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|Disaster Assistance Funding Added to Omnibus Appropriations Measure|
The Senate began debate on a package of 11 unfinished FY03 appropriations bills, including agriculture. The package was modified to include $3.1 billion for weather-related crop losses on action by Appropriations Committee Chairman Cochran (R-MS). The package also includes $50 million for cottonseed assistance payments.
Referencing the need to speed delivery of funds to farmers, the legislation delivers the funds to commodity producers by authorizing an increase of 42% in ’02 crop direct payments. Recipients of payments would be required to purchase the minimum level of crop insurance coverage (CAT) for the ’03 crop. The legislation offsets the cost by a government-wide reduction in discretionary outlays, seemingly as a signal that President Bush would sign the measure.
The Senate is attempting to complete work on the omnibus measure by Jan. 17. Once completed, the measure would be sent to a House-Senate Conference Committee to resolve differences before final approval by the House and Senate and going to the President by Jan. 28.
During the conference, modifications could be made to the delivery mechanism. The NCC continues to urge Senators to provide as much funding as possible without resorting to spending offsets that would adversely affect the farm law. The NCC also continues to urge members to be vigilant and to oppose any efforts to reduce payments or payment limitations as has been proposed by Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Hagel (R-NE).
|NCC Continues to Communicate Concern about China’s Implementation of TRQs|
In a letter to US Trade Representative Zoellick, NCC expressed continuing concern about China’s failure to implement Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) for raw cotton in keeping with its World Trade Organization (WTO) accession commitments.
NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood said, "We do not want USTR to think that because China is buying some US cotton that the problem is fixed. China has committed to the principle of ‘national treatment,’ which means Chinese mills should be able to make independent purchase decisions on the basis of market conditions and not be constrained by government dictates."
Hood said China’s failure to open its market in keeping with its accession agreement is especially exasperating in light of the use it is making of WTO membership to increase textile exports to the US. NCC’s letter expressed appreciation for the responsiveness of USTR staff to these concerns but stated, "…we believe it is critically important for this issue to be discussed, and resolved, at the highest level."
|China Reiterates Need to Test for Short Fiber, Nep Count|
China reiterated its intention to introduce mandatory testing for short fiber content and nep count as early as this year, a move that the US cotton industry sees as an attempt to "arbitrarily and unjustly limit imports of cotton into the China market."
Chinese officials say the reason for the implementation is not to hamper trade but to raise the quality of cotton for users in China and claims that domestic cotton will be subjected to the same tests as imports.
In the summer of ’02, China notified the WTO of an impending change in the testing protocol for raw cotton. In November, the US Trade Representative formally delivered the US response regarding the Chinese testing protocol to the World Trade Organization. Cotton industry representatives, NCC staff and officials of USDA/AMS Cotton Division and USDA/ARS Southern Regional Research Center jointly developed the US response. Chinese cotton authorities have not responded to US concerns about the Chinese testing protocol, and NCC is asking USTR to follow up with the Chinese on this matter.
|President Wants Extension of Sub-Sahara Trade Pact|
President Bush said in videotaped remarks to a conference in Mauritius that he would ask Congress to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond ’08 but did not say for how long.
AGOA provides duty free access to a wide range of products from 38 eligible countries in sub-Sahara Africa to the world's largest market, and African governments have called for its extension.
Textile products are among the leading export segments for Africa, but many African countries depend on imports of fabric from Asia to satisfy their need.
Officials said the main challenge for Africa is to improve on governance to attract capital and ensure that the continent strengthens its industries to compete globally with economies like China when quotas on textiles are removed by ’05.
US negotiators have laid down a WTO proposal that calls for substantial reductions in farm subsidies and tariffs. US Trade Representative Zoellick asked Africa to support this initiative and reduce its own farm subsidies and other trade barriers. African governments say it would be difficult to do so.
|Hood Named Cotton Achievement Award Recipient|
NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood received Cotton Grower magazine’s ’02 Cotton Achievement Award. The Gunnison, MS, producer was cited for his leadership during the farm bill debate and his focus on making certain that the interests of the cotton industry were represented. Hood, who has grown 42 cotton crops in his career, also was recognized for his adaptation of new technology, in particular his pioneering work in precision agriculture.
|’03 High Cotton Awards Given|
Winners of the ’03 High Cotton awards are: L.C. Conway, Cove City, NC; Marty White, Jonesboro, AR; Dale Swinburn, Tulia, TX; and Paul "Paco" Ollerton, Coolidge, AZ.
These growers were recognized for producing a profitable, high quality crop while meeting the best standards of environmental stewardship. The awards are supported by a grant from Farm Press Publications to The Cotton Foundation and recognize farmers who have made invaluable contributions to protecting the environment in each of the Cotton Belt’s 4 regions.
Other awards presented at the ’03 Beltwide Cotton Conferences included:
Fresh Produce Sportswear, a Boulder, CO-based clothing designer, manufacturer and retailer, received the US Cotton Champion Award for ’03. The award, presented on behalf of the National Cotton Women's Committee (NCWC), recognized the company’s commitment to the use of US-grown cotton in its clothing. Bayer CropScience also announced it will continue to provide funding to the Foundation in support of the NCC’s Cotton Counts campaign, which is conducted primarily by the NCWC.
Dr. Roy G. Cantrell, an accomplished researcher and leader in cotton breeding and genetics, received the ’02 Cotton Genetics Research Award. Cantrell, who currently serves as vice president, agricultural research, for Cotton Incorporated, Cary, NC, received $500 in recognition of his efforts. "In the last few years, Dr. Cantrell has been a driving force in cotton genetics, in his own research program and in collaboration with major cotton groups across the US and abroad," said nominator Dr. Thea Wilkins, professor, Cotton Functional Genomics, at the U. of California-Davis.
US commercial cotton breeders have presented the Cotton Genetics Research Award for the past 40 years to a scientist for outstanding basic research in cotton genetics. The Joint Cotton Breeding Policy Committee comprised of representatives from state experiment stations, USDA, private breeders and the NCC establishes criteria for the award.
Dr. James McD. (Mac) Stewart, a researcher at the U. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, is the recipient of the ’02 Outstanding Research Award in Cotton Physiology.
The Micro Flo Company, Memphis, TN, sponsors the $5,000 award, which is presented by the Cotton Physiology Conference to an individual or team who has significantly improved the knowledge of the physiology of cotton growth and development.
|JCIBPC to Meet in February|
The ’03 Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee (JCIBPC) will meet next month at the Radisson Hotel in Memphis. The general session is scheduled for 1-4:30 p.m. on Feb. 26. An executive session to discuss experimental test programs will follow the meeting and continue on the morning of Feb. 27.
The first-day session will include reports on the progress of a Special JCIBPC Study Committee and from the Executive Committee and the results of a packaging material survey, a bale size study and ’02 experimental test program.
Hotel reservations may be made by calling 901-528-1800 and asking for the NCC Bale Packaging Committee group rate of $94 prior to the cutoff of Feb. 11. Committee members also are encouraged to use the NCC’s link to its travel agency, Travelennium, at www.cotton.org or by calling 901-762-7018 for airline reservations.
|’02 Census of Agriculture Forms Due Feb. 3|
USDA is reminding farmers and ranchers of the Feb. 3 deadline for returning their ’02 Census of Agriculture report form. A large number of forms have been completed and returned, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
For those who have not completed their report form, estimates are acceptable if records are not available. Those who received a census of agriculture form but no longer operate a farm or ranch should return it so they will not be contacted again.
Assistance in completing the census report form is available at the toll-free number, 1-888-4AG-STAT. Those with questions about completing the form, or who have not received a form but believe their operation qualifies as a farm or ranch, can call the toll-free number.
All information collected in the census of agriculture is kept strictly confidential by law. This 26th census will provide a detailed picture of the current status of agriculture across the nation's 3,000 plus counties and changes since the last census was taken 5 years ago.
|Export Sales Climb|
Net export sales for the week ending Jan. 9 were 298,000 bales (480-lb.), more than 126% higher than the previous week, resulting in total ’02-03 sales of almost 7.8 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’01-02 marketing year were approximately 9.7 million bales. Total new crop (’03-04) sales are 518,500 bales (480-lb.). Shipments for the week were 272,800 bales, bringing total exports to date to 3.8 million bales, down from 4.4 million at the comparable point in the ’01-02 marketing year.
|Prices Effective January 17-23, 2003|
Adjusted World Price, SLM 1 1/16 43.81 cents*
Current 3135 c.i.f. Northern Europe 56.96 cents