September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Deficit reduction may influence Farm Bill timing

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The 12-member congressional super committee is charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson is not a fan of this new concept. "I don't agree with Newt Gingrich very often, but he said this is one of the dumbest ideas that Washington ever came up with and I agree with him; I think this super committee is a bad idea, but it's the law." Peterson is not optimistic about the super committee being able to find a solution that is acceptable to Congress. Whatever happens, Peterson expects the timing of the Farm Bill to move up. "We're going to either have sequestration or an answer in December and that, I think, will put us in a position where we'll have to move quickly." Peterson expects Farm Bill action will ramp up in January and February.

Super committee has super powers
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said the fate of agriculture spending lies with the deficit reduction super committee. "Remember, of the 12 members, there's only one real aggie in the whole bunch, and that's Senator Baucus from Montana, and this group has the power, as long as seven of the twelve members agree, to make dramatic recommendations in virtually any part of the federal budget." If reasonable recommendations are made by the super committee, Lucas said the House Agriculture Committee will deal with the 2012 Farm Bill next spring and summer. If dramatic changes are made, Lucas said action on a new Farm Bill might be necessary in October or November.

Land O'Lakes board supports Foundation for the Future plan
Land O'Lakes is the latest organization to voice support for Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson's dairy reform draft proposal. "This bill will help ensure that America's dairy producers - including Land O'Lakes members - are able to thrive in the future," said Pete Kappelman, chairman, Land O'Lakes. The dairy cooperative said the draft legislation treats all dairy producers equitably, "regardless of size or location."

Opposed to supply management
Wisconsin dairy producer John Pagel, who is active in the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association, has launched his own Web site to voice opposition against supply management. Dairy farmers that are opposed to supply management can go to and sign the online petition. Producers can also forward a letter to federal lawmakers from the site. Pagel said the Foundation for the Future dairy reform plan would hurt dairy operations of every size.

All-time high
The Class III milk price hit an all-time record in August. At $21.67 per hundredweight, Class III milk prices were 28 cents higher than July and $6.49 better than August of 2010.

More cows coming to market
For the week ending Aug. 20, cattle slaughter was revised upward by 12,000 head. The increase was due to cow slaughter numbers. At 133,200 head, August cow slaughter was 13 percent larger than 2010 and the largest August total since 1996. This figure includes both beef and dairy cattle.

Record farm income
For the first time, U.S. farm income will soar past $100 billion this year. "The net cash income number is a nominal record and it's the highest level, even adjusting for inflation, all the way back to 1974," said USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber. USDA raised its farm income forecast to $103.6 billion, up $24.5 billion, or 31 percent from last year. Much of the increase is due to higher crop prices. "Cash receipts are estimated at 370 billion; that's up 18 percent over 2010 levels. The crop receipts are a total of about $207 billion. That's up 19.4 percent over last year, certainly led by sales of corn, wheat and soybeans, and livestock receipts are estimated around $164 billion, and that's up almost 16 percent." Another first: total farm expenses will top $300 billion for the first time this year, up more than 11 percent from 2010. Farm debt is down almost two percent from a year ago, with debt-to-asset ratios forecast to match the historical low set in 2007.

Net worth on the rise
The net worth of the average Minnesota farm is rising. According to the University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management, total assets per farm increased by more than $1.1 million over the past 15 years. Total debt also increased by $500,000 over that same time period. The average farm gained almost $700,000 in real net worth, which is equal to 10 percent growth per year.

New regs
The Department of Labor is proposing regulations that would ban youth, 18-years-old and younger, from working around manure pits, country elevators or applying pesticides. The proposal would also prevent teenagers, 16-years-of-age-and-younger, from operating power-driven machinery, including tractors and mowers. This is just the latest in a myriad of controversial recommendations being discussed in Washington, D.C.

Food integrity Minnesota formed
Three St. Paul companies have formed a joint venture called Food Integrity Minnesota. Goff Public, McClung Communications and Rural Strategies will help food-related businesses prepare for and respond to food and safety-related incidents. This joint venture will include former Minnesota Agriculture Department Assistant Commissioner Joe Martin and former spokesman for Governor Tim Pawlenty, Brian McClung.

CFANS Alumni Society elects executive committee
For 2011-2012, the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Alumni Society executive committee includes Roger Chamberlain, of AgriBank, as president; Brenda Jacob as president-elect; Shawn Haag, of the University of Minnesota, as vice president; Brittany Hummel, of the Minnesota DNR, as vice president; Bob Lefebvre of Minnesota Milk Producers Association, as secretary/treasurer; and Val Aarsvold, of the Minnesota FFA Foundation, as past president. Mark Sample, of Herdstar, and Mark Rokala, of Cornerstone Government Affairs, are new directors to the board.

Positive results for dairy steers at 4-H auction
The Minnesota State Fair Purple Ribbon Auction raised more than $355,000. The Grand Champion Dairy Steer was exhibited by Emily Scripture of Olmsted County. The animal sold for $6,000 and the successful bidders were Central Livestock/CRI, O & S Cattle Company and American Foods Group. Jenna Koosman of Wright County had the Reserve Champion Dairy Steer. The steer sold for $5,700. The purchasing group included Minnesota State Fair Concessionaires and 'Friends of Koosman's Steer.'

Trivia challenge
Associated Milk Producers, Inc. provides the butter for the massive butterheads at the Minnesota State Fair. That answers our last trivia question. For this week, what country is the number one importer of U.S. cheese? We'll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
Don Wick is a partner and broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, N.D. He was the 2004 National Farm Broadcaster of the Year. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and two grandchildren, Aiden and Piper. Don Wick can be reached at [email protected].[[In-content Ad]]


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