Budget Work Starts in Congress

March 24, 2009 07:00 PM

Snapshot of news and events for today

Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 8.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,479.99.

  • The dollar was at 97.59 from 98.22 yen late Tuesday.

Tuesday's U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 115.89, or 1.5 percent, to 7,659.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 39.25, or 2.5 percent, to 1,516.52.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.71 percent from 2.68 percent late Monday.

  • The dollar was at was at 97.78 yen from 97.05 yen while the euro was at $1.3451 from $1.3649 late Monday.

Ag futures Yesterday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened the prior trading day...

  • Corn: Futures saw a choppy day of trade, not straying too far from unchanged. Corn closed 1 to 2 cents lower.
  • Soybeans: Futures favored gains through the day, but did see periods of profit-taking. Nearby beans closed 8 to 11 cents higher, with new-crop up marginally to 4 cents.

  • Wheat: Chicago wheat closed 13 to 14 cents lower, with Kansas City down 15 to 16 cents and Minneapolis wheat 9 to 11 cents lower.
  • Cotton: Futures closed 69 to 82 points lower on spillover from widespread commodity selling.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures saw mixed trade, but ended 40 to 70 cents amid short-covering following Monday's sharp losses.
  • Live Cattle: Live cattle futures saw a choppy day of trade, with live cattle finishing 2 to 50 cents lower and feeders closing steady to 80 cents higher.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






March 23

Grain Inspections (A)
Chickens and Eggs (N)


Weather - Crop Summary (N)


Cotton Ginnings (N)
Poultry Slaughter (N)
Broiler Hatchery (N)
Monthly Milk Cost of Production (E)


U.S. Export Sales (F)
Oil Crops Yearbook Data tables(E)


Dairy Products Prices (N)
Peanut Stocks and Processing (N)
Price Reactions After USDA Livestock Reports (N)Quarterly Hogs and Pigs (N)
Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook
Peanut Prices (N)

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • Drive to Tax AIG Bonuses Slows Return of Some Awards Undercuts Bill in Senate; Obama to Meet With Bank Chiefs The push to tax bonuses paid out to current and former AIG employees has slowed dramatically, in part by a realization by the administration that they will need the private sector to help pull the economy out of the recession. Plus the return of some of the bonuses is also tempering the push for a punitive tax action.
    Related items:
    Tapping AIG Furor, Regulators Seek Power to Seize Nonbanks
    Treasury's Top Candidate to Run TARP Drops Out
    Tax-Policy Change Is Proposed for Charities

  • Obama Defends Budget, Says Spending Will Pay Off President Obama used his second press conference of his administration to drum up support for his budget plan that faces opposition from Republicans and even some senior Democrats in Congress. He also pledged to persist with pushing his agenda on energy, health care and more.
    Related item:
    White House to Hunt for New Tax Revenues
    Senate Centrists Press Agenda

  • Key Senator Won't Support Union Bill Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said Tuesday he won't back the card check legislation in the Senate, raising the prospect the plan may stall. Some think the development could lead to changes in the bill that might up its odds of passage.
  • LaHood Pitches Mexico Truck Plan to Skeptical Lawmakers. Transportation Sec. LaHood met with several lawmakers Tuesday in an effort to develop a program to restart the effort to allow Mexican trucks to haul cargo beyond the U.S. border. The pilot program that was killed didn't reveal any major safety issues that have been cited as a reason for ending the initial program. The end of the pilot project prompted Mexico to hit $2.4 billion in U.S. goods with tariffs.
  • South Korea and EU Near Free-Trade Pact. The two sides are close to a trade deal, using the still-to-be-approved U.S.-Korea as sort of a blueprint for the deal. Auto tariffs remain a key sticking point to getting the package finalized.
  • China Raises Gasoline Prices. China raised prices on gasoline and diesel by 3% to 5%, reflecting some of the recent advance in oil prices. The item also notes that by raising prices, it would stem losses by refiners. If such losses were to accrue, the Chinese government would likely have to provide subsidies to the refiners.

New York Times (registration to site required)

  • In a Volatile Time, Obama Strikes a New Tone for Crisis While suggesting he may be able to compromise on some areas of his budget plan, Obama used his second press conference to press for action on health care, energy, education and reducing the budget deficit.
  • U.S. Plan Seeking Expanded Power in Seizing Firms Treasury Sec. Geithner, in testimony before Congress, signaled the administration is seeking authority to take control, restructure and possibly close financial institutions that are in trouble and where the demise of the company could be big enough to destabilize the broader financial system.
  • Cattle Rustling Plagues Ranchers Reports of cattle rustling are on the rise, including cases where upwards of 50 head at a time have been reported. There are also reports of growing cases of fraud involving livestock/cattle.
  • Democrats in Congress Are Ready to Pare Budget. Democrats unveiled budget plans that shift some of the provisions suggested by the Obama budget and drop some as well, including the proposed Making Work Pay program and only a one-year patch for the AMT.

Washington Post

  • Where Policy Grows Iowan Dave Murphy Is Challenging the Corporate Farming Of America The article looks at Food Democracy Now, a group started by an Iowan with a focus on organic agriculture and challenging the policies and structures that are currently in place for U.S. agriculture.
  • President Points To Progress on Economic Efforts He Says Budget Is Key to Recovery President Obama declared there are positive signs emerging on the U.S. economy and made a push for his budget plan which he said was an important component of keeping the U.S. moving toward an economic recovery. That's despite continued opposition to his budget plan.
    Related item:
    Democrats Take Knife to Obama's Budget

    Media Harder On President This Time
  • Specter Will Vote To Block Union Bill Decision Is a Blow to 'Card Check' The Republican senator didn't oppose the legislation in the last Congress but says he will oppose its passage this time, a potentially major blow for the bill.
  • IMF Offers New Tools For Global Downturn Countries Could Get More Money, Faster. The agency unveiled a new line of credit that gives countries with well-managed economies the ability to borrow more money, faster and with no strings attached. The fund also doubles limits on the amount of money countries may receive through some of its other programs.
Ag media Monitoring the countryside

Fargo Forum (North Dakota)

Wichita Eagle (Kansas)

Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)

  • Danish pride, savvy fuel energy partnership The plant at Blair, Neb., will make the proteins that speed up the chemical conversion of cellulose, such as found in corncobs, cornstalks and switchgrass, into sugar. The sugar then is used to make ethanol. Most ethanol made in the United States comes from sugar produced from corn kernels.

Des Moines Register (Iowa)

  • U.S. can lead effort to end world hunger Guest column by former Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.). The writer issues an impassioned plea for the U.S. to take the lead in efforts on addressing hunger around the globe, a battle which the financial crisis around the globe has affected. He lays out a five-point plan to fight global hunger.
  • Cellulosic ethanol suffers in down economy. The item notes that the current economic climate is affecting the interest and ability of firms to move forward on developing commercially viable ethanol production from cellulosic feedstocks despite a mandate starting next year for production of 100 million gallons of the fuel.
Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: "The Obama Administration" today unveiled their "plan to deal with the so-called toxic assets. Those are those mortgage-backed securities...all the financial institutions are holding. Apparently, the plan is to flood the banks with money, make them as liquid as possible," and "then sort of soak up all these bad loans and take them away. See, they got this idea from watching those ShamWow commercials."

Jay Leno: "As you know, Congress is now investigating the special treatment that 'Senator Dodge,' as we're calling him now, received from Countrywide Mortgage for a couple of mortgages. Senator Dodd has contended he didn't know he was getting special rates on the mortgages. ... And, really, to be fair, how would the Senate chairman of the banking committee have any idea what the normal lending rate would be? He would have no idea!"

David Letterman: "The Obama Administration" wants "to unload a trillion dollars in toxic assets. I don't know what that means," but "do you know how much a trillion dollars is? A trillion dollars" is "almost as much as the AIG bonuses."

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