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|Panel Approves Appropriations Bill|
The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agenciesapproved the FY10 agriculture appropriations bill withoutany amendments to commodity, conservation or export promotion programs in the ’08 farm law.
According to a press release from the Subcommittee, the bill approved on June 11, which will not be publicly released until the full committee marks up on June 18, increases funding for the Food and Drug Administration and domestic and international food aid programs. The bill also provides increased funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
According to reports, the Subcommittee did not accept any of the Administration’s recommendations to modify farm bill provisions. The Administration’s budget proposal included termination of cotton storage credits, a reduction in Market Access Program funding, a new gross revenue test to determine eligibility for direct payments and changes in conservation programs.
The NCC was joined by other organizations in a letter urging the Subcommittee not to include changes in farm law. In addition, 12 Cotton Belt Representatives wrote Chairman DeLauro (D-CT) urging her not to terminate storage credits.
The full appropriations committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on June 18 and the House is scheduled to consider the bill on July 9.
|CPSC Confirmation Hearing Set|
The confirmation hearing for the President's nominee to chair the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has been scheduled for June 16.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will conduct the hearing of Inez M. Tenenbaum of South Carolina to serve as CPSC chairman. Sen. Pryor (D-AR), who chairs the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, will chair the hearing.
In a related development, the CPSC is seeking written comments on its agenda and priorities for FY11 and is considering revisions to its strategic plan. The current plan was prepared before enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which requires certain new regulatory actions.
The agency also expects to move to more modern testing lab facilities during '10.
|NCC v EPA Case Updated|
On Jan. 7, '09, the Sixth Circuit Court vacated an EPA rule that exempted pesticide applications to, over or near waters from the requirement of a Clean Water Act permit.
The parties in the case, NCC v. EPA, (CropLife, American Forest & Paper and American Farm Bureau) submitted two separate requests to the court – one for a stay of the mandate and the second for a full court case rehearing.
The court now has granted a two-year stay of the mandate, which results in a postponement of the court decision's effective date. This stay means that no permits will be required for two years.
The court has not ruled on the request for a rehearing and, according to attorneys familiar with the process, there is no specific timeline in which the court has to make the decision.
However, the stay's granting may not be a good sign for a positive decision on the rehearing. If a review of the case was imminent, there automatically would be a stay of the ruling until the court made its final decision. The delay in any response from the court could mean that they are still preparing a statement on the request.
|Climate Change Bill Hearing Held|
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Peterson (D-MN) held a hearing on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (the Waxman/Markey bill), which was reported out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 21.
The Waxman/Markey bill would establish a cap-and-trade program for certain greenhouse gases, which proponents of the theory say are responsible for global warming. Every identified source is limited on the amount of greenhouse gas that it can emit and must have an emission allowance for every ton of carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere. The bill does not include agriculture as a regulated entity but also contains no provisions for agricultural offsets. Consequently, Chairman Peterson, most of the members of the Agriculture Committee and a number of agriculture/agribusiness organizations have expressed opposition to H.R. 2454 in is current form.
For more than three hours, Agriculture Committee members from both parties grilled Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the bill’s effect on
Other Committee concerns included the economic impact of increased energy and input costs for farmers and resulting competitive disadvantages in international trade.
Secretary Vilsack, who would not say whether the administration supports the bill, stated, “What I support is the notion that there’s obviously work yet to be done on this bill … I believe that, at the end of the day, agriculture’s role in cap and trade will be acknowledged.”
Other hearing witnesses included representatives from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Assoc. of Conservation Districts, National Corn Growers Assoc., National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, Fertilizer Institute and National Rural Electric Cooperative Assoc. Written testimonies are available on the Committee website at http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/index.html.
House Democrat Leaders are pressing to bring the bill to the floor by the end of June, but there are increasing concerns about its impact on industry and agriculture. Very few rural Democrats and Republicans are expected to support the legislation without major modifications, and even then their support is doubtful.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman and principal co-author Waxman (D-CA) has stated that he wants to get the bill to the floor before the July Fourth recess but Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) has not set a timeline for consideration of the climate change bill though she has expressed interest in bringing the legislation to the floor before the July 4 recess.
Because the Agriculture Committee has not scheduled a bill markup, it is uncertain how agriculture’s concerns will be addressed. Reportedly, Chairman Waxman and Chairman Peterson met in Speaker Pelosi’s office after the hearing and said they were moving toward an agreement, though they did not provide any further details.
The Senate reportedly is prepared to move ahead on the climate issue this summer. Sen. Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, indicated she intends to mark up legislation before the August recess, using the House bill as a starting point.
In related news, officials from
Qin Gang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that
The refusal is a setback for President Obama’s efforts to gain support for an agreement at
Hopes that the
|Senators Thanked for Rail Bill Effort|
The NCC joined other agricultural and shipper groups in thanking Sens. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kohl (D-WI) on their agreement to work together on rail legislation for consideration by the full Senate later this year. The comprehensive legislation would tackle both railroad anti-trust exemptions and Surface Transportation Board reformation.
Members on both the House and Senate side are contemplating rail legislation during this Congress. The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to hold a markup of the House version of a bill that would eliminate the railroads anti-trust exemptions; however, the hearing was postponed to a later date.
|’08-09 US Exports Raised|
In its June report, USDA increased US exports by 200,000 bales to 12.70 million bales. USDA left US ’08-09 cotton production and mill use unchanged at 12.82 million bales and 3.55 million bales, respectively. That estimated total offtake now stands at 16.25 million bales, generating ending stocks of 6.60 million bales and an estimated ending stocks-to-use ratio of 40.6%.
USDA projects a ’09-10
For the ’08-09 marketing year, world production was lowered 790,000 bales to 107.09 million bales. World mill use was raised 420,000 bales to 110.50 million bales. Consequently, those world ending stocks are estimated to be 61.16 million bales for a stocks-to-use ratio of 55.3%.
USDA estimates ’09-10 crop year cotton production at 106.26 million bales, down 200,000 bales from last month’s estimate. Mill use is estimated at 113.42 million bales, down 120,000 bales from last month. World ending stocks are estimated to be 56.54 million bales for a stocks-to-use ratio of 49.9%.
|China Launches Cotton Promotion Program|
Called “China Cotton,” the promotion program is aimed at improving
The CCA acknowledged the work of CCI and Cotton Incorporated in cotton promotion and encouraged other cotton organizations to join in the promotion of cotton products. The
|Sales Steady, Shipments Surge|
Net export sales for the week ending June 4 were 139,200 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’08-09 sales to about 13.6 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’07-08 marketing year were about 15.3 million bales. Total new crop (’09-10) sales are 821,900 bales.
Shipments were 401,700 bales, bringing total exports to date to 10.9 million bales, compared with the 11.1 million bales at the comparable point in the ’07-08 marketing year. With a little less than two months remaining in the marketing year, weekly shipments must average roughly 225,000 bales to reach the USDA projection of 12.7 million bales.
|Prices Effective June 12-18, '09|