|President Reiterates Veto Threat|
During Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer’s swearing in ceremony, President Bush said the farm bill legislation Congress is now considering seems to lack reform, spends too much money and raises taxes -- comments that parallel remarks he made on Jan. 28 in his State of the Union address, where he said he would veto any bill that raises taxes.
The Administration’s farm bill proposal calls for: denying commodity subsidies to people with AGI above $200,000 a year; keeping the $2.5 million a year AGI limit for access to land stewardship programs; attributing payments to individuals; ending the three-entity rule; mandating tighter rules on who is "actively engaged" if they do not provide labor; and keeping landowners who take a share of the crop as rent eligible for subsidies.
At the swearing, President Bush said it is critical for farmers and consumers to have a good farm bill in place.
“Ed (Schafer) is going to work with members of both parties on a bill that spends the people's money wisely, doesn't raise taxes, reforms and tightens subsidy payments -- a farm bill that will benefit the entire economy,” the President said. “I'm confident we can come together to get a good farm bill -- but if Congress sends me legislation that raises taxes or [does] not make needed reforms, I'm going to veto it.”
Saying that Secretary Schafer understands the importance of a good farm bill, President Bush said the Administration’s priorities for USDA include “working to make our strong agriculture sector even stronger. Ed understands what I know -- it makes a lot of sense to make sure that we can grow our own food. It's in our national security interest that we're self-sufficient in food. Farm income, farm equity and farm exports have all reached all-time records. The best way to keep the ag economy growing is to open up new markets for America's crops and farm products around the world.”
Schafer, scheduled to address the Joint Session of Delegates at the NCC’s Annual Meeting in Memphis on Feb. 9, responded that he has listened to farmers and ranchers and landowners about what they want in a farm bill and he looks forward “to engaging in the process because I believe in the principles that were set forth for the new farm bill from the President of the United States.”
|Senate Names Farm Bill Conferees|
The Senate announced conferees for the upcoming conference on the omnibus farm bill.
Representing Senate Democrats are: Senate Ag Committee and Conference Chairman Harkin (IA); Finance Chairman Baucus (MT.), Budget Committee Chairman Conrad (ND); Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT.), Lincoln (AR); and Stabenow (MI).
Representing Republican Senators are: Agriculture Ranking Member Chambliss (GA); Lugar (IN.); ranking Finance Republican Grassley (IA); ranking Appropriations member Cochran (MS); and Roberts (KS).
Harkin said he looked forward to working with House Agriculture Chairman Peterson (R-MN) and Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer "in reaching our goals of a farm bill that makes important investments in conservation, renewable energy, nutrition and rural development."
|Sales, Shipments Steady|
Net export sales for the week ending Jan. 31 were 257,000 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’07-08 sales to slightly more than 9.5 million. Total sales at the same point in the ’06-07 marketing year were approximately 7.3 million bales. Total new crop (’08-09) sales are 316,400 bales.
Shipments for the week were 208,400 bales, bringing total exports to date to 6.3 million bales, compared with the 4.0 million bales at the comparable point in the ’06-07 marketing year.
|Survey Sees 9.5 Million Acres|
US cotton producers intend to plant 9.5 million acres of cotton this spring, down almost 12% from ’07, according to the NCC’s 25th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.
Upland cotton intentions are 9.32 million acres, a decrease of 11.6% from ’07. Extra long staple (ELS) intentions of 231,000 acres represent a 21.1% decrease from ’07. The results were announced at the NCC’s ’08 Annual Meeting.
Assuming an average abandonment rate, total upland and ELS harvested area would be about 8.76 million acres. Applying state-level yield assumptions to projected harvested acres generates a crop of about 15.38 million bales. This compares to ’07’s total production of 19.03 million bales. Assuming average seed-to-lint ratios, ’08 cottonseed production is projected at 5.28 million tons, down from 6.60 million last year.
The NCC survey was mailed in mid-December to about 40% of the producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.
Dr. Stephen Slinsky, assistant director of NCC’s Economic Services, said, “Despite cotton prices being approximately 15 cents above year-ago levels, the strength of futures prices for competing crops continue to draw acreage away from cotton. Coupled with USDA’s recent wheat acreage report, it is evident that a wheat-soybean double-cropping rotation will attract acres from cotton and possibly corn.”
Based on survey results, the Southeast, Mid-South, Southwest and Far West show intended upland cotton planting decreases of 12%, 26%, 2% and 39%, respectively.
Survey results for all Southeastern states indicate declining cotton acreage, shifting to a double-crop of winter wheat and soybeans. The Carolinas reported the largest percentage declines, between 20% and 22%. Respondents in Alabama indicated an 11% reduction in cotton acreage while Florida growers are planning a 17% cutback. Georgia and Virginia respondents indicated the smallest declines of 5% and 6%, respectively.
All Mid-South states indicate a shift from cotton to wheat and soybeans with major percentage decreases in Mississippi (-31), Arkansas (-30) and Tennessee (-29). Smaller declines are expected in Louisiana (-18) and Missouri (-8).
“This means that 2008 Mid-South cotton area intentions would be less than half of that region’s 2006 level,” Slinsky said, noting that there was a sharp decline in ’07 acreage there, too.
In the Southwest, Kansas and Oklahoma were the only states that indicate cotton acreage increases – with 16% and 3% increases, respectively. Texas growers indicated intentions of 4.8 million acres. While this is a 2.3% drop from last year, Texas is expected to account for half of all US cotton acreage in ’08.
The West region showed a projected 38.7% decline. In California, concerns over water availability and competition from specialty crops are contributing to a sharp decline. If that state’s growers plant the indicated 91,000 acres to cotton, it would represent a 53.3% decrease from ’07. The survey revealed that Arizona and New Mexico growers intend to decrease upland area by 25% and 27%, respectively.
Each of the four states producing ELS cotton indicated declining area. In Arizona, California and Texas, declines were approximately 20%. For additional details see following table and/or go to http://www.cotton.org/econ/reports/intentions.cfm
|No Change for ’07 US Crop|
In its February report, USDA sees a ’07-08 US crop 19.03 million bales, unchanged from the January report. US exports were lowered 300,000 bales to 15.70 million due to the slow pace of export shipments and a reduced import forecast for China. Mill use was unchanged at 4.60 million resulting in total offtake of 20.30 million bales. Ending stocks for ’07-08 are projected to be 8.20 million bales for a stocks-to-use ratio of 40.4%.
The report put US ’06-07 cotton production at 21.59 million bales with mill use and exports unchanged from the January report at 4.95 million and 13.01 million bales, respectively. That estimated total offtake is 17.96 million bales, generating ending stocks of 9.48 million bales. The estimated ending stocks-to-use ratio for ’06-07 is 52.8%.
USDA raised its ’07-08 world production estimate 960,000 bales to 119.21 million from January’s report. The beginning stocks estimate was lowered 50,000 bales to 60.71 million. Projected world mill use decreased 1.70 million bales to 126.32 million. The projected world ending stocks for ’07-08 is now pegged at 57.33 million bales. This has a corresponding stocks-to-use ratio of 45.4%.
|Carbofuran Support Reiterated|
The NCC submitted comments in support of carbofuran to the Scientific Advisory Panel formed by EPA in compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to review the agency's interpretation of carbofuran risk assessment.
The NCC previously submitted comments to the EPA during the risk assessment review emphasizing the importance of maintaining the carbofuran chemistry for management of resistant aphids. The NCC has cited previous Section 18 uses approved by the EPA prior to the release of the neonicotinoid chemistries and has brought attention to the EPA requirement for field monitoring of treated areas to document bird mortality, if any. The bird monitoring data did not support the EPA's model prediction of avian mortality. The NCC urged the EPA to recognize the limited number of chemistries for aphid control and the need to maintain accessibility to an alternative material for resistance management of aphids.
Carbofuran (Furadan) is an insecticide labeled in cotton for in-furrow application at planting to control thrips, but a foliar label for aphid control submitted to the EPA by FMC has been pending since the mid-’90's. Several cotton production states requested Section 18 exemptions for the foliar use of Furadan to control aphids resistant to standard aphicides during the mid- to- late ’90's and early ’00 (prior to the release of the neonicotinoid chemistry).
|Prices Effective Feb. 8-14, '08|