It's all about meeting deadlines in farm programs and there's a big one coming for producers at the end of this month. Enrollment in the 2012 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) ends June 1, 2012. And you must sign up for ACRE, even though it has been described as a five-year program. (There's an annual re-sign clause you don't want to miss!)
You can do it online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp. However, to access the service, producers must have an active USDA eAuthentication Level 2 account, which requires completing an online registration form at www.eauth.egov.usda.gov followed by a visit to the local USDA Service Center for identity verification. ASA urges action on farm bill.
The Senate Ag Committee passed its “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012” on April 26th but in the heat of an election year there’s been little movement to actually bring it to the full Senate floor for debate.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) urged that be done in a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). ASA specifically reminded them that “key elements of current policy in risk management, conservation, research, trade promotion and nutrition will expire at year-end if no action is taken to re-authorize the farm bill.”
Call to cut CRP by half probably won’t fly. The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) says the current 32-million acre cap on land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) should be cut in half, to just 15 million acres, to allow more production and “increasingly tight U.S. soybean supplies.”
In the Senate Ag Committee bill mentioned above, the cap would be scaled down to 25 million acres over the next five years. It’s unknown how the House farm bill will impact CRP. They’re still holding hearings.
Renewed Eurocrisis is “all Greek” to most. Worries about “Greek contagion” spreading to Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland have once again battered the commodity price outlook by battering confidence in global demand. And it’s especially bad for U.S. commodities because there’s been a resumption in the “flight to the dollar” as a safe haven by those holding euros. And that, in turn, even has folks holding gold dumping the yellow metal in favor of the dollar because deflation is again seen as a bigger risk than inflation, the critical driver for gold investment.
Experts see four possible outcomes for the Greek crisis. Here they are in “order of likelihood”:
- Greece reneges on austerity measures previous official agreed to in exchange for the EU bail-out and were promptly voted out of office by furious Greeks. The EU rightfully reneges on further flow of bail-out funds and political and social chaos erupts in Greece.
- Greece abandons the euro, bowing to public anger over the austerity measures demanded in return for the bail-out. Since Greece’s Central Bank isn’t allowed to “monetize debt” by printing euros; the GCB would instead bring back the Greek “drachma” and hope to run the country on a fiat currency worth nothing in international exchange.
- EU leaders agree to re-negotiate the bail-out, by relaxing austerity demands, which will only require a bigger and longer bail-out, which other European taxpayers are rejecting, threatening to vote out of office any of their own leaders who agree to it.
- Greek leaders repent and bite the bullet, following through with austerity measures their predecessors agreed to before being voted out of office for doing so. This would be the best outcome for the global economic outlook, but by far the least likely.
Agriculture will garner a big share of trade deal with Colombia according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) went into effect Tuesday and Vilsack says it’s expected to expand U.S. export value by $1.1 billion. Of that, $370 million is expected to be agricultural products. (Last year U.S. ag exports to Colombia were about $1.1 billion, so the TPA is expected to boost that figure by about a third.