ELECTION RESULTS ALTER LEADERSHIP OF HOUSE AG
COMMITTEE; 2012 FARM BILL DEBATE TIMELINE

 

Friday, November 5, 2010                         By Shawn Wade

      With a virtual landslide turnover in the U.S. House of Representatives agricultural and trade policy efforts heading into the 2011-2012 farm bill development process just got a little more interesting.

      Although Republicans failed to retake both houses of Congress, the fact that Democrats and Republicans are now splitting leadership of the two houses will certainly change the dynamics of all future discourse.

      Topping the list of changes from an agriculture perspective will be the change in leadership of the House Agriculture Committee, where Democratic Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson will be replaced with Oklahoma Republican Rep. Frank Lucas.

      Most published reports indicate the two Ag Committee veterans have a good working relationship, despite the harsh partisanship that has reigned for the past few years. Reports also indicate that they share a similar confidence in the structure of the 2008 Farm Bill, although Lucas is typically seen as less likely to entertain ideas involving changes to key provisions of the bill.

      A great example of this is their difference in position on carrying forward Direct payments under the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) portion of the current safety net. Where current Chairman Peterson has publicly stated his personal dislike of Direct payments because of the perception problem he feels they create and is willing to look at alternative uses for the money, incoming Chairman Lucas has been just a strong in his statements supporting the continuation of Direct payments in the next Farm Bill.

      Timeline will be the most important difference in the two men's approaches to the 2012 Farm Bill debate. Peterson has been pushing for an early debate of the 2012 Farm Bill, well before its expiration at the end of the 2012 production season, and had already held a number of advance hearing around the country to prepare for a full-blown debate in 2011. Lucas on the other hand has indicated that he prefers to take more time and isn't expected to push for much action until closer to the current bill's expiration.

      In the Senate things are much more confusing, even though Democrats maintained control by a slim margin. Key losses to agriculture on the Senate side included the defeat of Agriculture Committee Chairman Senator Blanche Lincoln. With Lincoln's defeat and retained Democratic control, the Chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee could go a couple of different routes depending on the interest of Senator Kent Conrad, who is currently Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and also the most senior Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. This status essentially gives him the option to pick the Committee he would like to Chair and which one he wants to serve as a senior member of.

      Either way Conrad is expected to wield a huge amount of influence on the farm bill process in the Senate, which will in many ways be echoing the budget conscience message that will be driving Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

      Should Conrad decide to stay Chairman of the Budget Committee, the next Democrat in line appears to be Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and somewhat unknown commodity when it comes to how she would approach the differing needs of commercial and specialty agriculture.

      On the Republican side of the aisle Senator Saxby Chambliss will remain the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Chambliss is no stranger to the farm bill development process and will be leaned on heavily by mainstream agriculture to keep the process from going astray.

 

 

10TH TEXAS COMMODITY SYMPOSIUM - DEC. 1

 

Friday, November 5, 2010                         By Shawn Wade

      The tenth annual Texas Commodity Symposium will be held Dec. 1, and is hosted by the Corn Producers of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Peanut Producers Board and Texas Wheat Producers Association.

      The Symposium will be held in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room at the Amarillo Civic Center. Registration is free and will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the Symposium will begin at 9 a.m.

      This year's Symposium will conclude with the annual Ag Appreciation luncheon hosted by the Texas Commodity Symposium and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Ag Council.

      "We're excited to offer attendees an interesting program this year that addresses issues that will not only affect the agricultural industry, but also everyone in the West Texas region," CPAT Executive Vice President David Gibson said. "We encourage producers and businessmen alike to attend the 2010 Texas Commodity Symposium."

      This year's symposium will examine a variety of issues that impact agricultural producers and businesses alike. Featured topics include current agricultural policy, NRCS updates and FSA updates.

      Darren Hudson, professor and Larry Combest Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and director of the Cotton Economics Research Institute at Texas Tech University, will address the scenario of what would happen to the economy of Texas cities and towns if farmers were no longer allowed to irrigate their crops.

 

 

THE HAND THAT FEEDS U.S.

http://www.thehandthatfeedsus.org/

 

 

      Additionally, Washington ag correspondent Jim Wiesemeyer will discuss the impact the upcoming federal elections will have on the agricultural industry and the United States as a whole.

      Wiesemeyer is Senior Vice President of the Washington Bureau of Informa Economics and is considered the dean of Washington agricultural journalists. High Plains cotton growers may best know Wiesemeyer as the author of ProFarmer's "Inside Washington Today" column, which is available by subscription from http://www.profarmer.com.

      "This is a great opportunity to hear a diverse group of speakers that will address the main issues affecting agriculture on the Texas High Plains," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said.

      For more information, please contact Stephanie Pruitt, CPAT communications director, at (800) 647-CORN (2676) or stephanie@texascorn.org.

 

 

COTTON QUALITY REPORT

      The following is a summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2010 production season.

2010 High Plains Cotton Quality Summary

 

Current Week:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

99,144

21+ - 79.0%

31 – 13.8 %

2.40

35.19

Lubbock

324,877

21+ - 83.1%

31 – 8.9%

2.41

35.95

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.01

30.32

80.62

8.6%

Lubbock

4.02

30.40

80.71

10.7%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

297,841

21+ - 79.5%

31 – 14.4%

2.45

35.18

Lubbock

1,014,204

21+ - 87.6%

31 – 6.9%

2.43

35.81

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.43

29.39

80.74

8.6%

Lubbock

4.01

30.17

80.62

7.4%

Source: USDA AMS