscored her interest in rural America.

Pelosi and Peterson were a political odd couple. She was a wealthy San Franciscan and one of the most liberal members of the caucus; he was a plain- talking, Marlboro-smoking Midwesterner, and one of the most conservative. (He opposes abortion and has voted against federal funding of stem cell research.) While Pelosi hit the Bay Area social scene, Peterson, now 65, was out on the Farm Aid circuit, playing guitar and serving as lead vocalist at gigs of the Capitol Hill country rock ‘n roll band, The Second Amendments.

But appearances can be deceiving. Peterson had served as one of Pelosi’s lieutenants in 2001 when she defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (Maryland) for the position of House Minority Whip, the stepping- stone to minority leadership in 2003 and the speakership in 2006. Pelosi was steeped in the values of political loyalty passed down from her father, the late mayor of Baltimore. She liked strong men as political allies, and Peterson was in a long line of strong chairmen of the Agriculture Committee. (Earlier ones included Rep. Tom Foley, D-Washington, who went on to be speaker, and Texas Republican Larry Combest, who resigned from Congress in 2003.)”


Farm Bill; Budget; Crop Insurance; and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill Issues

The National Journal Need-To-Know Daily Email reported yesterday that, “It’s looking like the Sept. 30 deadline will pass without a new farm bill. Most agricultural leaders are saying no bill will pass before the election. ‘Now we’re not going to have the time to get this bill done before the election even if we get it through the House,’ House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said at a rally in support of the bill. ‘If we get it through the house and into conference, we can work on this in October,’ he said. ‘And when we come back after the election we can come back ready to move this thing.’”

Elahe Izadi reported yesterday at National Journal Online that, “So, who’s fault is it that a farm bill isn’t coming to the floor for a vote in the House? Like with nearly everything in Congress, it depends on who you ask.

“To hear Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, tell it, it’s House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. In a statement released yesterday, King, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee, said Pelosi is ‘encouraging her Caucus to oppose the bill because of its reforms of fraud and abuse in the SNAP program, making it difficult to get support from the other side of the aisle.’”

Yesterday’s article noted that, “For her part, Pelosi all but accused King of living in an alternate universe, saying to reporters today, ‘What could he be thinking? Does he still think I’m speaker? Does he think the Democrats still have 218 votes to pass the bill?’

She charged it was Republican leadership blocking the bill. ‘They have well over the votes they need for the bill,’ Pelosi said. ‘There would be Democrats voting for it as well. But they can’t vote unless it comes to the floor.’”


AgriTalk Radio- Sen. Grassley Discusses Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

Iowa GOP Senator and Agriculture Committee Member Charles Grassley was a guest today on the AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams, where a portion of their discussion focused on the Farm Bill.

In part, Sen. Grassley noted that he did hear from constituents over the recess on the Farm Bill issue, but noted that he would not describe what he heard as “pressure;” rather, voters expressed concern about how the Farm Bill process will play out.

Sen. Grassley outlined four potential directions for the Farm Bill, in the order of best possible outcome to least desirable. These included:

1) Five-year Farm Bill.
2) One-year Extension.
3) Six-month Extension.
4) Three-month Extension.

To listen to a portion of today’s AgriTalk discussion with Sen. Grassley and Mike Adams on the Farm Bill, click on the listen bar below:

Chairwoman Stabenow, Sen. Tester Talk Farm Bill on the Senate Floor

Categories: Farm Bill

As she did earlier this week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) went to the Senate floor again today to call attention to the Farm Bill, and the lack of progress on the measure from the House GOP leadership.

Chairwoman Stabenow reiterated that a short-term disaster aid package is not an adequate path forward. In addition, Chairwoman Stabenow stated that she would not support a one-year extension of the current Farm Bill. She asked the House GOP leadership for one day, just one day, to consider the House Agriculture Committee passed measure on the floor.

Near the conclusion of her presentation, Sen. John Tester (D., Mont.), who is also facing voters this November, engaged in colloquy on Farm Bill issues with the Michigan Democrat.

To listen to a portion of Chairwoman Stabenow’s remarks, along with the comments from Sen. Tester, click on the listen bar below:


Rep. Noem House Floor Remarks on the Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

(9.13) Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.) returned to the House floor to call for action on a Farm Bill today. Rep. Noem read excerpts of a letter from a couple who run a farming and ranching operation in Wall, South Dakota. In the letter, the couple underscored the need for certainty when it comes to agriculture policy so they can make planting decisions.


Sen. Moran at the Farm Bill Now Rally

Categories: Farm Bill

Senator Jerry Moran (R., Kan.), who is one of the most articulate, direct and clairvoyant communicators for agricultural and rural issues on the national stage, spoke yesterday at the Farm Bill Now rally in Washington, D.C. A replay of his remarks are available here.


Jerry Hagstrom- Farm Bill Discussion at Big Iron

Categories: Farm Bill

National Journal columnist and agricultural journalist Jerry Hagstrom participated yesterday in a farm policy seminar at the Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo, ND.

Mr. Hagstrom, who authors The Hagstrom Report, a news service providing original national and international agricultural news to subscribers, provided a broad-based and informative presentation of the Farm Bill debate currently underway in Washington, D.C.

An audio replay of the farm policy seminar has been posted at the Red River Farm Network webpage, and is also available here:


Farm Bill; and the Agricultural Economy

Farm Bill Issues

Jennifer Steinhauer reported in today’s New York Times that, “Congressional agreement on a stalled farm bill seemed increasingly out of reach on Wednesday, as a few hundred farmers gathered near the Capitol to press for its passage. They were greeted by an unusually bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing for action in the House, where Republican leaders have declined to pursue legislation.

“‘Americans want us to work together to get it done for rural America,’ said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan and chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to the farmers’ cheers. [Note that a video replay of Chairwoman Stabenow’s remarks can be viewed here].

“Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, also spoke, chiding members of his own party in the House for refusing to bring their own committee’s farm bill to the floor. ‘Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for something to happen,’ he said.”


Chairwoman Stabenow at Farm Bill Now Rally

Categories: Farm Bill


Video: Chairwoman Stabenow Discusses Farm Bill with Al Roker

From The Weather Channel, Sep. 12- Al Roker interviews U.S Senator Debbie Stabenow about the Farmers Rally being held in Washington and the fate of the Farm Subsidy Bill.


Rep. Peterson Addresses Farm Bill Now Rally

Categories: Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) addressed the Farm Bill Now rally today in Washington, D.C.

A replay of a Rep. Peterson’s remarks can be heard here:


Sec. Vilsack says American Farmers Need a New Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sep. 12- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says American farmers need a new Farm Bill.


Sept. World Agricultural Outlook Board- WASDE Update

This morning, the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) released its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report which contained the latest official government production estimates for the U.S. corn and soybean crops.

The report indicated that, “U.S. feed grain supplies for 2012/13 are projected higher this month with a reduction in forecast corn production more than offset by higher projected corn carryin. U.S. corn production is lowered 52 million bushels with the national average yield forecast 0.6 bushels per acre lower at 122.8 bushels. Lower yields and production in the Corn Belt and Central Plains are partly offset by increases elsewhere, particularly across the South where an early harvest is boosting available supplies.

“U.S. corn supplies for 2012/13 are projected 108 million bushels higher as an increase in expected beginning stocks more than offsets lower production this month. Exports for 2011/12 are lowered 10 million bushels reflecting the slowing pace of shipments during August. Feed and residual use for 2011/12 is lowered 150 million bushels based on the record level of crop maturity and harvest progress as of September 1…The projected range for the corn season-average farm price is lowered 30 cents on both ends of the range to $7.20 to $8.60 per bushel.”

The WASDE update added that, “Soybean supplies for 2012/13 are reduced due to lower forecast production and beginning stocks. Soybean production is projected at 2.634 billion bushels, down 58 million due to lower yields in the Midwest. Soybean exports are reduced 55 million bushels to 1.055 billion mainly due to reduced supplies…The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2012/13 is projected unchanged at $15.00 to $17.00 per bushel.”

Complete estimates for the entire U.S. corn and soybean balance sheet, including projected average farm price, can be viewed by clicking on the tables below, which were part of today’s WAOB report (corn table left, soybean table right).

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its Crop Production report today; this report was incorporated into the WASDE estimates.

The NASS report included the following graphical illustrations with respect to U.S. corn and soybean production (click on graphs for full view).

Gregory Meyer reported today at The Financial Times Online that, “The US Department of Agriculture estimated this year’s harvest in the world’s leading corn producer would total 10.727bn bushels, down 13 per cent from a year ago and down from last month’s forecast of 10.78bn bushels. The figure was higher than consensus forecasts, which stood around 10.38bn bushels of corn production.

“The government forecast 2.634bn bushels of soyabean production, down 2 per cent from its August estimate of 2.69bn bushels, as yield projections fell further. Analysts had expected 2.66bn bushels of production.

The FT article noted that, “CBOT September corn fell 2.3 per cent to $7.64 a bushel, while CBOT September soyabeans slipped 0.5 per cent to $16.88½ a bushel. CBOT September wheat, which is for delivery of the already-harvested soft red winter crop, retreated 1.3 per cent to $8.49 a bushel…The US forecasted that harvested acres of corn to be unchanged from the estimates of 87.4m made a month ago, up 4 per cent from the previous crop year.”


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