House, Senate Ag Committees Work Toward

Farm Policy Recommendations

Friday, November 4, 2011                   By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Although no formal proposal has yet emerged out of the House and Senate Agriculture committees regarding the 2012 Farm Bill, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said in a Congressional Quarterly article that the process is "moving very positively."

      The committees are working together to create and submit recommendations to the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee, also known as the Super Committee, on how to reshape current farm policy and ultimately save $23 billion in mandatory spending over 10 years. The Super Committee has until November 23 to vote on those recommendations.

      The challenge, sources say, is ensuring that all major commodities are treated equitably in the process. But a "producer choice" option, said to potentially be on the table, would create more opportunity for regional and commodity interests' needs to be addressed.

      PCG will provide you with the latest information as this situation continues to develop.

     

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ICAC: Reduced Expectations for Global

Cotton Consumption in 2011/12

      The projected slowdown in global economic growth in 2011 and 2012 will affect consumption of textile products, and therefore demand for cotton fiber. The ICAC Secretariat projects global cotton mill use to remain stable at 24.6 million tons in 2011/12. China, India and Pakistan, which account together for two-thirds of global mill use, are expected to spin only 1% more cotton in 2011/12 than in 2010/11.

      While cotton consumption could remain stagnant in 2011/12, cotton production is expected to increase in reaction to the high cotton prices received by farmers last season. The Secretariat expects global cotton production to rise by 8% to 26.9 million tons in 2011/12, the largest crop since 2004/05. The increase from last season is explained mostly by an expansion in cotton area to 36 million hectares, whereas the average yield could rise only slightly to 745 kg/ha. The global production increase in 2011/12 will be driven primarily by China and India. Production is also expected to increase significantly in Pakistan, Australia, Francophone Africa and Turkey. However, U.S. production is forecast down by 12% due to severe drought in the Southwest.

      Global cotton trade is expected to increase by a moderate 2% to 7.8 million tons in 2011/12, driven by an increase in Chinese imports. While U.S. exports are projected to drop by 23% to 2.4 million tons due to reduced supplies, exports from Australia and Brazil could rise to record levels (0.9 million tons and 0.8 million tons, respectively). India's exports are expected to remain stable at 1.1 million tons.

      As a result of the projected surplus of 2.3 million tons, global cotton stocks could rebound to 11.3 million tons by the end of 2011/12. The stocks-to-use ratio in the world outside China is expected to rise from 46% to 55%, which could translate into a significant decline in the season-average Cotlook A Index.

      This report was provided by the International Cotton Advisory Committee. More information on the ICAC can be found at http://www.icac.org.

 

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SPCC Deadline for Farms Extended 18 Months

Friday, November 4, 2011 - From the National Cotton Council

      The EPA recently announced its plans to extend the deadline date by which owners or operators of a farm must prepare or amend and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan from November 10, 2011 to May 10, 2013. The additional 18 months allows time for farms to come in compliance with this regulation.

      Many challenging situations lead to this deadline extension. The sheer number of farms through the U.S. made it difficult for EPA to reach those owners and operators of farms that may be subject to the SPCC Plan regulations despite their 10-month targeted outreach program. Flood events, droughts, and fires have impacted many farms during the 2011 season. The lack of available qualified Professional Engineers in some areas was also a hardship.

      Farms in operation on or before Aug. 16, 2002, must maintain or amend their existing plan by May 10, 2013. Farms in operation after Aug. 16, 2002, but before May 10, 2013 must prepare and use a Plan on or before May 10, 2013. Farms that start operations after May 10, 2013 will be required to have a plan in place before they begin operations.

      Gins were excluded from this compliance date extension. Currently, gins in operation on or before Aug. 16, 2002, must maintain or amend their existing plan by November 10, 2011. Gins in operation after Aug. 16, 2002, but before Nov. 10, 2011 must prepare and use a Plan on or before Nov. 10, 2011. Gins that start operations after Nov. 10, 2011 must have a plan in place before they begin operations.

      The EPA page on the SPCC Rule site, http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/spcc_ag.htm, is a valuable resource for producers and ginners.