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January 2014 Archive for PFA Pioneer Blog

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

This is a private blog for Pioneer.

Farm bill vote slipping into February

Jan 24, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

January 24, 2014

Today's perspective is provided by Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer and Pro Farmer Associate Editor Meghan Pedersen:

Issues could push farm bill to February

The goal is to hold a farm bill vote on the House floor ahead of House members departing Jan. 29 for party policy conferences. But it now looks likely the vote will slip to the first week of February. The holdup is language on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and Grain, Inspection, Packers & Stockyards (GIPSA) authority on poultry.

Agreement on pay cap technical issues and the definition of “actively engaged” are expected to fall into place before a conference report is filed. Meanwhile, dairy policy could again be reopened, though lawmakers’ are growing impatient with that debate.

Farm bill principals reportedly reached an agreement on dairy policy for the new farm bill before they left for a week-long recess Jan. 20. But now an effort is apparently being made to reopen the compromise by House Ag Committee Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson (Minn.) and the National Milk Producers Federation. They are reportedly seeking more onerous language to avoid milk overproduction since voluntary supply management was dropped from the package.Some Democrats are reportedly pushing for new surplus commodity purchase authority for dairy and other commodities.

Sources signal Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has given the renewed push some daylight, but House Ag Committee and Conference Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and others are upset that the compromise is being revisited with the farm bill finish line in sight.

Stabenow is also reportedly digging in on other lingering issues dealing with the crop subsidy payment cap and actively engaged issues. If so, there may be some hard votes ahead for conferees. Stabenow wants to avoid any votes on specific issues by the 41 conference members, but some sources indicate Lucas and/or House Republican leaders may (should) call conferees back to vote on remaining issues.

House leaders’ goal has been to have the bill put on the House floor this week for a vote Jan. 28, which means the language would have to be filed the preceding weekend. Specifically, House leaders want the measure voted on before the House chamber has to be cleared for the security sweep preceding the State of the Union message from President Barack Obama on Jan. 28.

Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer says, “The good news is developments of this nature are fairly typical at the end of a long, arduous legislative process, pressuring lawmakers to move things ahead. But some also believe Stabenow and Peterson are overreaching.”



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Dairy policy is a final farm bill hurdle

Jan 10, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

January 10, 2014

Today's perspective is provided by Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer and Pro Farmer Associate Editor Meghan Pedersen:

Dairy policy a political issue?

Farm bill conference efforts are thought to be in their final stages. Ironically the most contentious end-of-process issue is not the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) but rather dairy policy. Conference members have reportedly agreed to cut $8.8 billion from SNAP funding over 10 years, including some language dealing with “able bodied worker requirements.”

The struggle over dairy policy has shown signs it may become an election-year, political issue, with both sides privately wondering which party would be blamed the most for a farm bill conference report failure.

At the center of the debate is Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member of the House ag panel who is pushing dairy supply management language, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who continues to insist that no such language be in the final conference package. Boehner has reportedly said he would not bring up the farm bill conference report for consideration on the House floor if it includes dairy supply management language.

Meanwhile, House Ag Committee and Conference Chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) laments he is “dealing with forces that are so diametrically opposed with such intensity, who are operating from positions of personal knowledge and experience.” And Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is reportedly working on various dairy policy options and having them scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to skirt the dairy policy hurdle.

If Peterson doesn’t get his way on dairy policy, the question is, will he vote “no” for the overall conference report because of just one issue? If so, how many Democratic members would follow suit?

Farm bill conferee Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), says farm bill negotiators should call Boehner’s “bluff.” With most conservative Republicans expected to vote no on any coming farm bill conference report, the measure will need more than a few Democratic votes to win House approval.

Of note, members of both parties soundly approved a provision that deleted supply management language from dairy policy during the House farm bill debate.
Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is another issue yet to be decided. Sources indicate this could be decided via a vote among all conference panel members. Actively engaged language is another uncertainty.

Farm bill “certainties”

  • Direct payments eliminated
  • Base acres used for calculating Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) & Price Loss Coverage (PLC) target price payments
  • House’s target price levels will be used for PLC
  • Crop insurance linked to conservation compliance
  • No means test for crop insurance
  • Transition (direct) payment likely in 2014 cotton instead of Stacked Income Protection (STAX) program

 

What if it all falls apart?

If conference efforts fail, necessitating a one- or two-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, a coming CBO baseline update in early February could show corn growers might garner billion of dollars in payments via an attractive Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program for the 2014 crop safety net option. If so, that could limit the decline in corn plantings some are forecasting. But that would also clearly show ACRE skews plantings. This would be noticed by several World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries. It also underscores why deferring a farm bill much longer will make it even more difficult.

 



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

USDA Report study to be released this month.

Jan 03, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

January 3, 2014

Today's perspective is provided by Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer.

The examination of USDA reports like the Supply & Demand and Grain Stocks Reports will likely be completed yet this month by the University of Illinois economists who are conducting the review at the request of USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber.

The study was being worked on during most of 2013 and after a presentation of a draft was made to USDA, there were some additional issues being explored. However, some contacts say the "additional issues" weren’t necessarily new items but rather some clarifications within the work done thus far.

As for when the report will be released, contacts will only say they expect it will be yet this month. And, expectations are that the University of Illinois economists conducting the study could be the ones to release the report. That has been the case in other studies of USDA data that have been conducted outside the agency.

Still, contacts advise there may not be that "a-ha" moment in the study or the "smoking gun" that will explain why the trade expectations for some data releases from USDA have been so far off the actual data released.


 


 



 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

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