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|Senate Addresses Farm Legislation|
The Senate completed work on new farm legislation. The vote was 79 in favor and 14 voting no. Prior to final passage, the Senate had agreed (78-12) to invoke cloture which means debate is now limited to amendments that are germane to the bill. During debate on some of the 40 amendments that under a previous agreement could be considered, the Senate rejected several amendments that would have made significant and detrimental changes to the legislation approved by the Agriculture Committee.
During consideration of an amendment offered by Sens. Grassley (R-IA) and Dorgan (D-ND), Sens. Chambliss (R-GA) and Lincoln (D-AR) made strong and effective statements in opposition. Sens. Landrieu (D-LA), Isakson (R-GA), and Sessions (R-AL) also spoke in opposition.
Under an agreement reached to deal with controversial amendments, Senators agreed that the Grassley-Dorgan amendment and others would require 60 votes to pass. The vote on the Grassley-Dorgan amendment was 56-43. Because it failed to receive the required 60 votes, the amendment was withdrawn.
An amendment offered by Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) to establish a $750,000 limit on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), regardless of the source of the income, to determine eligibility for commodity program benefits also failed to achieve 60 votes (48-47) and was withdrawn.
The Senate also rejected (37-58) an amendment offered by Sens. Lugar (R-IN) and Lautenberg (D-NJ), which would have eliminated the marketing loan, phased out direct and counter-cyclical payments and replaced them with several revenue insurance programs.
The record of votes can be found in the Senate farm bill area of the NCC’s web site at http://www.cotton.org/issues/members/07farmbill/senate/amendvotes.cfm.
The Senate rejected (32-63) an amendment by Sen. Brown (D-OH) and others to cut crop insurance subsidies. The Senate accepted an amendment by Sen. Coburn (R-OK) to limit payments to deceased individuals and their estates to one-year.
|Sales, Shipments Surge|
Net export sales for the week ending Dec. 6 were 378,300 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’07-08 sales to slightly more than 7.8 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’06-07 marketing year were approximately 5.7 million bales. Total new crop (’08-09) sales are 214,900 bales.
Shipments were 297,300 bales, bringing total exports to date to 4.7 million bales, compared with the 2.6 million bales at the comparable point in the ’06-07 marketing year.
|US, World Stocks Seen Declining|
USDA’s December report projected US ’07-08 mill use and exports to be unchanged from the previous month at 4.60 million bales and 16.20 million bales, respectively. This generates an ending stocks value of 7.70 million bales and a projected stocks-to-use use ratio of 37.0%.
For ’06-07, USDA estimated the US crop at 21.59 million bales, unchanged from the November report. US mill use and exports also were unchanged at 4.95 million bales and 13.01 million bales, respectively. Ending stocks for ’06-07 are estimated at 9.48 million bales for a stocks-to-use ratio of 52.8%.
The December report lowered ’07-08 world production 600,000 bales to 118.76 million bales from November’s report. The beginning stocks estimate was raised 130,000 bales to 60.96 million bales. Projected world mill use was decreased 970,000 bales to 128.27 million bales. The projected world ending stocks for ’07-08 is now pegged at 55.29 million bales for a corresponding stocks-to-use ratio of 43.1%.For the ’06-07 marketing year, USDA estimates world production at 122.07 million bales, up 130,000 bales from the November report. World mill use was raised 90,000 bales from the November report to an estimated 123.38 million bales. Consequently, world ending stocks for the ’06-07 marketing year are estimated to be 60.96 million bales, for a stocks-to-use ratio of 49.4%.
|Yield Record Still Projected|
In its December report, USDA projected the ’07-08 US crop to reach 18.99 million bales, up 130,000 bales from the November report. The report also puts harvested area at 10.54 million acres, implying a non-harvested area of 304,000 acres and a resulting abandonment rate of about 2.80%. The national average yield per harvested acre is seen at 864 pounds, 83 pounds above the five-year average. If realized, that would be the largest US yield on record surpassing the 855 pounds per acre of ’04. State and regional estimates are shown in the following table.
|USDA Reminds Producers of ’07 Crop Year CCP|
In a recent announcement, USDA reminded producers of the CCP payment timing, if any are warranted. By statute, the ’07 crop counter-cyclical payments can be made in only two installments, a change from prior crop years when counter-cyclical payments were made in three installments. For ’07, if partial payments are made, the first installment will equal 40% of the projected total payment and will be made after the first six months of the beginning of the marketing year. The final payment is made after the end of the marketing year.
Any partial payments for producers with upland cotton, rice or peanut base acres will be announced on or after Feb. 1. Any partial payments for producers with corn, grain sorghum or soybean base acres will be announced on or after March 1.
USDA announced that because market prices are high, producers with wheat, barley or oats base acres who are enrolled in USDA's direct and counter-cyclical payment program will not receive partial ’07-crop year counter-cyclical payments.
Producers enrolled in the program may receive counter-cyclical payments when effective prices for eligible commodities are less than their respective target prices specified in the ’02 farm bill. USDA calculates these program payments based on historical base acreage and payment yields, not current production. USDA used the November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, which was released on Nov. 9, to project these rates and determined that the effective prices exceed their respective target prices.
The ’02 farm bill requires that any overpayments to producers must be repaid. If not repaid, USDA may deduct overpayments from any future USDA payments.More information on this program is available at local Farm Service Agency offices and at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.
|Spill Rule Comments Submitted|
The NCC and National Cotton Ginners Assoc. responded to an EPA request for comments to amend the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule that affects farms, gins and oil mills.
The organizations asked EPA to consider that the: 1) gin building structure as secondary containment should factor directly on the applicability of SPCC to a facility and 2) oil contained in a gin bale press should be outside the scope of the SPCC rule and not counted in the “aggregate oil on site.” EPA also was urged to allow Tier I qualified facilities (those less than 10,000 gallons in the aggregate with no single storage unit greater than 5,000 gallons) to demonstrate compliance through the use of a simple, self-certifying statement.
|Endosulfan Assessment Extension Sought|
NCC has joined 15 other agricultural allies to request a 60-day extension of the comment period for the Endosulfan risk assessments and the use/benefit updates.
The request came after EPA recently released revised risk assessments for the insecticide, which is critical to whitefly control. The request was made in order to provide sufficient time to research and refine critical use/benefit data and to review the vast amount of complex modeling claims contained in the revised risk assessments.
In the previous risk assessments that were part of the ’02 Re-registration Eligibility Document for Endosulfan, the agency reported areas of interest that did not have sufficient data. The recent revised risk assessments indicate new data was submitted that altered the results of the previous risk assessments.The EPA released the revised risk assessments notice in the Federal Register on Nov. 16 and posted a deadline date of Jan. 16, ’08 for comments on the revised assessments as well as the agency’s request for updated use/benefit information.
|Industry Commitment Reinforced|
A Cotton Council International producer delegation visited Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to reinforce the US industry’s commitment to supplying these markets with fiber and value-added products.
Eight producers represented Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina and Mississippi. The COTTON USA event provided them with an opportunity to see the impact of various trade agreements on the business complex and assess the outlook for the future.
In Mexico, they received a briefing on the status of the Mexican industry and its place in the global economy from Luis Del Calle, former trade minister in the Fox administration and NAFTA negotiator. They met with 10 of the top mills, including a visit to Kaltex, one of the largest mills in the Western Hemisphere.
In Guatemala, the group saw Koramsa, a denim garment factory, toured the Korean sewing plant of Sae-A, and met with the largest Guatemalan spinner, Liztex. The US ambassador to Guatemala and all of the major Guatemalan mills also met with the group.
In Honduras, the producers visited Parkdale Yarn’s new yarn spinning facility, met with the owners of one of Honduras’ biggest “free zones,” Green Valley Industrial Park, and visited Coral Knits, one of Honduras’ most impressive knit fabric producers.The W. Hemisphere consumes about six million bales of US cotton fiber and value-added manufactured products.
|CCI Hosts Fiber Quality Seminars|
CCI and Cotton Incorporated hosted US Cotton Fiber Quality and Fiber Processing Seminars in Southeast Asia.
The week of seminars, aimed at educating US cotton customers, featured James Knowlton, chief, Standardization & Engineering Branch, Cotton Division, Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS), USDA; and Judd Briggs, manager, Fiber Implementation, Global Product Supply Chain for Cotton Incorporated. The well-attended seminars were held in Jakarta, Indonesia; Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam; and Bangkok, Thailand.Initial post-survey evaluations indicate participants increased their knowledge on the USDA cotton classing system and appreciated information on strategies to better utilize US cotton fiber.
|Prices Effective Dec. 14-20, '07|