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|Administration Releases Budget Details|
The Obama Administration released new details of their FY10 budget proposal, general provisions of which were originally announced in late February (see 2/27 Cotton’s Week). The latest documents provide some additional details for the proposed changes in agriculture provisions.
Specifically, the President’s budget calls for the elimination of cotton storage credits. In addition, payment limit provisions and eligibility rules would undergo dramatic changes relative to the ’08 farm law. The Administration’s budget proposes to retain the $40,000 limit on direct payments and the $65,000 limit on counter-cyclical payments, and also institutes a $145,000 limit on marketing loan gains. In addition, the proposal would deny direct payments to farmers with gross sales in excess of $500,000. The budget document also calls for a number of changes to crop insurance programs, including a reduction in premium subsidies of five percentage points for all coverage levels.
At the time of the original release in late February, the NCC issued a statement expressing serious concern that the proposal will have the effect of undermining confidence in a stable farm policy.
The Administration’s latest budget documents come after Congress approved their FY10 budget resolution, which did not incorporate any reductions in programs authorized by the ’08 farm law (see 5/1 Cotton’s Week). Furthermore, the Administration’s proposals do not have any effect on current farm law provisions unless acted on by Congress. However, the President’s budget blueprint clearly signals their policy priorities and could influence future deliberations in Congress.
The NCC will continue to monitor Congressional activities and strongly oppose any attempts to weaken the provisions of the current farm law.
|Mississippian May Get USDA Post|
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Homer Lee Wilkes as USDA undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment.
"For nearly thirty years, Homer has worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service where he has been dedicated to conserving and improving the environment in multiple states," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "It would be a privilege to have a public servant like Homer join the USDA leadership team to help carry out President Obama's vision of protecting our natural assets."
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the primary federal agency that works with private landowners to help them conserve, maintain and improve their natural resources. The Agency emphasizes voluntary science-based conservation, technical assistance, partnerships, incentive-based programs and cooperative problem solving at the community level.
Wilkes is a 28 year veteran of the NRCS, currently serving as state conservationist in Mississippi where he administers the natural resources conservation program for the state. He also has served as a budget officer for NRCS in Amherst, MA; the assistant financial manager and fiscal specialist for NRCS in Washington, DC, and as the chief of administrative staff for the South Technical Center for NRCS in Fort Worth, TX.
Wilkes, who resides in Madison, MS, received his Bachelors, Masters of Business Administration and Ph.D. in Urban Conservation Planning and Higher Education from Jackson State U.
|USDA Census Data Available|
’07 Census of Agriculture information now is available at the congressional district level in online profiles published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
“The new congressional district profiles provide a snapshot of agriculture at a local level,” said NASS Deputy Administrator Carol House. “This information will help elected officials make decisions based on current and accurate information and they are a useful tool for farmers and others interested in American agriculture at the local level.”
The congressional district profiles show changes in key areas since the last census was taken in ’02. They include data on such things as the number of farms and acres in farmland, the demographics of local farmers, livestock inventory and crop production, and total sales of agricultural products. In addition, for each data category, the ranking of the district in the state and the nation is shown.
Each district profile is a two-page pdf file that can be downloaded or printed from www.agcensus.usda.gov.
The Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years, is a complete count of the nation’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation.
|CPSC Chair Chosen|
President Obama named a former South Carolina education superintendent to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and announced plans to increase the number of its commissioners, the White House announced.
President Obama intends to nominate Inez Moore Tenenbaum, who served two terms as South Carolina's state Superintendent of Education, to chair the commission, the White House said. The president wants Robert Adler, an expert in consumer product safety issues and a professor at the U. of North Carolina, to serve as a new CPSC commissioner.
President Obama intends to increase the number of commissioners to five from three and to increase the commission's budget to $107 million, which the White House said is a 71% jump from FY07.
"It is a top priority of my administration to ensure that the products the American people depend on are safe," the President said in a statement. "We must do more to protect the American public -- especially our nation's children -- from being harmed by unsafe products."
|’09 BWCC Proceedings Available|
A CD containing the proceedings from the ’05-09 Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC) is being mailed to all ’09 BWCC attendees who requested the CD.
The ’09 BWCC Proceedings also have been posted on the BWCC website, http://www.cotton.org/beltwide. A username and password are required to access the proceedings. NCC and Cotton Foundation members can use the same username and password used to access the NCC website’s Members Only area.
Questions should be directed to Debbie Richter at 901-274-9030.
|Cotton Planting Progressing|
As of May 3, USDA reports that cotton plantings stand at 24% complete -- compared to a five-year average of 28%. Good progress was made in selected states since the April 29 report showed that 16% of the US crop was planted.
In particular, good progress was seen in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi between April 29 and May 3. Plantings in each of the three states are now on schedule with their five-year average. Plantings in the western states also are on schedule. The most significant planting delays occur in Alabama and Missouri, with only 13% and 17% progress, respectively. Normally, both states should be approaching 40%.
Texas plantings stand at 22% complete, as compared to the five-year average of 24%. The normal planting window is just beginning in the Texas High Plains, but significant concerns persist about the dry conditions in south Texas.
Complete state-by-state progress is at http://www.cotton.org/econ/cropinfo/progress.cfm.
|Shipments Surge, Sales Slip|
Net export sales for the week ending April 30 were 124,000 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’08-09 sales to about 13.0 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’07-08 marketing year were about 13.8 million bales. Total new crop (’09-10) sales are 641,500 bales.
Shipments for the week were 436,500 bales – a marketing year high – bringing total exports to date to 9.1 million bales, compared with the 9.6 million bales at the comparable point in the ’07-08 marketing year.
|EPA Says Endosulfan Loss Minimal|
EPA’s updated benefits assessments of endosulfan for potato, cotton, apples, tomatoes, cucumber, melons, pumpkin and squash finds that the loss of endosulfan will be minimal to cotton, and the agency is requesting public comments by July 6.
This action is in response to a Feb. 19, ’08 petition filed by the National Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network North America. The petition requested that EPA both cancel all registrations and revoke all tolerances for endosulfan saying that endosulfan “harms the hormone system, and low levels of exposure in the womb have been linked to male reproductive harm, other birth defects and possibly autism.”
EPA’s Biological and Economic Analysis Division (BEAD) considered two strategies to mitigate worker exposure to endosulfan - elimination of aerial applications and extension of the Restricted Entry Interval to address, respectively, concerns for workers: 1) who mix, load and apply endosulfan and 2) who conduct various field activities following an application of endosulfan. According to BEAD, both strategies could make the use of endosulfan impracticable for growers. As a result, growers are likely to switch to alternatives.
Endosulfan currently has a relatively minor overall role in cotton pest management nationwide but is used on about 25% of the cotton acreage in Arizona and 9% in California, where high-value long staple cotton is produced. Effective alternatives from several chemical classes exist for control of the lygus bug and whitefly on cotton in Arizona and California. Endosulfan's most important niche is in Arizona where it is used in rotation with acephate, oxamyl, and flonicamid for Lygus bug resistance management.
BEAD believes that endosulfan' s current role in resistance management is minimal and that the loss of endosulfan will not result in adverse resistance management outcomes. Given endosulfan use patterns, its target pests, effectiveness of its alternatives and the cost of its alternatives, BEAD concludes that there will be minimal impact on cotton producers that are not likely to exceed 1% of net operating revenue if endosulfan is not available.
Comments on EPA Impact Assessments on Endosulfan; Request for Comments and Additional Information on Importance of Use should be identified by Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2002-0262 and submitted by July 6 to http://www.regulations.gov.
|MSMA Re-Registration for Cotton Done|
EPA has revised certain provisions of the ’06 Re-Registration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the organic arsenical pesticides - which include MSMA.
In the ’06 RED, EPA concluded that all uses of the inorganic arsenicals were ineligible for re-registration primarily because of risks to drinking water resources. Additional data received since ’06 supported a decision to allow re-registration of MSMA for use on cotton only, contingent on the development of confirmatory data.
In Feb. ’09, EPA reached an agreement in principle with the registrants which, over time, removes from the market all organic arsenical pesticide uses, except the use of MSMA on cotton, for which confirmatory data must be received by Aug. ’10. The agreement also implements new restrictions to protect drinking water resources.
The Federal Register notice announcing these revisions is at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-EST/2009/May/Day-06/p10330.htm.
|Prices Effective May 8-14, '09|