USA Rice Daily - 10/02/13 Print E-mail
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USA Rice Daily
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USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Riceland Foods VP Bill Reed Testifies Before House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Panel
Riceland Foods Inc.
Vice President Bill Reed
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. transportation system is critical to the competitive advantage the nation has in moving agricultural and food products across the country and around the world, Riceland Foods Inc.Vice President for Public Affairs Bill Reed said yesterday in
testimony before the Transportation and Infrastructure  Committee's panel on 21st century freight transportation during a hearing, entitled, "Perspectives from Users of the Nation's Freight System."

 

Reed informed the panel about the nation's and Arkansas' major rice-producing areas. Exports are an important part of Riceland's total business, he said, and highways, railroads and river transportation are all important to moving rice products to market. With the nation's focus on a fresh, safe food supply and just-in-time manufacturing and shipping, "it is imperative that products move within a narrow time frame...[which] requires a reliable and efficient transportation system," Reed said.

 

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), who represents the largest rice-producing congressional district in the nation, participated in the hearing as a member of the  panel.  Panel Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) said in his opening
statement that the committee's chairman and Ranking Democrat created the special group to "provide recommendations to the committee on ways to modernize the freight network and make the United States competitive in the 21st century.  We plan to issue our report to the full committee by the end of the month."

 

Contact: Johnny Broussard, (703) 236-1451

Senate Renames Cochran and Boozman as Two of 12 Farm Bill Conferees; Reid Letter to Boehner Proposes Budget Conference That Could Consider Agriculture

WASHINGTON -- Yesterday the Senate again named 12 farm bill conferees in conjunction with its disagreement with the House on H.R. 2642, the newly-merged, complete House farm bill that passed the chamber on Sept. 28 by a vote of 226-191 and which the Senate received on Sept. 30.  Seven Democrat and five Republican Agriculture Committee members will negotiate for the Senate:  Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sens. Pat Leahy (D-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ranking Republican Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Boozman (R-AR), and John Hoeven (R-ND).  In a related development today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that proposes action to reopen the government and immediately open a House-Senate budget conference committee that could discuss a range of issues, including agriculture.

 

Once the House names its farm bill conferees, the way will be clear procedurally for conferees to meet formally and commence negotiations.  The Senate had named conferees initially on Aug. 1, but the House had not.

 

USA Rice Producers' Group Chairman and Louisiana producer John Owen said, "Congress has got to complete the farm bill quickly.  With the 2013 crop covered by the 2008 farm act extension, but not the 2014 crop, coverage for next year will require new legislation very soon for the programs to be timely and useful."  Financial decisions will be made between now and next spring for the 2014 crop "that will be affected by the presence or absence of a clear farm policy," Owen said.  "Rice producers and the rice industry will continue to ask Congress to please complete its farm bill work promptly so producers can continue to put food on the table for their families, U.S. consumers and export markets," he said.

 

Chairwoman Stabenow said yesterday in a farm bill related statement: "It's time to finally get this done."

 

USA Rice continues to work with the House and Senate to get a farm bill passed as soon as possible and, in addition, to monitor and report on the impact that the government shutdown, the 2008 farm bill expiration, and the Fiscal Year 2014 sequestration are having on farm programs, including those operated by the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

Contact: Reece Langley, (703) 236-1471

Deputy USDA Secretary, Other Officials Update Commodity Groups about Government Shutdown Consequences

WASHINGTON -- Millions of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dollars are not being distributed and program contracts, obligations and services are going unfulfilled for producers and other participants because Congress failed to pass an interim Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 spending bill, prohibiting the outlay of funding to pay USDA employees' salaries, operate agency offices and administer programs.  Most USDA employees were sent home Oct. 1 and will not return to work until an FY 2014 appropriations bill that includes USDA funding clears Congress and is signed by the president.

 

USDA officials also said departmental personnel, administrative and programmatic problems are being compounded by the Sept. 30 expiration of the 2008 farm act and the FY 2014 federal budget sequestration, an automatic percentage reduction in federal spending mandated by the 2011 budget act that took effect Oct. 1.

 

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Farm Service Administrator Juan Garcia, Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Jason Weller, and departmental counsel today enumerated the amount of programmatic and administrative funding that will not be spent in the new FY 2014, which began Oct. 1, until more federal spending is approved by Congress.  Harden and her deputies said they know and are hearing frequently how much difficulty the government's virtual shutdown is causing farmers and others who participate in USDA programs.

 

Scuse said the Risk Management Agency's (RMA) update of the 2014 insurance handbook, underwriting of certain policies and claims, and case arbitration, are delayed because RMA staff cannot be in the office.  FSA's Garcia explained how the closure of all FSA state and county offices is causing $4.5 billion in direct payments to go undistributed to 1.7 million farmers and preventing commodity marketing loans from being administered.  FSA makes between 30,000 and 50,000 commodity loans a year, Garcia said.  He said $52 million in farm operating loans cannot be closed for 500 producers, 1,800 loan obligations cannot be completed and $1.7 billion in Conservation Reserve Program payments cannot be issued.

 

Jason Weller, the NRCS chief, said that 56,000 Conservation Security Program and Conservation Stewardship Program contracts on 70 million program acres and $1 billion in program payments have been delayed and 100,000 Environmental Quality Incentives Program contracts on 28 million acres, valued at $750 million, will not go out.  Two thousand two hundred NRCS field offices are closed and 11,000 NRCS employees are furloughed.  In addition, he said 8,000 local conservation personnel who share office space and equipment with NRCS officials cannot get to their offices or files because of the NRCS closures.

 

USA Rice will continue to monitor and report on the impact these disruptions are having on USDA programs, including those for commodity, conservation, crop insurance, and market development.

 

Contact: Reece Langley, (703) 236-1471

ME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures
CME Group (Preliminary):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for October 2


Month
Price
Net Change
November 2013
$14.975
UNCH
January 2014
$15.190
- $0.005
March 2014
$15.390
- $0.005 
May 2014
$15.570
- $0.005
July 2014
$15.705
- $0.005
September 2014
$14.285
- $0.005
November 2014
$14.285
- $0.005


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USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses.
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