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USFR Weekly Recap - February 1-2, 2014

February 1, 2014

                                                                                                                                                                                          

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT

EPISODE # 2112

FEBRUARY 1-2, 2014   

 

JOHN’S OPEN:

HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. IN THE END THE VOTE WAS SURPRISINGLY STRONG IN THE U-S HOUSE FOR THE NEW FARM BILL. WHILE PASSAGE IN THE SENATE SEEMS LIKELY, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN HISTORY, RURAL LEGISLATORS DID NOT LINE UP SOLIDLY BEHIND THE BILL. NOW BEGINS THE PROCESS OF FIGURING WHAT NEW PROGRAMS LIKE ARC AND PLC ACTUALLY MEAN TO FARMERS, AND I EXPECT SURPRISES. I THINK IT IS ALSO FAIR TO ASSUME THAT THIS BILL, LIKE EVERY OTHER FARM BILL WILL COST FAR MORE THAN ITS CURRENT ESTIMATE.

HEADLINES:

THE U-S SENATE IS EXPECTED TO VOTE ON THE 2014 FARM BILL THIS COMING WEEK. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED THE LONG-AWAITED MEASURE ON WEDNESDAY. THE VOTE WAS 251-TO-166. HERE ARE SOME OF THE KEY POINTS OF THE BILL. DIRECT PAYMENT PROGRAMS ARE GONE. BUT THERE IS A BOOST IN CROP INSURANCE SUBSIDIES. THERE ARE ALSO HIGHER SUBSIDIES FOR RICE AND PEANUT GROWERS. AND TO THE CONTENTIOUS ISSUE OF FOOD STAMPS - THE PROGRAM WAS CUT 800-MILLION FROM THE 80-BILLION DOLLARS SPENT EACH YEAR BY THE GOVERNMENT. WHILE NOT AS MUCH AS HOUSE REPUBLICANS PUSHED FOR, THE CUTS WERE DEEPER THAN WHAT SENATE DEMOCRATS WANTED. ALSO CUT IS THE SO-CALLED 'KING AMENDMENT', NAMED AFTER IOWA CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING. THAT LEGISLATION WOULD PREVENT STATES, LIKE CALIFORNIA, FROM IMPOSING THEIR OWN ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS ON FARM GOODS TRANSPORTED FROM OTHER STATES. FOR EXAMPLE, EGGS PRODUCED IN IOWA COULD NOT BE SHIPPED TO CALIFORNIA IF IOWA DOES NOT REQUIRE PRODUCERS TO USE ROOMIER CAGES. THE FARM BILL ALSO RESTORES USDA'S LIVESTOCK DISASTER PROGRAMS. THOSE PROGRAMS ARE INTENDED TO HELP PRODUCERS, LIKE THE SOUTH DAKOTA RANCHERS WHO LOST THOUSANDS OF HEAD OF CATTLE BY THE FREAK OCTOBER BLIZZARD. IF PASSED BY THE SENATE, THE LIVESTOCK INDEMNITY PROGRAM WILL COMPENSATE FARMERS AND RANCHERS 75-PERCENT OF MARKET VALUE FOR WEATHER-RELATED LOSSES IN 2012, 2013 AND SUBSEQUENT YEARS. MEANWHILE ONE OF THE MAJOR CATTLE GROUPS IN THE COUNTRY CAME OUT AGAINST THIS VERSION OF THE FARM BILL. CALLING IT FLAWED POLICY, THE NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S BEEF ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL OPPOSE THE LEGISLATION. IT'S BEEN A CHALLENGING WEEK WEATHER-WISE. AND SOME FORECASTERS SAY THE COLDER-THAN-NORMAL TEMPERATURES COULD STICK AROUND WELL INTO FEBRUARY. AND THEN LATE IN THE WEEK MUCH OF DIXIE GOT HIT WITH SNOW, COLD AND ICE. ATLANTA WAS PARALYZED BY THREE INCHES OF SNOW. THOUSANDS OF MOTORISTS GOT STUCK ON INTERSTATE 75 AND WERE STUCK IN THEIR CARS FOR 12 HOURS OR MORE.

CROP WATCH:

WHILE SNOW AND COLD DOMINATED WEATHER NEWS THIS WEEK, FOR FARMERS IN CALIFORNIA DROUGHT IS THE BIG NEWS. THE NEW DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS DETEORIATION IN THE AG-INTENSIVE 'CENTRAL VALLEY'. THERE WAS A ONE CATEGORY DOWNGRADE FROM EXTREME TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT FROM MONTEREY TO BAKERSFIELD. CROPS AND HERDS ALIKE ARE IN ROUGH SHAPE. AND THE MONITOR ALSO POINTS OUT A SNOW LAB NEAR THE FAMED DONNER PASS IN THE SIERRA MOUNTAINS IS MEASURING JUST EIGHT INCHES OF SNOW ON THE GROUND. THAT'S THE LOWEST AMOUNT FOR THIS TIME IN JANUARY SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO.

ROUNDTABLE:

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