SenateFails To Complete Farm Bill;
Debate Set To Be Begin Anew In December

Friday, November 16, 2007                        By Shawn Wade

      At the conclusion of twoweeks of procedural posturing and finger-pointing, the United State's Senate,in its closing moments before recessing for a scheduled Thanksgiving break,failed to muster the 60 votes needed to approve a cloture motion put forth bySenate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). If successful the cloture vote wouldhave limited debate on H.R. 2419, better known as the 2007 Farm Bill, and setthe stage for its final consideration.

      A final tally of the votesshows the cloture motion received 55 Yea votes, just 5 short of the 60 neededto be approved, and 42 Nay votes largely divided along party lines. SenatorsNorm Coleman of Minnesota, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Thune of South Dakotaand Gordon Smith of Oregon were the only Republican Senators voting for themeasure.

      Texas Senator John Cornyn didnot cast a vote on the measure, while Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison recorded hervote against the cloture motion.

      Had the motion passed andcloture invoked the Senate would have been poised to immediately take up themeasure and proceed to a final vote no more than 30 legislative hours after thepassage of the cloture motion.

      As it stands, the status ofH.R. 2419 is unchanged and the fate of the legislation, which ironically issomething both sides would prefer was passed before the end of the year, willhinge on the willingness of Democrat and Republican leaders to agree on aprocess both sides can live with upon their return. Otherwise, the only optionwill be to take another shot at invoking cloture and thereby force the debateto move forward under expedited rules.

      Farm bill advocates concernedabout this latest set-back should remember that delays in the Senate arenothing new, especially with major legislation like the farm bill, and shouldnot be seen as a sign that the process is dead in the water. Instead, it iswise to remember that protracted Senate farm bill debates are more the normthan the exception.

      This was certainly the casein late 2001 when it appeared the Senate was set to pass a new 2001 farm bill,only to have an apparent deal blow up at the last minute. Ultimately, U.S.agriculture ended up with a good 2002 Farm Bill, but not until May of thatyear.

      Circumstances are slightlydifferent this year, since the five-year 2002 farm bill has now technicallyexpired. This is one of the primary reasons why there is almost universalagreement that the best course of action is for the Senate to keep workingdiligently to move the process forward.

      Even opponents of the Senatebill agree that it is preferable that work on the legislation continues andthat a new, five-year bill be passed as quickly as possible. It seems thatalthough a one-year extension of the 2002 farm bill could come into play, itshould be viewed as clearly being the option of last resort.

      Feedback from inside theWashington Beltway indicates that principles involved in the Senate process arestill upbeat and believe that the process will not only move forward when theyreturn after Thanksgiving, but that the bill has a good chance of gettingfinished before Christmas.

      Although they share thebelief that the best possible course is to pass and approve a new farm bill asquickly as possible, West Texas Representatives Mac Thornberry, RandyNeugebauer and Mike Conaway, have signed on as co-sponsors of a bill to extendthe provisions of the 2002 Farm bill for one year.

      They explain that should theSenate fail to get their bill completed, this measure could be used to extendthe current farm safety net through the 2008 growing season. The extension billwas introduced by the House Agriculture Committee's Ranking Member BobGoodlatte (R-VA) and would extend current law through September 30, 2008.

      Farm bill supporters areencouraged to keep communicating the importance of passing this legislation totheir Senators even though they aren't in Washington. It is important that theycontinue to be impressed with the importance of getting this legislationcompleted as quickly as possible upon their return.

 

HACChairman Collin Peterson To Address 7th Annual Texas CommoditySymposium

Friday, November 16, 2007                        By Shawn Wade

      House Agriculture CommitteeChairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minnesota) has agreed to address the 7thannual Texas Commodity Symposium on November 28.

      The symposium will be held inconjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room atthe Amarillo Civic Center. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and theSymposium will begin at 9 a.m. The symposium is free to all and will concludewith a catered lunch at noon.

      The Texas Commodity Symposiumis hosted by Corn Producers Association of Texas (CPAT), Texas Grain SorghumAssociation (TGSA), Texas Wheat Producers Association (TWPA), Plains CottonGrowers, Inc. (PCG) and the Texas Peanut Producers Board (TPPB).

      Due to a tight travelschedule during the Thanksgiving break, Chairman Peterson has agreed to join themeeting via telephone at 11 o'clock a.m. CDT and present Symposium participantshis thoughts on the 2007 Farm Bill process and his expectations when Congressreturns to work on December 3.

      Inaddition to Chairman Peterson, other featured speakers include Texas Departmentof Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, former Congressman and HouseAgriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest, and Bryce Anderson, agricultural meteorologist and market analyst with theData Transmission Network (DTN

      Also addressing the Symposiumwill be Don Gohmert, State Conservationist for the USDA Natural ResourcesConservation Service (NRCS) and John Fuston, State Executive Director for theTexas Farm Service Agency (FSA), who will be giving important program updates.Chris Albracht, MorningShow Host and Program Director for KGNC Radio, will serve as the Master ofCeremonies for the event.

      All producers are encouragedto register early for a chance to win special door prizes. For more information, please contact Rachel Myers, VicePresident and Director of Producer and Legislative Affairs for the Texas WheatProducers at (806) 352-2191 or email (rmeyers@texaswheat.org).

 

2007Harvest Proceeding At Rapid Pace

Friday, November 16, 2007                        By Shawn Wade

      High Plains cotton producerscompleted another busy week of harvest and appear to be on pace to have as muchas three-quarters of the area's 3.02 million cotton acres off the stalk byThanksgiving.

      Reports of rapid progress andexcellent yields continued unabated throughout the week and are lending plentyof credence to the latest USDA production estimate of 5.3 million bales for theregion.

      Quality also continues to beanother eye-catching characteristic of the 2007 crop. Reports from the Lubbockand Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Classing offices indicates cotton ginned thispast week is grading slightly better in some categories compared to theprevious week and has pushed season average quality measurements for the cropup ever so slightly.

      Thefollowing is a summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDACotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2007 production season.

 

Week Ending November 15, 2007:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

92,535

21+

2.17

36.19

Lubbock

305,215

21+

2.34

36.09

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.21

30.00

80.98

3.5%

Lubbock

4.08

29.64

80.81

1.6%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

288,729

21+

2.16

36.00

Lubbock

943,286

21+

2.38

35.84

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.23

29.56

80.89

3.5%

Lubbock

4.12

29.51

80.65

1.7%