Senate Letter Urges U.S. Trade Negotiators
To Reject Proposed WTO Agriculture Modalities

Friday, December 5, 2008                         By Shawn Wade

      WTO Director General Pascal Lamy is pushing what may be the last 'last-ditch' effort to secure a Doha Round agricultural agreement before the curtain closes on the Bush Administration.

      Unfortunately for Lamy, and those sympathetic to his position, it appears that the draft agriculture negotiating framework (modalities) he proposed earlier this year that has raised significant concerns among U.S. agriculture industry groups is also being questions by many members of the U.S. Congress.

      In an effort to communicate those concerns Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin is circulating a letter to President George Bush urging him to instruct U.S. negotiators to reject any agreement on modalities that fail to address the significant shortcomings of the current proposal.

      The letter, which will be delivered to President Bush once the final version is signed, has garnered the support of Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison who have agreed to sign the letter before it heads to the President.

      The Senate letter says Lamy's latest proposal for establishing the negotiating framework to complete a Doha Round agricultural agreement should be rejected by U.S. negotiators unless substantial improvements are made to correct its' shortcomings.

      Commenting on the latest developments, Senator Cornyn says, "I support expanding trade policy that opens new markets for American-made products. An important role of the government in this economy is keeping markets open and creating new markets for what we produce. This is why I am concerned that the most recent WTO negotiating text in Geneva shortchanges American agriculture.

      "Our trade ambassador has offered stark concessions in the farm safety net in exchange for new overseas marketing opportunities for American farmers. Farmers are nervous because the generous offer has gone unreciprocated. And worse, some countries are trying to erode away our negotiating position by demanding more while offering nothing.

      "The trade ambassador thus far has had the courage to tell Geneva that, for the United States, no deal is better than a bad deal. I am concerned that the ambassador may soon be hastily summoned to Geneva and once again face pressure to swallow the same bad deal or worse. American agriculture is still not interested in a bad deal."

      Senator Cornyn's sentiment that no deal is better than a bad deal is exactly the message that U.S. agriculture has been trying to get across to U.S. negotiators for several years, says Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett.

      "We appreciate the stance Senator Cornyn and Senator Hutchison are taking on behalf of U.S. agriculture," concludes Verett. "The only acceptable path to concluding the Doha Round in agriculture is the path that includes a willingness on the part of our trading partners to match the magnitude of the offers already put forth by the United States and produce very substantial market access gains for U.S. agriculture."

 

4th Annual Southwest Farm & Ranch Classic;
January 27-29 Lubbock Memorial Civic Center

Friday, December 5, 2008                   By Shawn Wade

      The Southwest Farm & Ranch Classic trade show is set for its 4th annual appearance at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center January 27-29, 2009. The show is designed to create a forum for agricultural producers, manufacturers, suppliers and service vendors to meet and exchange ideas.

      The Southwest Classic show is also an excellent opportunity for members of the non-agricultural general public to learn more about the agriculture industry and its impact on the Lubbock area economy.

      In addition to a wealth of information from participating vendors about new products and services available to agricultural producers, the Southwest Classic show also works closely with state and local agencies to provide valuable professional development seminars and workshops. The program is designed to be both informative and entertaining and includes seminars and demonstrations for agricultural producers of all sizes and the general public interested in agricultural topics.

      Show program highlights include demonstrations by well-known horse trainer Van Hargis, an exhibit of antique tractors provided by the South Plains Antique Tractor Association, on-site quilting demonstrations by the Community Quilters Guild, education courses organized and presented by Texas AgriLIFE Extension (TALE).

      Participants are also encouraged to mark their 2009 calendars and plan to attend the Farm Show Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 28th at the Southwest Farm and Ranch Classic. The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce will host the Farm Show Breakfast in the Banquet Hall of the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.

      The keynote speaker at the 2009 Farm Show Breakfast event will be Richard Brock, of Brock Associates. Richard is author of a marketing advisory newsletter, "The Brock Report", as well as providing daily marketing comment by radio and online.

      Brock is an agricultural economist and has been helping farmers, farm owners, and agribusinesses make educated grain marketing and purchasing decisions for 25 years. Find out more about him online at: http://www.brockreport.com and make sure you reserve your seat on Wednesday morning January 28th to hear him in person.

      Breakfast tickets are $15 for Chamber members and show exhibitors, $25 for prospective Chamber members. To register call 806-761-7000.

      For more information on the Southwest Farm and Ranch Classic visit: http://swclassic.com

 

Want the facts about the U.S. farm policy. Get what you need at:

www.farmpolicyfacts.com

 

2008 High Plains Cotton Quality Summary

      The following is a summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2008 production season.

 

Current Week:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

72,517

21+ - 63.0%

31 – 31.8%

3.08

36.53

Lubbock

297,856

21 + - 41.8%

31 – 40.1%

3.25

36.94

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

3.64

29.67

80.66

49.3%

Lubbock

3.54

29.78

80.48

65.0%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

314,576

21+ - 54.6%

31 – 38.7%

3.12

36.39

Lubbock

1,148,847

21+ - 39.6%

31 – 44.3%

3.30

36.93

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

3.83

29.47

80.54

40.5%

Lubbock

3.62

29.91

80.55

54.1%