- Disaster Assistance Program Sign-Up Begins
- White House Issues Guidance on Regulatory Review Plan
- Veneman: Farm Issues `Very Important' to New Administration
- Senate Committee Assignments Set
- Tax Cut Legislation Introduced
- Moderate Week for Export Sales
- Labor Secretary-Designate Chao Outlines Priorities
- Sleepwear Standards Reduce Consumer Confusion, Enhance Safety
- December Mill Use at 9.89 Million Bales
- Foundation Membership Increasingly Global
- Grown and Made Scholarships Established
- Effective Jan. 26-Feb. 1, '00
- Five-Day Average
Disaster Assistance Program Sign-Up Begins
Farm Service Agency (FSA) office began accepting applications for financial assistance for '00 crop weather-related losses on Jan. 18. Initial sign-up is essentially identical to '99 crop loss program, which allows producers to apply for assistance for yield losses and combined yield and quality losses. Separate sign-up for quality losses will be conducted later.
Some producers have expressed concern that FSA personnel are advising checks will be delayed due to President's instructions concerning regulations (see related article). Since regulations implementing '00 crop loss assistance program are being developed, President's executive order does not have any effect on process. USDA attorneys have advised FSA that regulation-implementing program must be published before checks can be issued. House Agriculture Committee staff and NCC have urged USDA to develop and publish necessary regulations as quickly as possible.
Because legislation provided such sums as may be necessary for '00 crop loss program, there will be no pro-ration of benefits. Producers signing up noted that FSA is using form which includes reference to possibility of pro-ration. FSA is being urged to delete language so producers and creditors have assurance that pro-ration is not authorized. NCC and committee will continue to urge USDA to implement assistance program as promptly as possible.
White House Issues Guidance on Regulatory Review Plan
Immediately upon taking office, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card advised all executive departments and agencies of following procedure:
- All new regulations, other than emergencies related to health and safety, should not be published until reviewed by department or agency head appointed by President Bush or until their designee reviews and approves regulatory action;
- Any regulation submitted but not yet published, should be withdrawn and reviewed;
- Any regulation published, but not yet effective, should have its implementation date temporarily postponed for 60 days; and,
- Any regulations promulgated pursuant to statutory or judicial deadlines are not affected by items 1-3 above.
Veneman: Farm Issues `Very Important' to New Administration
US agriculture sector can look forward to lot of attention from new administration, according to Ag Secretary Veneman. Farm issues are "very important" to President Bush, Veneman said in informal meeting with news media.
As evidence of Bush's high regard for agriculture issues, Veneman said, he is "first president-elect ever" to hold agriculture round table in order to better acquaint himself with farm issues he will face. Furthermore, USDA cabinet position "was one of the first" he appointed, she said.
Veneman said her first priority is organization but admitted no decisions have been made on political appointees to offices such as deputy USDA secretary and several undersecretary positions. However, when pressed, Veneman said slot she is most concerned about filling is that of undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service because of amount of assistance for farmers dealt with by Farm Service Agency.
Senate Committee Assignments Set
With final appointments, Senate Agriculture Committee reflects equal division of full Senate, with 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats filling seats. Committee will continue to be chaired by Sen. Lugar (R-IN).
Republican members include Sens. Helms (NC), Cochran (MS), McConnell (KY), Roberts (KS), Fitzgerald (IL), Thomas (WY), Allard (CO) and Hutchinson (AR).
Sen. Harkin (D-IA) will continue to serve as ranking member. Other Democrats are Sen. Leahy (VT), Conrad (ND), Daschle (SD), Baucus (MT), Lincoln (AR), Miller (GA), Stabenow (MI), Nelson (NE) and Dayton (OH).
Senate Finance Committee, which also has 10 members from each party, will be chaired by Sen. Grassley (R-IA), with other Republican members including Sens. Hatch (UT), Murkowski (AK), Nickles (OK), Gramm (TX), Lott (MS), Jeffords (VT), Thompson (TN), Snowe (ME) and Kyle (AZ). Sen. Baucus (D-MT) will serve as ranking Democrat and will be joined by Sens. Rockefeller (WV), Daschle (SD), Breaux (LA), Conrad (ND), Graham (FL), Bingaman (NM), Kerry (MA), Torricelli (NJ) and Lincoln (AR).
Tax Cut Legislation Introduced
Sens. Gramm (R-TX) and Miller (D-GA) introduced legislation that would cut taxes $1.3 billion over 10 years. Provisions would reduce marginal tax rates across board; increase child tax credit; erase marriage tax penalty; make research and development tax credit permanent; increase annual contribution limit for tax-favored education savings accounts; and phase out estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes.
Moderate Week for Export Sales
Net export sales for week ending Jan. 18 were about 97,000 bales (480-lb.), raising total '00-01 commitments to 5.37 million. At comparable point in '99-00, export commitments were about 5.90 million bales. Shipments for week were about 137,000 bales, bringing total exports to 2.42 million.
Labor Secretary-Designate Chao Outlines Priorities
Secretary of Labor-designate Chao, who immigrated to US from Chile, is first Asian-American woman nominated to US cabinet position. Wife of Sen. McConnell (R-KY) pledged support for increasing minimum wage while encouraging flexibility for rural areas and small businesses. During her confirmation hearing, Chao pledged that she will place priority on high tech job training, improve job access for disabled and modernize Labor Department. Her confirmation is expected in near future.
Sleepwear Standards Reduce Consumer Confusion, Enhance Safety
With National Burn Awareness Week scheduled Feb. 4-10, NCC reiterated its support of Consumer Products Safety Commission's (CPSC) Children's Sleepwear Flammability Standards. NCC also joined American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and other organizations in public service effort to remind families about safe sleepwear choices for children.
Effort comes as task force that includes Shriners Hospitals indicated plans to reintroduce bipartisan legislation to Congress early this year in support of new stricter standards for infants' and children's sleepwear. Shriners' ultimate goal is for all children's apparel to meet stricter standards.
Following CPSC's `99 reaffirmation of its amended standards, CPSC Commissioner Thomas Moore stated, . . ."The Commission has now gone through what amounts to a 4-step rulemaking on this issue. . . . I would hope before any member(s) of Congress contemplate taking further action in this area that they would read those 3 (briefing) packages, along with the most recent one, and not be guided by the misconceptions that have obscured this issue."
Dr. Phil Wakelyn, NCC senior scientist, environmental health and safety, said CPSC standards were amended by agency in '96 after years and millions of dollars of study and were reaffirmed in '99, when mandatory labeling was added. Standards are aimed at protecting children who are wearing sleepwear from small, open-flame sources when they are up and moving about. Labeling provisions of CPSC amendments help reduce confusion between what is considered sleepwear, underwear and playwear and offer consumer safe cotton alternative, he said. Labeling appears on non-flame resistant infant garments sized 9 months and under and snug-fitting garments for sizes 9 months to 14.
December Mill Use at 9.89 Million Bales
December (5-week month) cotton consumption in domestic mills was estimated at 379.5 million pounds for seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 9.89 million bales (480-lb.), according to Commerce Department. Consumption was higher than previous month's estimate but lower than last year's December annualized rate of 10.28 million bales.
Commerce revised November (4-week month) estimate up slightly to 330.41 million pounds, 232,000 pounds above previous estimate of 330.18. Seasonally adjusted annualized rate of consumption for November is 9.05 million 480-pound bales, 1.15 million bales below last November's estimate of 10.20 million bales.
Preliminary January domestic mill use of cotton and revised December figures will be released by Commerce on Feb. 28.
Foundation Membership Increasingly Global
In last quarter, Cotton Foundation gained 14 member firms-ranging from seed companies to precision ag equipment manufacturers-from around world.
New members include:
AutoFarm, Menlo Park, CA, manufacturer of GPS-based navigation system for automatically steering both wheeled and tracked vehicles at to-the-inch accuracy, www.gpsfarm.com and www.integrinautics.com; BEELINE Technologies, Fresno, CA, North American marketing company for Australia-based Agsystems, which manufactures BEELINE Navigator precision guidance system, www.beelinenavigator.com; California Planting Cotton Seed Distributors, Bakersfield, CA, grower-owned organization which develops, produces and distributes planting cotton seed for use in San Joaquin Valley and other regions of world, www.cpcsd.com.
Computronics Corp., Ltd., Bently, Western Australia, manufacturer of precision agriculture equipment, including cotton yield monitor under Farmscan division, www.computronics.com.au; E-Cotton.com, Memphis, TN, online commodity and information exchange for cotton industry, www.ecotton.com; Micro-Trak Systems, Inc., Eagle Lake, MN, manufacturer of wide array of precision agriculture equipment, www.micro-trak.com; QuickFarm, Inc., Charleston, SC, internet-based company catering to professional farmers by providing web site where they can procure goods and services, access essential agricultural information and seek assistance from various industry experts, www.quickfarm.com.
Redball LLC, Benson, MN, manufacturer of sprayers and other application equipment and accessories, www.redballproducts.com; Resolution Sciences Corp., Corte Madera, CA, user of Digital Volumetric Imaging (DVI) technology for analysis of fibers and materials, www.adpath.com/index.html and www.adpath.com/images-cotton.html; Rome Plow Company LP, Cedartown, GA, manufacturer of machinery for use in conservation-tillage systems; Strategic Diagnostics, Inc., Newark, DE, developer and marketer of immunoassay-based test kits for verification of various genetic traits in genetically-enhanced products, www.sdix.com; and WAG Corporation, Tupelo, MS, manufacturer of array of differential GPS equipment for precision agriculture systems, www.wagcorp.com; and Cotton Net Limited, Dorset, UK, totally secure, global Internet trading floor for all raw cotton growths to enable producers and cooperatives to connect directly with spinners and other buyers, and set to go live in March.
Grown and Made Scholarships Established
Creation of 3 scholarships aimed at assisting college-bound children of American cotton industry members was announced at Beltwide gathering. "Grown and Made in the U.S.A. Grow Smart" scholarships are funded by Aventis CropScience through additional support to "Grown and Made" campaign.
Scholarships of $1,500 each will be available to sons or daughters of US cotton industry members beginning in '01-02 academic year. Applicants must be high school seniors with at least B average and planning to enroll in 4-year agriculture-related curriculum. Applications and details will be available by Feb. 15 at www.cottonexperts.com or by writing to Scholarship Headquarters, 400 E. Diehl Rd., Naperville, IL 60563, (630) 505-1100.
Effective Jan. 26-Feb. 1, '00
Adj. World Price, SLM 11/16........49.77 cents* Coarse Count Adjustment............0.00 cents Current Step 2 Certificate Value...3.35 cents Marketing Loan Gain Value..........2.15 cents Import Quotas Open..........................1 *No Adjustment Made Under Step I
Current 3135 c.i.f. N. Eur........63.60 cents Forward 3135 c.i.f. N. Eur...........No Quote Coarse Count c.i.f. N. Eur........59.85 cents Current US c.i.f. N. Eur..........68.20 cents Forward US c.i.f. N. Eur.............No Quote