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Commodity Communicator Weekly

June 21, 2013

H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 failed on the House floor today by a 195-234 vote. Congressmen Crawford, Griffin and Womack all voted yes on the bill. Representative Cotton of Arkansas’ 4th district voted against the bill.

"On this day, on this vote, the House worked its will.  I’m obviously disappointed, but the reforms in H.R. 1947- $40 billion in deficit reduction, elimination of direct payments and the first reforms to SNAP since 1996 - are so important that we must continue to pursue them.  We are assessing all of our options, but I have no doubt that we will finish our work in the near future and provide the certainty that our farmers, ranchers, and rural constituents need," said Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson expressed similar regrets. Peterson also lamented late amendments concerning SNAP that caused many Democrats to vote no on the bill.

House agriculture leaders are meeting now to discuss options for moving forward. That possibility is complicated by many issues. The Speaker is very unlikely to allow additional floor time on the bill if it is doomed to fail again. Perhaps just as unlikely is the ability of the two parties to agree on certain measures, particularly SNAP. Does that mean that another short term extension of the 2008 farm bill is at play? At this point that is probably a last resort. We will update you as more information is available.


Updated 2013 Summer Division Mtg Dates1.pdf


The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted on June 13 to eliminate funding for federal meat inspections at horse slaughter facilities. If it makes its way through the entire legislative process, this would effectively stop efforts to resume horse slaughter in the United States.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., forbids the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect horse-processing plants in the 2014 fiscal year.

A similar block happened in 2005, but it was not renewed in 2011 or 2012. Although there are currently no horse slaughter plants operating in this country, at least six companies have put in applications with the USDA to begin processing horses for export.

Meanwhile:    New Mexico's attorney general ruled on Monday that veterinary drugs commonly administered to horses would render their meat adulterated under state law, meaning it would not be fit for human consumption. The ruling created another headache for the Valley Meat Company, a plant in Roswell, N.M., that is on track to be the first horse slaughtering facility to open in the United States since 2007.

S. 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is currently being debated on the Senate floor. S. 744 is a comprehensive immigration reform package that was drafted by a group of eight bi-partisan Senators. The bill includes provisions relating to border security, enforcement, legal immigration, visa programs for agriculture, low-skilled and high-skilled programs, and adjustment for undocumented individuals currently in the United States. The agricultural provisions included in S. 744 are the result of an agreement between the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, of which American Farm Bureau is a founding member, and the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). Farm Bureau is in strong support of the agreement and is working diligently to preserve it during the Senate legislative process. In May, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a vote of 13-5. Floor debate began June 11. To date over 300 amendments have been filed on a variety of issues, including agriculture.

The House Judiciary Committee has begun mark-up of its package of immigration reform bills. The House currently has four bills, that will be individually marked-up and debated, that are expected to move together to complete an immigration package. The four bills scheduled before the Judiciary Committee are H.R. 2278 The Strengthen and Fortify and Enforcement Act (‘SAFE’ Act), H.R. 1773 The Agricultural Guestworker (‘AG) Act, H.R. 1772, Legal Workforce Act, and H.R. 2131, Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act. Farm Bureau does not have a position on any of these bills; however, AFBF supports the process moving forward in the House. H.R. 2278 and H.R. 1773 both passed out of committee with votes of 20-15 and 20-16, respectively. H.R. 1772 and H.R. 2131 are scheduled to be marked up next week.

. .  .Friday, June 28 at 12:30 p.m
Next week, the USDA will release its 2013 quarterly stocks report and acreage report.  Join Matt King, Arkansas Farm Bureau Economist and Scott Stiles, UAEX Economist who will break down the report and give insight into how the report will affect the markets.  

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