January 23, 2020

Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Biotech; and, Immigration

Farm Bill

Doug Finke reported on Saturday at The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Il.) Online that, “U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Saturday that he expects a farm bill now being negotiated in Congress to include provisions requiring the able-bodied to seek work or perform public service to receive food stamps.

“The Virginia Republican said the requirements will be part of the reforms that will be included in the farm bill that’s been held up for months as negotiators try to resolve differences between the House and Senate.

“‘The bill is going to be a reform bill,’ said Cantor, who was in Springfield on Saturday for a fundraiser to benefit U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville. ‘There’s no question the amount of spending in all areas of federal government needs to be examined. It will be about reform.’”

The article noted that, “One area of difference between the House and Senate on the farm bill is the amount of cuts to nutrition programs like food stamps. Both chambers agreed to cuts, but the House wanted far deeper cuts than the Senate.

“‘Nutrition has not been finalized, although we are moving closer to resolution on that,’ Cantor said.”

“Davis said the conferees hope to have the framework of a new farm bill worked out by the end of the month when Congress returns to Washington,” the article said.


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Biofuels; Biotech; and, Immigration

Farm Bill: Dairy Issues- News Article Timeline

Ramsey Cox reported yesterday afternoon (12:32 pm) at The Hill’s Floor Action Blog that, “Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) raised his glass of milk Thursday on the Senate floor to celebrate a reported breakthrough in a deal on dairy in the farm bill negotiations.”

The Hill update noted that, “Blumenthal, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he was ‘pleased’ that farm bill conferees were nearing a deal on dairy policies — the last issue that needed to be worked out in the bill.

“‘I am pleased they have reached a dairy compromise,’ Blumenthal said. But the senator didn’t reveal any details about the deal.”

A short time later (1:23 pm), Erik Wasson reported at The Hill’s On the Money Blog that, “The stalled farm bill is picking up momentum again, as negotiators try to resolve all remaining differences this week.

“House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Thursday that farm bill negotiators are aiming to unveil the legislation next week and have it voted on during the last week of January, half of which is taken up by the Republican annual retreat.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Budget; Biofuels; and, Biotech

Farm Bill

Erik Wasson reported yesterday at The Hill’s on the Money Blog that, “The House could be moving closer to resolving the impasse over dairy that has so far stymied passage of a five-year farm bill.

“House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said Wednesday that work is moving forward on a compromise dairy subsidy reform.”

Mr. Wasson explained that, “Lucas said the compromise does not have supply management but instead is seeking another disincentive to stop farmers from overproducing milk in response to the subsidy.

“‘You have to have disincentives to cause the market to make rational decisions. That’s not just dairy policy, that’s everything in life,’ he said. ‘This compromise has to provide a rational market signal without telling you how to turn the valve on your milk tank.’

“‘We’re moving forward until somebody tells us no,’ Lucas added.”


Federal Reserve Beige Book: Observations on the Ag Economy- January 2014

Today the Federal Reserve Board released its Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions. Commonly referred to as the “Beige Book,” the report included the following observations with respect to the U.S. agricultural economy:

* Sixth District- Atlanta– “Recent rains improved soil conditions in some areas of the District, while parts of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida experienced dry conditions. Monthly prices paid to farmers for rice and soybeans were up; prices for beef and broilers remained unchanged; and prices for corn, cotton, and hogs were down. The most recent domestic crop production projections for soybeans, corn, and rice were unchanged. Cotton and orange projections were down, although cotton was only down slightly. Similarly, projections for domestic beef and pork production rose, while broiler production remained unchanged.”

* Seventh District- Chicago– “Corn and soybean prices moved a bit higher over the reporting period, but remained well below their levels of a year ago. Current prices for corn will not cover expected costs for 2014 production, whereas soybean prices would. This may lead to increased soybean planting in the spring. Farmers continued to store crops in anticipation of future price increases. In some locations, however, there was an incentive to sell corn sooner, in part because of an increase in demand for ethanol production, which has returned to profitability. Hog prices moved lower, while cattle prices were little changed. Milk prices edged up, and there was evidence of some expansion in District dairy herds. Parts of the District remained in a drought, which makes the timing of spring precipitation more critical. In addition, there was less fertilizer application last fall due in part to cleaner water regulations.”

* Eighth District – St. Louis– “As of late November 2013, around 98 percent of the District’s winter wheat crop was rated in fair or better condition, as 89 percent of the winter wheat crop had emerged, on average, across the District states. This rate of progress was moderately faster than the average over the past five years. Year-to-date red meat production in the District for November 2013 increased by 0.5 percent compared with the same period in 2012. Arkansas experienced a noticeable 62.3 percent decline in red meat production over the same period; however, production in Arkansas accounts for less than one percent of total red meat production in the District.”

* Ninth District- Minneapolis– “Overall conditions for District farmers weakened, although livestock and dairy producers saw improvement. Annual production decreased from a year earlier in District states for wheat, soybeans, dry beans and sugar beets; District corn production increased, but price reductions likely outweighed the benefits to farmers. A farm equipment retailer saw a reduction in sales revenue sooner than expected, due to falling crop prices. District sugar beet farmers are facing steep losses this year due to a decline in sugar prices. December prices received by farmers fell from a year earlier for corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, hogs and chickens; prices increased for cattle, turkeys, eggs, milk and dry beans.”

* Tenth District- Kansas City– “Agricultural growing conditions improved in late November and December, but low crop prices limited farm income expectations. The winter wheat crop was rated in mostly good condition with winter storms providing soil moisture and protective snow cover. However, wheat prices fell slightly since the last survey period, and corn and soybean prices remained at their lowest levels since 2010. Some farmers were holding fall crop inventories rather than selling at current prices. Lower income prospects boosted demand for farm operating loans and dampened farm capital spending at year-end. In the livestock sector, weaker demand for pork from Asian markets placed downward pressure on hog prices. While cattle prices were relatively flat, profit margins for cattle producers may improve as better pasture conditions lessen the need for supplemental feed.”

* Eleventh District- Dallas– “Drought conditions in the District continued to ease slightly. The winter wheat crop has had a good start, with crop conditions in better shape than they were a year ago. Severe winter weather in many parts of the state in late November and early December slightly delayed some of the cotton harvest, but the moisture improved soil conditions. Cattle producers continued to benefit from low feed prices and high selling prices, prompting optimism for the industry outlook.”

* Twelfth District- San Francisco– “Output in agricultural and resource-related industries expanded on balance. Demand remained strong for most crop and livestock products. A healthy corn harvest in the District contributed to a decline in feed costs. Water resources were adequate in most areas.”


Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy; and, Political Notes

Farm Bill

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported yesterday that, “The notion that common Congressional ground already found in the ongoing farm bill saga now could be the sticking point in current negotiations came as a surprise to Sen. Charles Grassley.

“House Ag Committee ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., told the Red River Farm Network Monday that farm-program payments are the biggest issue remaining in the farm bill conference talks, even though most headlines on the farm bill impasse center on sticking points in the dairy program. Regional differences remain in various provisions including payment limits, adjusted gross income and a tightening of the actively engaged definition for farmers.

“Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, is a long-time proponent of tighter payment provisions. He told reporters Tuesday that opponents lack moral ground considering that they already agreed to cuts to food stamps.”


Farm Bill; Biotech; Ag Economy; CFTC; and, Budget

Farm Bill Issues

Randy Koenen, of the Red River Farm Network, spoke with House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) about the Farm Bill in an interview yesterday.

An audio replay of the discussion can be found here, while an unofficial transcript of the Red River Farm Network conversation is available here.

Mr. Koenen queried: “All right, Collin, a snag in the dairy policy, huh?”

Rep. Peterson noted that, “Well, that’s the word that’s been put out, but that’s not what’s holding the bill up at this point.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Budget; and, Climate Issues

Farm Bill

Brett Neely reported on Friday at Minnesota Public Radio Online that, “While several key [Farm Bill] issues remain unresolved despite more three years of work on the bill, one of the latest roadblocks is a disagreement about how the federal government should provide a safety net to dairy farmers with GOP House Speaker John Boehner publicly challenging policies long pushed by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.”

Mr. Neely explained that, “Peterson wants to establish an insurance program to protect farmers from fluctuations in the cost of feed and what he calls a market stabilization program that would encourage farmers to reduce production when prices drop too far.

“‘The only thing we’re saying is that if you’re taking government help and the market gets oversupplied and so it starts costing the government money, that that cost should be put on the dairy farmers, not on the taxpayers,’ Peterson told MPR News.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; and, Budget

Farm Bill- Dairy Issues

David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas conceded Thursday that final action on a farm bill conference report is now likely to slip into late January — a major blow to himself and an ominous turn for the bill itself.

“The draft package combines a landmark rewrite of commodity programs together with cuts from food stamps to generate in the range of $25 billion in 10-year savings, according to preliminary estimates. These accomplishments remain a strong argument for saving the bill. but the persistent in-fighting and delays are taking their toll and a worry for supporters.

“‘It needs to be done as soon as possible but the issues are of such magnitude I can’t go until I get the issues addressed,’ Lucas said. The Oklahoma Republican admitted to immense frustration — and some surprise — at the full dimensions of the standoff now between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Lucas’s own ranking Democrat, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, over dairy policy.”


Sen. Grassley: Unresolved Issues in the Farm and Nutrition Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

Jan. 9- Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley made remarks on the Farm Bill in a video released by his office today.

Sen. Grassley also made the following Tweet today:


Chairman Lucas Discusses Farm Bill (Updated with Transcript)

Categories: Farm Bill

In an interview this morning with Doug Williams on K-101 radio (Woodward, Okla.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) discussed several issues, including the current status of the Farm Bill.

In particular, Chairman Lucas noted the dust up over dairy policy between House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) and Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio).

Chairman Lucas also addressed issues associated with nutrition.

To listen to a portion of today’s K-101 interview, just click on the play button below.

A transcript of today’s discussion is also provided:


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Biotech; Biofuels; Animal Ag; Immigration; and, Political Notes

Farm Bill

Erik Wasson reported yesterday at The Hill’s On the Money Blog that, “A fight over dairy provisions is threatening to hold up completion of the farm bill this week.

“Negotiators late Wednesday were still aiming to hold a formal meeting of the 2014 farm bill conference committee on Thursday to wrap up the long-delayed $1 trillion subsidy and food stamp measure.

“But a battle over dairy, pitting Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) against Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, was complicating matters.”


MSNBC Video: Finding compromise on the farm bill

Categories: Farm Bill

From MSNBC (Jan. 8- The Daily Rundown)- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talks to Chuck Todd about why he thinks it’s important to “maintain the integrity” of the Farm Bill.


Farm Bill; Biotech; Budget; Ag Economy; Animal Ag; and, Immigration

Farm Bill

Meredith Shiner and Emma Dumain reported yesterday at Roll Call Online that, “The long-delayed farm bill may finally be on a glide path to passage, after months of partisan wrangling raised doubts over whether such a day would ever come.

“House and Senate conferees are tentatively scheduled to meet Thursday to begin the final process of approving a bill that can be voted on by both chambers, senators and aides said. Leadership aides in both chambers indicated that the long-stalled legislation, which faltered in the House last session, could be sent to the president’s desk by the Martin Luther King Jr. Day recess.

“For weeks, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla., have been engaged in one-on-one negotiations trying to bridge the gap between the two sides. They now believe they have made enough progress to bring the remaining issues to conferees for haggling.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; and Budget Issues

Farm Bill

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where a portion of the discussion focused on Farm Bill related issues.

A transcript of this part of yesterday’s conversation is available here.

In part, Sec. Vilsack indicated that, “I think it’s important for folks in the countryside to raise the expectation that the time has come for Congress to get its work done. A lot of hard work done by the conference committee leadership- they should be prepared next week to finish and wrap up their work, and there’s no reason why we can’t get this done in the month of January.”


Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy; Biotech; and, Immigration

Farm Bill

Emma Dumain reported on Friday at Roll Call Online that, “The House will have a busy January judging by the lengthy legislative agenda Majority Leader Eric Cantor circulated among his colleagues on Friday.

“The Virginia Republican’s memo, obtained by 218, lays out the obvious items of business: passing conference reports for the farm bill and for legislation funding the nation’s water programs, plus an appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal 2014.”

In part, Rep. Cantor’s memo stated that, “Chairmen Frank Lucas and Bill Shuster, along with our conferees, continue to work towards agreement with their Senate counterparts on the Farm bill and WRRDA conference reports, respectively. These two conference reports represent new ideas on how government programs should work and as soon as they are ready for consideration, I expect to schedule these in the House.”

Chris Clayton pointed out on Friday at the DTN Ag Policy Blog that, “Cantor’s main work on the farm bill thus far has been to hit ‘the pause button’ while helping split the legislation into two pieces last summer.”


Farm Bill; Biofuels; and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

Christopher Doering reported yesterday at The Des Moines Register Online that, “Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said he was still confident Congress could complete its much-delayed work on a five-year, $500 billion farm bill this month.

It looks ‘more like the end of the second week of January I would expect that we get a bill to the president,’ Grassley told reporters in a conference call Thursday. ‘I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.’

“Grassley said among the sticking points so far is a measure he has championed that would place limits on how much in federal subsidies an individual farmer may receive and revising the definition of a farmer to prevent non-farmers from receiving large benefit payouts.”

Sen. Grassley also highlighted these issues in a couple of tweets yesterday (see here and here).


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