|NCC Survey Puts ’03 Acreage at 14.05 Million|
The NCC’s annual early season planting intentions survey indicates that US cotton producers intend to plant 14.05 million acres of cotton this spring, up 0.6% from ’02. Upland cotton intentions are 13.86 million acres, an increase of 1.1% from ’02 plantings of 13.72 million acres. Extra long staple (ELS) intentions of 184,000 acres represent a 24.7% decline from ’02. The results were announced at the NCC’s 64th Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL.
With average abandonment, total upland and ELS harvested area would be about 12.70 million acres. Applying each state’s average yield to its ’03 projected harvested acres generates a crop of 17.10 million bales, 16.64 million bales of upland cotton and 453,000 bales of ELS cotton. This compares to ’03’s total production of 17.15 million bales, according to USDA’s January ’03 estimate. Cottonseed production for ’03 is projected at 6.38 million tons, virtually unchanged from the ’02 level.
Dr. Gary Adams, vice president of economics and policy analysis, noted a number of factors in determining an acreage number that is only slightly different from last year.
"Current futures suggest that grower returns will still be consistent with loan values or just slightly better for this year’s crop, Adams said. "Corn prices have fared slightly better than either cotton or soybeans, and as a result, we may see some acres shift from cotton into corn. As an offset, changes in the peanut program under the ’02 farm bill may lead to additional acres shifted into cotton."
He said the decline in ELS acreage comes in response to prices that remain pressured below historical averages.
Prospective ’03 US Cotton Plantings
|Brazil Requests Dispute Settlement Panel on US Cotton|
Brazil has requested a formal World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel as a continuation of its November request for consultations with the US concerning virtually all aspects of the US cotton program. Brazil charged that the cotton program violated the US’ obligations under the WTO agricultural agreements and US commitments under the so-called peace clause.
US officials met with representatives of the Brazilian government in Geneva in December and January pursuant to the Brazilian request for consultations. The Brazilian WTO complaint is broad and far-reaching. It will require the first clear-cut interpretation of the "peace clause" contained in the WTO agreement. Brazil also challenges the Export Credit Guarantee Program and Step 2 of the cotton competitiveness provisions.
|Arkansas, Oklahoma Receive $14 Million for Eradication Loans|
Agriculture Secretary Veneman announced that USDA is providing $14 million in low-interest loans to help eliminate the boll weevil in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization (OBWEO) and Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation are each receiving $7 million. The funds will pay for various program costs including pheromone traps to detect weevil populations and carefully applied treatments to eliminate the pest. This is the first time the OBWEO has received a boll weevil eradication loan from USDA. The Arkansas foundation has received loans every year since ’99, totaling more than $34 million.
|USDA Proposes $74 Billion FY04 Budget|
USDA’s share of President Bush's proposed $2.2 trillion budget for fiscal ’04 was announced by Secretary of Agriculture Veneman, who noted that it provides record spending for farm conservation measures, food safety protection and nutrition and food assistance programs.
USDA’s proposal includes $74 billion for farm programs, food safety, conservation, nutrition, rural housing and food aid abroad. As announced earlier, the total program level funding for farm bill conservation programs increases by $1.7 billion, from $2.2 billion in FY01 to almost $3.9 billion in FY04. This includes $432 million for conservation technical assistance in support of farm bill implementation.
The budget request includes $2 billion for the Conservation Reserve Program (+$139 million); $850 million for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (+$255 million); $250 million for the Wetlands Reserve Program to enroll an additional 200,000 acres; $112 million for the Farmland Protection Program (+$27 million); $85 million for the Grassland Reserve Program (+$13 million): $51 million for Ground and Surface Water Conservation (+$13 million); $42 million for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (+$16 million); $19 million for the new Conservation Security Program; and $8 million for water conservation and water quality enhancements in the Klamath Basin of Oregon and California.
The proposal includes $6.2 billion for export promotion and foreign market development efforts, an 18% increase or $961 million in additional spending since FY01. Included is funding for USDA’s market development programs, including the Market Access and Cooperator Programs, which are increased by $15 million. A program level of $4.2 billion is provided for CCC export credit guarantee activities.
|Dole, Talent Will Chair Senate Subcommittees|
The Senate Agriculture Committee named subcommittee chairs, with new Senators Dole (R-NC) and Talent (R-MO) filling 2 of the 4 posts.
Sen. Dole will chair the Production and Price Competitiveness Subcommittee, which oversees price and income supports for cotton, dairy, feed grains, wheat, tobacco, peanuts, sugar, wool, rice, soybeans and minor oilseeds. Sen. Talent was named head of the Marketing, Inspection and Product Promotion Subcommittee. It has jurisdiction over export and food aid programs, marketing orders, check-off programs and meat, flower, fruit, vegetable and livestock inspection.
Sen. Crapo (R-ID) was approved as chairman of the Forestry, Conservation and Rural Revitalization Subcommittee, which oversees rural development, farm credit, crop insurance, forests and soil conservation. Sen. Fitzgerald (R-IL) will chair the Research, Nutrition and General Legislation Subcommittee. Its portfolio includes anti-hunger programs, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, federal pesticide laws, agricultural research and animal welfare.
|EQIP Proposal Out for Comment|
The proposed rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) has been released for a 30-day public comment period. EQIP, amended in the ’02 farm bill, is a voluntary conservation program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that promotes environmental quality and assists producers to meet local, state and federal regulations. Funds will help farmers and ranchers install conservation practices that protect natural resources by reducing soil erosion, improving water use efficiencies and protecting grazing land.
Through the rule making process, NRCS has streamlined program administration and addressed several primary statutory changes in the proposed rule, including: 1) up to 90% cost share for limited resource and beginning producers, 2) a payment limitation of $450,000 per qualified individual or entity for all FY02-07 EQIP contracts, 3) providing livestock producers with cost-share assistance for waste storage facilities regardless of size but with a comprehensive nutrient management plan and 4) allocating 60% of EQIP funds toward livestock-related practices nationally.
The proposed FY04 agriculture budget includes $850 million for EQIP to install conservation measures such as erosion control and water quality enhancement and $51 million for ground and surface water conservation.
To view the proposed rule with NRCS’ request for comments, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
|USDA Announces Action Designed to Facilitate Signup|
Secretary of Agriculture Veneman announced that producers who did not own or farm eligible land in previous years and cannot obtain historical production data, may use a yield established by using similar farms in the area. The change applies to counter-cyclical payment yields if updating base for covered commodities and for direct payment yields for oilseeds.
Prior to notification, producers unable to obtain production evidence had to accept 75% of the county average yield. The deadline for completed signup to elect base and yield options rather than accept default assignments is April 1. Producers who have completed signup may utilize the new option prior to April 1.
The Farm Service Agency recently released Notice CM-454 to clarify adjustments when double-cropped acreage history results in greater payment acreage than effective cropland. Notice CN-946 updates grades eligible for cotton coarse-count adjustment.
|Reports Indicate US Will Not Challenge EU on New Biotech Products|
With war looming in Iraq, the Bush Administration has decided against challenging the European Union for its ban on biotech food, according to reports.
A New York Times article quotes an unidentified "senior White House official," who says there is no point in testing Europeans on food while "they are being tested on Iraq."
The US Trade Representative’s office has considered action against the EU for its 4-year-plus ban on approving new biotech food products for sale in the region. The Times reported that a cabinet meeting on the issue was cancelled as European ag officials came to Washington to argue for patience. Any action in the World Trade Organization between the US and the EU appears to be postponed for now.
|Cotton Foundation Gains 3 Members|
Agrimar Corp., Flowering Branch, GA, (www.goemar.com) offers a range of fertilization and growth biostimulants. Honeywell, Inc. of Hopewell, VA, (www.sulfn.com) offers Sulf-NÔ Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0-24S), a dry fertilizer that supplies 21 pounds of nitrogen (N) and 24 pounds of sulfur (S) in every 100 pounds of material. Shaffner Technologies of Knoxville, TN, (www.schaffnertech.com) manufactures IsoTester® and GinWizard™ instrumentation and software, respectively, for in-gin lint quality measurements and process control.
|Prices Effective February 7-13, 2003|
Adjusted World Price, SLM 1 1/16 44.44 cents*
Current 3135 c.i.f. Northern Europe 57.50 cents