U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers.” The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission. Original articles from Wheat Letter may be reprinted without permission; source attribution is requested. Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe to Wheat Letter.
In This Issue: 1. U.S. Wheat Crop Looks Good with an Early Spring and Improving Conditions 2. U.S. Wheat Supply Chain Prepares for Growing Demand 3. Research Will Bring Producer and Consumer Benefits 4. Research Investment Crucial to a Reliable Supply of Quality Wheat 5. Wheat Industry News
PDF Edition: (See attached file: Wheat Letter – March 29, 2012.pdf)
1. U.S. Wheat Crop Looks Good with an Early Spring and Improving Conditions By Casey Chumrau, USW Market Analyst
There is a reason the world’s most famous weather publication is called the Farmer’sAlmanac. Weather is a major influence on a farmer’s livelihood and unseasonable warmth already has made this an interesting crop year for wheat. A lot of hard red winter (HRW) wheat pushed out of dormancy early and some hard red spring (HRS) growers are already planting their fields many weeks ahead of normal. Overall, crop conditions look good, but a shift in weather or a late freeze could quickly change the outlook.
Compared to last year, the Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas HRW crops are in better shape after much needed rain improved crop conditions last week. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), only 8 percent of Kansas HRW is in poor or very poor condition compared with 35 percent last year at this time. Much more of the crop, 48 percent, is in good condition, compared to 27 percent last year. In Texas, 70 percent of the state crop is reported fair to excellent compared to only 38 percent last year at this time. Current USDA estimates show Oklahoma’s HRW is in the best shape with only 6 percent rated poor, 19 percent rated fair, 56 percent good and 19 percent excellent. Former USW Chairman Don Schieber, who farms in north-central Oklahoma, said his wheat looks great and he expects it to begin heading in about two weeks. Concern about wheat in the panhandle and the southwestern regions of Oklahoma remains because subsoil moisture is well below normal.
Farther north, lack of snow cover and inadequate subsoil moisture left HRW more vulnerable to winterkill, but any impact should be light. In South Dakota, for example, there appears to be very little winterkill but USDA currently rates the winter wheat crop at 31 percent poor, 40 percent fair and 28 percent good. In Montana, recent snowfall extended dormancy for now. According to California Wheat Commission’s Executive Director Janice Cooper, the main challenge for non-irrigated HRW in California has been a lack of rain that will likely cut into yield potential. Irrigated wheat conditions there are normal.
Soft red winter (SRW) country has also been very warm, which is helping improve crop conditions and soil moisture following an extremely wet fall. Doug Goyings, chairman of the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, said farmers only planted about 60 percent of the area that was expected in Ohio, but the crop is generally in good condition.
Fall and winter were very dry in the Pacific Northwest, but rain in the last two weeks has helped improve soil moisture significantly. Preliminary indications show white wheat in Washington, Idaho and Oregon is on track for normal production. However, Washington Grain AllianceChief Executive Officer Tom Mick pointed out that precipitation will be needed in May and June to realize the crop’s current potential. Fields in Idaho, where two-thirds of the wheat crop is irrigated, is in a good position with reservoirs nearly full and substantial spring rain greatly improving dryland farm prospects.
In the northern plains, some HRS growers are already planting. Field conditions in parts of South Dakota and Minnesota are ahead of schedule and planting should be in full swing in the next two weeks. According to Executive Director Dave Torgerson of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, an early planting season is typically good for spring wheat yields, barring a late freeze.
Poor weather and flood conditions significantly affected northern durum acres last year, resulting in more than a 50 percent decline in production. Drier conditions this spring should help acreage rebound to more normal levels.
Some HRW acres lost to winterkill in the Northern Plains could be replanted with spring wheat or durum, but many producers are weighing their options. Wheat faces strong competition for acres from a multitude of other crops. In Idaho, for example, wheat acres must compete with the high price of potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa and barley, according to Executive Director Blaine Jacobson of theIdaho Wheat Commission.
In addition to economic and management factors, weather will play a critical role in producers’ decisions about what to plant and when as the season progresses. The first official nationwide acreage projections for 2012/13 crops will be available when USDA releases its Prospective Plantings report on March 30.
An early spring is accelerating wheat development in the United States this growing season, especially in the main HRW and SRW production areas. Farmers and industry experts believe harvest may begin up to two weeks earlier than the typical start dates indicated above.
2. U.S. Wheat Supply Chain Prepares for Growing Demand
Uncertainty in a supply chain is one of the most challenging situations for any enterprise. No doubt the changes taking place in the global grain supply industry inject some uncertainty for the world’s wheat buyers. That is why it is important to note a very positive trend: grain handlers operating in the United States are substantially expanding their capacity.
For example, the first new U.S. grain export terminal in 25 years has been busy ever since it opened in mid-February. EGT, in Longview, WA, on the Columbia River, has already loaded seven bulk grain ships bound for Asia, including more than 270,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat. EGT’s three partners — Bunge, Itochu and Pan-Ocean — and other exporters recognize the growing demand for high-quality U.S. grain in the Pacific Rim. Expansion projects are also well underway at Kalama Export Company and United Grain. Louis Dreyfus and Temco will soon start their own expansion projects.
Wheat will be a key export commodity for EGT, which now operates two new shuttle train loading facilities in Montana’s wheat country and a third expected later this year. Other grain companies built four new shuttle loading stations in Montana and North Dakota in the past year and have broken ground for an additional nine stations.
Last year, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Alan Tracy noted that world wheat trade is expected to grow substantially in coming years. The six U.S. wheat classes can fill virtually any specific milling and end product quality need, and an expanding export system provides quality assurance, guaranteed delivery and price transparency. As a result, the United States is positioned to remain the largest and most reliable wheat exporter in the world.
“As increasingly sophisticated wheat buyers compete to supply their customers with the specific qualities for the flour that they need,” Tracy said, “the farmers and wheat export industry of the United States have a unique opportunity to build on our existing reputation and customer base.”
Shawn Campbell, USW Assistant Director, West Coast Office, contributed to this story.
3. Research Will Bring Producer and Consumer Benefits
Farmers, flour millers, bakers and wheat food processors understand that the people who eat the food we grow and produce want to know we are maintaining quality and safety. Luckily, U.S. agriculture has a remarkable record of growing more and better crops with less. In fact, today U.S. farmers grow the same amount of food on half as much land as they did 50 years ago.
In wheat, conventional cross-breeding techniques have resulted in varieties with greater yields and improved functional quality that tolerate harmful diseases and other pest challenges.
“We have made huge progress in increasing the productivity of crops,” said Dr. Robert Thompson, a senior fellow of global agricultural development and food security at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Thompson is currently serving as a visiting scholar at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Brett Carver, Oklahoma State University wheat breeder and chairman of the National Wheat Improvement Committee, this week told farm broadcaster Ron Hays that the advent of molecular genetics is helping develop new wheat varieties in less time than traditional cross-breeding.
“We’re now using DNA information instead of field information to make selections that I would have never even dreamed of,” he said. “We still have a long way to go, but I think that translates into better varieties, just as much as [biotechnology] solutions will five to 10 years down the road.”
As we look to that future, productivity must advance at an even faster pace to meet increasing global wheat demand, while using less land, water and other inputs. Yet, wheat farmers face a number of challenges each year the can negatively impact productivity, including too little or too much moisture, high salinity and pressure from insects, disease and weeds.
Research will help our farmers succeed, as it has in the past, using both conventional and advanced tools.
Since 1996, biotechnology traits like herbicide tolerance and insect pest resistance have benefited crops like corn and soybeans after rigorous testing, regulatory approval processes. New research in biotechnology is exploring how to overcome an even broader array of food production challenges.
To date, wheat with biotechnology traits is not commercially available, but research is underway. Publicly funded research has dominated wheat breeding but private investment is increasing, often in collaboration with public programs. Combined with continued adequate support from the federal government (see Research Investment Crucial to a Reliable Supply of Quality Wheat, below), their work offers new hope for addressing agronomic challenges and, eventually, providing additional consumer benefits in wheat. The early work will focus on improving wheat’s ability to use water and fertilizer more efficiently, resist herbicides, tolerate salty soil conditions, resist disease and repel insects.
Researchers are also exploring methods to improve wheat’s nutritional profile. Public research in Australia on wheat altered for high amylose starch content could provide increased fiber and slower starch uptake during digestion. Additional enhanced nutritional benefits are a possibility, including work that could help people with wheat allergies.
Farmers, overseas customers and consumers all need the results of this research for today and especially for tomorrow. As the U.S. wheat industry explores these innovations, protecting the quality, safety and affordability of the wheat supply will remain our first priority.
4. Research Investment Crucial to a Reliable Supply of Quality Wheat By Julia Debes, USW Communications Specialist
Publicly funded agricultural research programs in the United States provide a knowledge base for public and private scientists to target specific traits, develop varieties that address specific, localized challenges for farmers and lay the foundation for an ample, reliable supply of food for Americans and the world.
The collaboration between public and private wheat researchers provides solutions that work to increase the productivity and quality of the six classes of wheat grown in 42 states, maintaining a reliable supply of the wheat that our overseas customers need and expect. In fact, U.S. farmers plant varieties traced back to a public wheat research program on 76 percent of the 50 million acres they plant every year.
USW utilizes research partners to collect and test samples for both the annual Crop Quality report and the Overseas Varietal Analysis (OVA) program. To produce our Crop Quality reports, these organizations analyze crop samples at harvest and at export elevators. In the OVA program, public wheat researchers also mill and test samples of newly released varieties before they are extensively tested for use in specific end products by international millers and bakers.
If you aren’t convinced, crunch the numbers. USDA has invested about $50 million per year in wheat research at its own labs and universities across the country. Through their state wheat checkoff programs, farmers give about $12 million per year and state governments provide some additional support.
Even with these significant commitments, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reports that just 1.6 percent of federal research dollars goes to agriculture research, but that work yields a return of up to $32 for every $1 invested.
Despite this success, stiff budget cuts now threaten public wheat research dollars. For example, the U.S. Congress mandated that USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) must close 12 labs in fiscal year 2012. Closing the labs cost $40 million, which forced the agency to slash budgets 30 percent across the board for all its other cooperative research agreements with universities and public partners.
Cuts threaten to slow the increases in productivity needed to meet growing wheat demand around the world. Increasing the gap between production and demand will only intensify supply and price volatility for wheat farmers and buyers. Farmers need access to varieties that help them grow more wheat with less land, water and other resources if the world’s wheat buyers are to continue having their choice of six classes from the world’s most reliable supplier of high quality wheat.
USW and the wheat farmers it represents thank the public and private research partners that support crop quality testing and the OVA program, including: – Wheat Quality Council in Pierre, SD – Paciﬁc Northwest Wheat Quality Council in Pullman, WA – Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, OR – Plains Grains Inc. in Stillwater, OK – CII Laboratory Services in Kansas City, MO – California Wheat Commission in Woodland, CA – USDA/ARS Soft Wheat Quality Laboratory located at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, OH – North Dakota State University’s Northern Crops Institute, Department of Plant Sciences and the Durum Wheat Quality/Pasta Processing Laboratory, all located in Fargo, ND – Kansas State University’s Department of Grain Science and Industry and International Grains Program in Manhattan, KS – USDA/ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory located at Washington State University in Pullman, WA
5. Wheat Industry News
Colorado Wheat and ConAgra Donate Flour. In honor of National Agriculture Week, March 5 to 9, the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee and the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers teamed with ConAgra Mills to donate 24 tons (48,000 pounds) of Ultragrain® flour to the Food Bank of the Rockies. The donation, with a retail value of more than $35,000, will provide 9,600 five-pound bags of white whole wheat flour for needy Colorado families. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/HohdK1.
IGP Starts Blog. Kansas State University’s International Grains Program in Manhattan, KS, has launched a new blog to provide a web source on flour milling and grain processing, feed manufacturing and grain handling, grain marketing and risk management and international trade and transportation. To check out the blog, visit http://internationalgrainsprogram.wordpress.com/.
Limagrain Cereal Seeds Launches Wheat Quality Lab. Limagrain Cereal Seeds has opened a wheat quality laboratory in Fort Collins, CO. The quality laboratory and bakery will test select wheat varieties from across the United States for a multitude of baking characteristics. For more information, visithttp://bit.ly/HnFzSI.
WMC Opens Flat Bread/Flour Tortilla and Asian Noodle Short Courses. The Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, OR, will hold its Flat Bread and Flour Tortilla Technology Short Course April 17 to 20. WMC will also conduct an Advanced Asian Noodle Technology Short Course June 11 to 15, 2012. For more information or to register, visit http://bit.ly/y3QqZB.
NCI Announces Pasta Production and Grain Procurement Short Courses. The Northern Crops Institute at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, will conduct a Pasta Production and Technology course April 10 to 12. NCI will also conduct an Advanced Grain Procurement Short Course May 14 to 18. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/wX21Iz.
IGP Grain Purchasing Course Approaching. The International Grains Program at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, will conduct a Grain Purchasing Short Course April 16 to 27. The course focuses on purchasing raw materials and detailed discussions of cash and futures markets, financing and ocean transportation. The course includes a field trip to an export facility in New Orleans, LA. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/xQmlx7.
WFC Helps Sponsor Whole Grains Summit 2012. The Wheat Foods Council and the Grains for Health Foundation are co-sponsors of a “Whole Grains Summit 2012” May 19 to 22 in Minneapolis, MN. The event will convene scientists, industry experts and health professionals from around the world to discuss research on whole grains, dietary fiber and functional grain components. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/yv1lOr.
MEDIA ADVISORY: America’s 2012 Farm Bill Agriculture Committee Announces Witness List for Arkansas Field Hearing
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture released the witness list and additional information for the following field hearing.
Friday, March 30, 2012 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Arkansas State University, Riceland Hall
201 Olympic Drive
State University, AR 72467
Full Committee on Agriculture – Public Hearing RE: Future of U.S. Farm Policy: Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill
Visit the House Agriculture Committee’s website at this link to learn more about America’s 2012 Farm Bill. Also, at this link you may submit comments to be considered part of the Committee’s Farm Bill field hearing record. Your comments must be submitted through the website by May 20, 2012.
There will be a live webcast of the hearing at this link. Please note that video and audio will not be available until the hearing begins.
The witness list is below. Testimony will be posted here the day of the hearing.
Mr. L. Dow Brantley, rice, cotton, corn, and soybean producer, Brantley Farming Company, England, Arkansas
Mr. Randy Veach, cotton, rice, corn, wheat, and soybean producer, Manila Arkansas
Mr. Paul T. Combs, rice, soybean, cotton, corn, and wheat producer, Sunrise Land Company, Kennett, Missouri
Mr. Bowen Flowers, cotton, corn, soybean, wheat, and rice producer, Clarksdale, Mississippi
Mr. Tim Burch, cotton and peanut producer, Burch Farms, Newton, Georgia
Mr. David Hundley, rice, corn, and soybean producer, Jonesboro, Arkansas
Mr. Mike Freeze, aquaculture producer, Keo Fish Farm, Keo, Arkansas
Mr. Dan Stewart, cow calf producer, Mountain View, Arkansas
Mr. John E. Owen, rice, soybean, corn, and cotton producer, John and Annie Owen Farms, Rayville, Louisiana
Mr. Walter Corcoran, Jr., cotton, corn, peanut, soybean, grain sorghum, and cow calf producer, Eufaula, Alabama
House Committee on Agriculture Democrats
For Immediate Release: March 29, 2012
Peterson Statement: Republican Budget Creates Uncertainty for Rural America Fails to Balance Budget Until 2040
WASHINGTON – U.S. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., made the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives Passed H.Con.Res. 112, the FY2013 Republican Budget Resolution. The budget cuts $179.4 billion from Agriculture Committee programs over ten years. Additionally, the budget includes reconciliation instructions which require the Committee to provide legislation cutting agriculture spending by $33.2 billion by April 27. Peterson voted against the resolution.
“Passing a farm bill this year was already going to be difficult but the Republican Budget approved by the House today lowers the odds significantly.
“Going through the reconciliation process, before we can actually get to writing a farm bill, will only muddy the waters and is a waste of time. The only reason we’re doing this is so the Republican Majority could pass their budget which we all know is going nowhere in the Senate.
“I have a hard time seeing how the House can pass a farm bill after going through this process. I also don’t see how we could extend the current bill without making some of the cuts called for by the Majority.
“The Agriculture Committee has a strong history of bipartisanship and I am willing to see if that can be continued but today’s vote is not helpful.”
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3.28.12 – From the American Society of Animal Science – For immediate release
Lack of fertility in cows linked to mysterious male DNA
The genomes of cows that have difficulty reproducing often contain fragments of the male Y chromosome, according to a new study in press in the Journal of Animal Science. The researchers say this finding could help cattle producers identify subfertile females before investing time and resources on breeding attempts.
In the study, cows from several facilties were assigned to groups based on reproductive efficiency, and their DNA was pooled for genotyping. The researchers used a technique called an SNP marker assay, in which a specifically designed genetic probe fluoresces when it attaches to certain markers.
Interestingly, the researchers found that genetic probes designed for the Y chromosome, which is the male sex chromosome, were fluorescing in the population of subfertile female cattle.
The authors of the study considered two possibilities for why the Y chromosome genes were in some females. One potential explanation was that at least some of these cows were freemartins. A freemartin is a female cow that was a twin in utero with a male cow and received Y chromosomes through blood transfer from the male twin. Though breeders usually identify freemartins prior to mating, freemartins can sometimes remain undetected if the male twin is lost early in pregnancy.
The other possibility is that fragments of the Y chromosome may have crossed over to the father’s X chromosome, which the female offspring then inherits. This crossover, or “translocation,” would result in female offspring having fragments of the Y chromosome in their genome.
The scientists concluded that freemartins in the DNA pool they tested were rare and probably did not contribute heavily to the amount of male DNA present. However, the researchers plan to test the possibility further.
“By karyotyping [evaluating the appearance of the chromosome] these females, we will be able to determine if the Y anomaly is due to the presence of the whole Y chromosome, as seen in freemartins, or is due to a translocation,” said Tara McDaneld, a researcher at the Roman L. Hruska US Meat Animal Research Center and one of the authors of the study.
The discovery that subfertile females have fragments of Y chromosomal DNA could result in a new tool for identifying subfertile heifers.
“From the results of the Y marker panel, producers will have a tool to identify replacement heifers that have no potential to breed and direct these females to a different management strategy,” said McDaneld.
The study estimates that genotyping tests for Y fragments could save $5 to $10 per female.
“This will decrease cost by removing the heifers that have no potential to breed prior to incurring heifer development expenses,” McDaneld said. “It will also increase the percentage of females in the breeding herd that are pregnant after breeding.”
Sex chromosome abnormalities that affect reproduction have been found in other species of animals. Abnormalities in humans and laboratory mice are of interest to the medical community. These abnormalities can be caused by mutations on the sex chromosome or by crossover of pieces of the Y chromosome crossing over to the X chromosome. This leads to a discrepancy between the physical sex characteristics of the animal and the sexual genotype.
The study was titled “Y are you not pregnant: Identification of Y chromosome segments in female cattle with decreased reproductive efficiency.” It can be read in full at jas.fass.org.
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Subcommittee Explores Ways to Improve U.S. Forest Health
and Spur Job Creation in Rural America
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, held a public hearing to review several aspects affecting forest health, including timber harvests, wildlife management, invasive species, and the U.S. Forest Service’s planning rule.
Last month, the U.S. Forest Service released a report, which outlines the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) goals for forest health. In the report, the agency stated one of its goals is to increase annual timber harvests from 2.4 billion board feet to 3 billion board feet in fiscal year 2014. Subcommittee Members pressed Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on how the agency intends to accomplish that goal while stressing the need to increase the number of timber harvests even more to create jobs, improve water quality, and prevent catastrophic wildfires from forming. Timber harvests have been in decline in recent years. The all-time high was 12.7 billion board feet in 1987, but dipped to its lowest level at 1.7 in 2002.
Witnesses on the second panel highlighted that more aggressive management practices are necessary, and more needs to be done to reduce the regulatory burden on those working in the forest products industry.
“The health of our national forests is an issue of vital importance for rural America. Not only are our national forests a source of immense natural beauty, but they provide us with natural resources, recreation opportunities, wildlife habitat, and serve as economic engines for local communities. It’s important to all of us that we have an effective plan in place that promotes healthier national forests,” said Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA).
“We need to make sure the Forest Service and its partners work together to improve forest restoration and conservation while promoting a robust forest industry that supports local stakeholders and results in restored jobs and a vibrant rural economy. The Forest Service should always consider the multiple uses of our national forestland including timber production, habitat preservation, natural resource management and recreation and ensure local economic development and environmental protections work in harmony, instead of in competition, with each other,” said Ranking Member Tim Holden (D-PA).
Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below.
Mr. Tom Tidwell, Chief, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Gary Barth, Director, Business and Community Services, Clackamas County, Oregon City, Oregon
Mr. Gregory Hoover, Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Mr. Chuck Watkins, Chief Operating Officer, Rex Lumber, on behalf of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Graceville, Florida
Mr. Gary Zimmer, Coordinating Biologist, Ruffed Grouse Society, Laona, Wisconsin
House Committee on Agriculture Democrats
“The process outlined by the House Republican budget all but guarantees there will be no farm bill this year.”
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn.
The FY2013 Republican Budget Resolution cuts $179.4 billion from farm bill programs over ten years.
The Budget Resolution makes the following cuts to programs under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction:
Commodity Programs – $29.3 billion
SNAP – $134 billion
Unspecified – $16.1 billion (believed to be from Conservation Programs)
The FY2013 Republican Budget Resolution includes Budget Reconciliation instructions for six Committees, including the House Agriculture Committee.
The House Agriculture Committee would be required to reduce spending over the following time periods:
FY 2012-13 – $8.2 billion
FY 2012-17 – $19.7 billion
FY 2012-22 – $33.2 billion
The Committee has until April 27 to provide legislation that meets these reduction targets.
The Agriculture Committee has demonstrated that we can step up and be fiscally responsible while providing a safety net for America’s farmers and America’s hungry.
The House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership developed a farm bill proposal that would save $23 billion as part of the failed Super Committee process. The Agriculture Committees were the only Committees that even made an attempt to reduce spending and it is widely believed that this proposal will now serve as the framework to write the next farm bill.
Agriculture has remained a bright spot through the nation’s economic crisis, providing jobs to our rural communities. It simply does not make sense to dismantle a sector of our economy that is actually thriving.
Nutrition programs are now providing record numbers of struggling Americans with high-quality food. It is irresponsible that, in an effort to avoid cutting other budget areas, America’s hungry will be left hurting. All sectors of our economy need to step up to the plate.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 28, 2012
Subcommittee Examines Legislation to Clarify
Congressional Intent of Dodd-Frank Act Provisions
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, held a public hearing to consider three pieces of legislation designed to mitigate unintended consequences of certain provisions of Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and clarify the reach of new regulatory requirements to swaps activities that occur outside the U.S.
H.R. 3283, the Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act would limit the extraterritorial scope of Title VII by providing a clear definition of U.S. person and non-U.S. person, and limit the application of Dodd-Frank to those activities that occur in the U.S, as Congress intended.
H.R. 1838 would modify Section 716 of the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure that the requirement for banks to “push out” certain swaps activities to separate affiliates does not increase risk to the system or drive up the costs of risk management tools for farmers and ranchers.
H.R. 4235, the Swap Data Repository & Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2012 removes the indemnification provisions from sections 728 and 763 of the Dodd-Frank Act, and makes certain that U.S. and foreign regulators can share swaps data to increase market transparency and monitor for systemic risk.
“Getting Dodd-Frank right is more important than getting it done quickly. Examining the rulemaking process for errors, unclear instructions, or unintended consequences, and then fixing those mistakes is an essential part of our job. Today we heard about the consequences of the broad, extraterritorial approach to implementing Dodd-Frank that regulators are contemplating. This legislation will make it clear that Congress never intended for the CFTC to police the entire global swaps market,” said Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX).
“The financial market was created in the heartland to improve the commodity market, and preserve the value of bulk commodities and seasonal goods in the face of unforeseeable risk such as drought and flooding. This reliance and the integrity of our markets are critical to our nation for jobs, a healthy economy, and affordable food,” said Ranking Member Leonard L. Boswell (D-IA).
Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below.
Mr. Charles A. Vice, President and Chief Operating Officer, IntercontinentalExchange, Atlanta, Georgia
Mr. Paul Saltzman, President of the Association, EVP and General Counsel of the Payments Company, The Clearing House, New York, New York
Mr. Keith Bailey, Managing Director, Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities, Barclays Capital, New York, New York
Mr. Michael Bodson, Chief Operating Officer, Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, New York, New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 28, 2012
The Ag Minute: Misguided Regulatory Attack
on Family Farm Must End
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas discusses the latest regulatory attack on family farms and rural America by the Obama administration. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a regulation that would make it difficult, if not impossible, for young people to access comprehensive on-farm education and employment opportunities. Chairman Lucas is a co-sponsor of H.R. 4157, the Preserving America’s Family Farms Act that was introduced by Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA). The bill blocks DOL from implementing any regulation that would prohibit youth from working on family-owned farms.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
“During our farm bill field hearings, agricultural producers continue to tell us their concerns about the Department of Labor’s proposal to regulate youth working on farms. These farmers are worried about what it could mean for the future of their family farms. They’re worried about ensuring the next generation gains the necessary hands-on experience to keep American agriculture moving forward.
“With all the top-down, stifling regulations coming out of the Obama administration, farmers are justified in their concerns. The Labor Department has said they will re-propose one part of the regulation, but that’s still not going to solve the other burdens this regulation will bring to bear that could ultimately prevent young people from working on farms.
“It’s no surprise the Obama administration has created a regulation that’s completely out-of-touch with the values and reality of rural America. I appreciate the work of the producer organizations who are leading the charge to educate the administration, Congress, and the public about the serious consequences of this proposal.
“I applaud the efforts of all my colleagues, both in the House and Senate, who continue to shine the light on this senseless regulation that was clearly crafted in the dark. Now it’s up to the Department of Labor to demonstrate some common-sense and drop it.”
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas’s weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.
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