Friday, May 23, 2008 By Shawn Wade
Congresses overwhelmingsupport for the Conference Report of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of2008 left little opportunity to inject a final dramatic twist to the vetooverride votes that occurred earlier this week and allowed 14 of the 2008 FarmBill’s 15 Titles to become the law of the land.
Unfortunately, like a tiredathlete determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, a little extradrama is exactly what the farm bill received with the accidental omission ofthe entire Trade Title from the final copy of the bill that was sent toPresident Bush and promptly vetoed May 20.
It’s too bad the folks in theCongressional print shop didn’t get a chance to read the opening sentence oflast week’s “Cotton News,” which read: “The topsy-turvy nature of the 2008Farm Bill debate means nobody is taking anything for granted when it comes tomaking sure this bill becomes law.”
Had they done so, it’s nowprophetic description of the stance farm bill supporters were taking inpreparation to override the President’s promised veto might have prevented theprinting mistake whose correction may well become the final, apropos, chapterof the 2008 Farm Bill saga.
White House officialsdiscovered the omission of the Farm Bill’s 34-page Trade Title, but not untilafter the President had already vetoed the bill presented to him.
It’s probably not worthtrying to provide much explanation of the events that transpired next. The endresult is that leaders in the House of Representatives and, subsequently, theSenate decided to move ahead with their votes to override the President’s veto.
Their final determination,which has been accepted by the White House as well, is that following the Houseand Senate veto override votes most of the 2008 Farm Bill had, in fact, becomelaw.
Congressional leaders alsoagreed that in order to get the omitted Trade Title enacted as well, their bestcourse of action would be to create and pass a new bill identical in content tothe original 15 Title Farm Bill Conference Report.
This new bill, numbered H.R.6124, would then be submitted to the President for action. H.R. 6124, which hasalready passed the House, also contains technical language that allows it totake precedence over the identical provisions of the first bill that became lawthis week.
Most people assume thePresident will veto this new version as well, sending it back to Congress for anotherround of override votes, although he could simply let the technical correctionbecome law without his signature out of respect for Congresses action tooverride his initial veto.
Staying vigilant, however,appears to be the only way to keep things from sneaking up on you. You can betthat in addition to a lot of extra attention and proof-reading when this newbill is finally committed to parchment, farm bill supporters will once againrally together to make sure that a full and complete 2008 Farm Bill is finallyput to bed once and for all.
Friday, May 23, 2008 By Shawn Wade
Despite the last minute dramathat will slowly play out over the next few weeks to fix a Congressionalclerical error, the White House has, according to press accounts, mostlydropped their combative stance and accepted that all of the farm bill titlesthat were subject to the veto override by Congress are now law.
Having come to thatunderstanding, it is hoped that USDA will now focus their complete efforttoward implementing the new law and writing or rewriting regulations coveringexisting programs and new programs.
At the top of the list of “To-do’s”is getting 2008 farm program provisions implemented as quickly as possible.This, shouldn’t bee too hard, since the 2008 Farm Bill directs USDA to utilizethe provisions and existing rules set up for the 2007 Direct andCountercyclical Program (DCP) for the 2008 crop year.
There has been no officialword about how quickly this process will begin in regard to programs that willprovide support during the 2008 crop year. Getting a jump on the process is theUSDA Farm Service Agency and the Commodity Credit Corporation, which hasalready posted the first of many changes that will be made to existingprograms.
This initial change is cottonrelated and involves an immediate change in how USDA calculates the UplandCotton Adjusted World Price that is used to establish Loan Deficiency Paymentrates and other marketing loan program supports.
The Final Rule, which will beprinted in the May 27, 2008 edition of the Federal Register,
Per the Federal RegisterNotice, effective May 23, 2008 the USDA Farm Service Agency will beginpublication of the Upland Cotton Adjusted World Price based on a calculationthat utilizes the five cheapest quotes for cotton delivered to the Far East.
The change, which was part ofthe cotton industry’s suggested modifications for the Cotton program in the2008 Farm Bill, is able to become effective immediately because the underlyingstatute for the Upland Cotton AWP announcement simply directs the Secretary toestablish a process that determines the Upland Cotton AWP and does not specifythe use of a Northern Europe-based price in the calculation.
Initiating the change to aFar East-based AWP in several other programs, specifically the Step One andStep Three portions of the Cotton Competitiveness provisions, will take longersince the previous legislative language authorizing them specifies the use of aNorthern Europe-based AWP.
Making the new AWP calculationeffective today means the AWP announced on May 29 for the week ending June 5will be the first one based on the new Far East AWP calculation. Thiscalculation will include the five cheapest quotations for Middling 1 3/32 inchcotton CFR (cost and freight) Far East for shipment no later thatAugust/September of the current calendar year.
Among the differences growersmight see in the new AWP calculation compared to the old one, which was basedon the Cotlook “A” Index price for Middling 1 3/32 inch cotton CFR NorthernEurope, is that the new Commodity Credit Corporation AWP figure may not alwaysbe the same as the Cotlook “A” Index price based on Farm East quotations.
The reason for a possibledifference in the Cotlook “A” Index quote and the revamped CCC AWP is thatCotlook has rules in place that prohibit more than two of the three AfricanFranc Zone quotations currently eligible for use in the Cotlook Index frombeing included in the daily “A” Index calculation.
The new CCC rule does notinclude any limitations on the number of quotes that can be used from aparticular area and will simply use the five cheapest daily quotes to calculatethe Upland Cotton AWP each week.
Publication and the immediateimplementation of the new rule also means that the six-week blending processfor switching from “Old” crop to “New” crop AWP price quotations can also beginimmediately
Friday, May 23, 2008 By Shawn Wade
With cotton planting wellunderway the folks at Texas AGRI Life Extension have issued the first issue of “FOCUSon South Plains Agriculture’ for the 2008 growing season.
The May 23 issue of FOCUS canbe found on the web at: http://lubbock.tamu.edu/focus/
Having built a strongproducer following, FOCUS provides analysis, information and managementrecommendations for farmers and crop consultants throughout the High Plainsregion.
Cotton Entomology topicscovered in this issue of FOCUS are Cotton Insects; Wireworms; Grubs in some fields; and, a “Thripswatch.”
On the Cotton Agronomy frontlook for the following: Cotton Agronomy; Recap of ’07 and overview of ’08 sofar; 2007 cotton resource DVD; Seedling emergence issues; Cotton root disorderguide; and, Tank cleanout concerns.
Other areas/topics covered inthis issue include: Corn Entomology and the issuance of a Section 18 on Onagerfor field corn; and, for growers with Wheat for Grain, a discussion aboutLate-season Irrigation and Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus.