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Commodity Communicator Weekly

June 28, 2013


THE DAIRY SAFETY NET

What will happen to the dairy safety net?  Well, the MILC program language that Senator Leahy was able to include in the Farm Bill extension passed last New Year’s Eve runs out on August 31  The program is repealed in the Dairy Security Act and there was no “MILC transition program” included in either the House or Senate bills.  So until the DSA is fully implemented, which could take well over a year, there would be no safety net at all.  If there is a simple extension of current farm bill law, MILC would again have to be funded from other USDA programs, since offsets” are required under the budget resolution provisions.  When MILC was included in the extension passed on December 31 money was taken from the SNAP educational program to fund it.

DECLINE OF SOUTHEASTERN DAIRIES SUBJECT OF NEW STUDY
A six-state study will attempt to pinpoint the causes of the decline in the Southeastern U.S. dairy industry. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is the lead institution for the study, funded by a $3 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Statistics show more than two-thirds of the region's dairies have closed since 1995.

SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES HORSE MEAT INSPECTION BAN
Last week, livestock industry advocates prevented an amendment to the farm bill banning horse slaughter. However, the next day the Senate Appropriations Committee voted for Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (FY14) which would defund USDA inspections for horse slaughter, effectively banning it. This means that there are amendments banning horse slaughter on both the House and Senate appropriations bills.

SENATE APPROVES IMMIGRATION REFORM LEGISLATION

The Senate on Thursday approved S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, on a 68 to 32 vote. Farm Bureau strongly supported S. 744, including the agricultural provisions which were the result of a compromise agreement with the United Farmworkers Union.

“The Senate’s passage today of a balanced immigration reform bill that includes a fair and workable farm labor provision is welcomed by America’s farmers and ranchers,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman in a statement. He also noted that a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation is long overdue, commending the Senate for addressing this very important issue, which will help ensure the continued success of agriculture in our nation.

MEXICO STOPS CONTAMINATED RICE SHIPMENT FROM PAKISTAN
It was reported this week that Mexican customs officials have quarantined 3,000 tons of rice from Pakistan after it was discovered the shipment was contaminated by Khapra beetles, which destroy grain products. Mexico is a major importer of U.S. rice, and imports 70% of their domestic consumption each year.

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