Impact of USDA Farm Policy Book Uncertain
Ag Secretary Veneman released USDA paper, "Food and Agricultural Policy,Taking Stock for the New Century," prompting debate within agriculture community on position of USDA on farm bill. Document takes broader view of US agriculture without offering any specific recommendations on policy.
Stressing diversity of agriculture, document asserts that "one-size fits all" farm policy will not work for today's agricultural sector. Booklet offers description of farms across US, their structure and their contribution to overall agricultural production. While stating that farming itself employs only about 1% of workforce and accounts for less than 1% of gross domestic product, statement asserts that it nonetheless is "the critical component of the entire food and fiber system …that contributes $1.5 trillion (16% of gross domestic product) and employs 17% of the labor force. Helping this system remain efficient and competitive globally, especially as markets shift from commodities to high-value products, is not only critical to the financial well-being of farmers, but also very important to the US economy."
Parts of document that stress importance of conservation and environmental stewardship were seized upon by some environmental groups as evidence Bush Administration will work to change balance of support in agriculture from farm programs to conservation/environmental programs and have provided some ammunition to conservation amendments in House. Statements in document describing structure of farming in US and emphasizing different needs of commercial-sized operations and smaller, "rural-residence" farms have been reported as evidence Bush Administration favors more targeted approach to farm policy.
However, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) stated that principles and ideas put forward by USDA "are fully consistent with goals of H.R. 2646, the Farm Security Act, which has been passed by the House Agriculture Committee."
Similarly, NCC Chairman James Echols stressed USDA booklet was designed to view agriculture from strategic standpoint and did not contain specific policy recommendations. He noted that USDA's document focuses on such critical issues as offering safety net in times of financial hardship due to factors beyond producer's control; balancing support between commodity, conservation, trade and infrastructure; promoting competitiveness; and adopting flexibility and cropping choice as hallmarks of US policy.
"These critical areas were addressed by the House Agriculture Committee in H.R. 2646," said Echols. "The farm bill being developed in the House provides support to the sector across a broad front, with emphasis on farmers, conservation, research, nutrition and international trade. The House already has taken significant steps toward addressing risk management in agriculture and improving policy on several other key fronts. We are moving in the right direction on farm policy. The USDA document provides more information and insight that will help Congress in its overall effort to return US agriculture to financial health."
Democrats Call for New Farm Plan in ‘Principles’ Document
Democratic Policy Committee issued "Democratic Principles for a New Farm Bill," which states that ’96 farm bill has proven to be failed policy requiring series of ad hoc disaster bills. Senate Democrats call for new plan rather than small modifications.
According to release, Senate Democrats are focused on counter-cyclical income safety net; stronger conservation provisions; fair and competitive international and domestic markets; and rural community revitalization. Counter-cyclical income safety net should help in poor years while "minimizing market distortions," report states. "Assistance should be focused on family farms–those most likely to be vulnerable to severe economic stress." Conservation provisions should "provide increased support for removing sensitive land from agricultural production and incentives for continuing (to adopt) new conservation practices on land in production."
Document expresses support for free and fair international trade agreements and promotion of further access for US food and agriculture exports. In addition, report raises concerns about rapid consolidation in agriculture, support for rural development, research, enhanced food safety and nutrition programs.
China, Taiwan Cleared for WTO Membership
World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiators formally agreed to terms for Chinese membership after 15 years of talks. Agreement was reached at formal session of China Working Party following earlier accord at "informal" meeting of 142-nation body.
Taiwan also won formal clearance to WTO, one day after China received clearance. Terms for admitting Taiwan were hammered out almost 2 years ago, but acceptance of pact was postponed because of ’92 understanding that Beijing would be first to enter.
China and Taiwan should receive formal approval for membership at meeting of trade ministers in Doha, Qatar, in November. Pacts are subject to approval of both Parliaments. If agreements are ratified, there is 30-day waiting period before memberships become official.
In statement regarding Chinese agreement, Ag Secretary Veneman said, "We are very pleased that . . . members have endorsed China’s entry into the WTO. For American farmers and ranchers, China’s entry into the rules-based WTO trading system means significantly increased access to the world’s most populous market.
"China has committed to specific market-opening measures that will benefit US producers, including reduced tariffs and an end to import bans. When fully implemented, China’s commitments could add approximately $2 billion a year to US agricultural exports. In addition, China has agreed to eliminate agricultural export subsidies. This paves the way for the text of the agreement to be adopted formally at the WTO Ministerial Conference."
Cotton Industry Represented on Advisory Committees
Several US cotton industry representatives, including NCC Vice Chairman Kenneth Hood, Secretary-Treasurer Billy Carter, Jr., and President and CEO Gaylon Booker, were appointed to advisory committees on trade and food by Ag Secretary Veneman and US Trade Representative Zoellick.
Producers Hood of Mississippi and Carter of North Carolina were appointed to Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC). Booker was named to Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC).
Other NCC leaders appointed to ATAC were Board advisors Thomas Smith, Bakersfield, CA, cooperative official, and Jerry Calvani, New Mexico producer; Director and Cotton Council International First Vice President William B. Dunavant, III, Memphis merchant; International Trade Policy Committee Chairman Robert Weil, II, Alabama merchant; Ott Bean, Missouri producer representing Memphis Cotton Exchange; Chuck Earnest, Steele, MO, ginner; and William Gillon, General Counsel and Director of Trade Policy.
Early Beltwide Hotel Reservations Available to NCC Members
NCC members are encouraged to take advantage of early hotel reservation option for ’02 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for Jan. 8-12 in Atlanta, GA.
For fastest service, members may complete reservation form on-line. Another option is to complete form that was mailed recently and fax it to NCC at (866) 277-2946. Deadline for reservations is Oct. 15. Web site access and fax number for reservations will be discontinued after this date. Please contact NCC’s Member Services at 901-274-9030 or by e-mail at email@example.com if experiencing problems.
Separate form and name is required for each room reservation (including when one person is making multiple reservations). Once form(s) is received, NCC membership will be confirmed and reservation information will be forwarded to Atlanta Housing Bureau. Confirmations will be sent via email or fax number if provided. Otherwise, written confirmation will be mailed to person making reservation. For changes to reservation prior to Nov. 1, contact NCC office. On or after Nov. 1, changes should be made directly with Atlanta Housing Bureau by calling 877-563-3300. Room deposit of $150 is due immediately upon making reservation to confirm room. Deposit will be refunded if cancellation is received on or before Dec. 3. After Dec. 3, deposit will be forfeited. Reservations canceled 7 days or less prior to arrival will be charged for all nights reserved.
On Nov. 1, hotel reservations will be open to all those interested in attending conferences. Hotel reservations and all other policies are outlined in ’02 Beltwide Cotton Conferences information book, which was mailed Sept. 10. Conference information also can be found on Beltwide web site at www.cotton.org/beltwide.
Veneman Appoints 2 at USDA
Appointments of Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory programs and Administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) were announced by Ag Secretary Veneman.
James G. Butler, former executive vice president of National Wool Growers Assn. who for past 11 years has worked at Texas A&M U., was named to Deputy Under Secretary post. A.J. Yates, former Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, was appointed administrator of AMS.
USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs division has oversight responsibility for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and monitors agriculture marketing system. AMS oversees research and promotion programs, federal marketing orders and cotton classing system.
Gall Declines Reconsideration as CPSC Nominee
Commissioner Mary Sheila Gall declined to have her name resubmitted as Administration’s nominee to chair Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Senate Commerce Committee rejected her nomination in August after panel’s Democrats objected to her voting record over 10 years of service.
White House advised that Gall’s name was not resubmitted in routine procedural move at her request. Gall has indicated she will continue to serve as commissioner. Current Chair Ann Brown will resign Nov. 1, and Thomas Moore would become acting chair if Administration does not submit another nominee by Nov. 1.
NCC, American Textile Manufacturers Institute and other cotton industry groups recommended Senate confirmation of Gall in view of her consistent common sense, responsible approach to issues, including flammability.
Cotton Sales Climb in Most Recent Week
Net export sales for week ending Sept. 13 were 129,300 bales (480 lb.), approximately 12% higher than previous week’s sales of 115,100 bales, raising total ’01-02 sales to slightly over 6.0 million. Total sales at same point in ’00-01 marketing year were nearly 3.5 million bales.
Shipments for week were 168,100 bales, bringing total exports to date to almost 1.2 million bales, up from approximately 648,100 at comparable point in ’00-01 marketing year.
Effective Sept. 21-27, ’01
Adj. World Price, SLM 1 1/16 27.05 cents*
Coarse Count Adjustment 0.00 cents
Current Step 2 Certificate Value 3.18 cents
Mktg. Loan Gain Value 24.87 cents
*No Adjustment Made Under Step I
Current 3135 c.i.f. N. Europe 41.12 cents
Forward 3135 c.i.f. N. Europe No Quote
Coarse Count c.i.f. N. Europe 39.02 cents
Current US c.i.f. N. Europe 45.55 cents
Forward US c.i.f. N. Europe No Quote