Farm Bill Takes A Back Seat Again
The Farm Bill is having a hard time getting any attention in Washington, D.C. The Obama Administration is expected to submit to Congress its FY14 budget to start this year’s budgeting and appropriations process. Over the next few months, Congress will hold hearings on the budget, and the House and Senate budget committees will develop their respective budget resolutions, as will the appropriations committees. Congress must also pass another continuing resolution (CR) for the remainder of FY13. The current CR expires March 27, so a new one will be needed to fund the federal government through Sept. 30.
Another issue facing Congress is the sequester, which will result in acrossthe- board spending cuts affecting both defense and domestic programs. The agreement that avoided the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1, postponed the sequester until March 1. By April 15, the Senate and House must pass a budget.
The House and Senate agriculture committees will also resume working on their respective versions of a new 2013 Farm Bill this spring and will need to know what the budget will be. The amount of money available to write a Farm Bill will be determined by the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) baseline. Markup in the House and Senate ag committees is probably unlikely until April.
• Farm Bill process begins from square one; budget numbers needed to move forward.
• Peanut Caucus forms to protect interests of producers.
• FSA opens program sign up until August; producers can change program for 2013 crop year.
• Georgia Peanut Farm Show sets record with number of exhibitors in move to Tifton.
• Look for national advertising campaign on Peanut Butter & Co., fantastic flavored peanut butters.
Upgrade To Political Position
Southern farmers should be in a better position on developing a favorable Farm Bill with recent changes in leadership in key positions. Although farmerfriendly Senator Saxby Chambliss will retire in two years, he will continue to be key in the negotiations on the 2013 Farm Bill.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) was selected as ranking member in the Senate, and staff leaders from Chambliss’ office will join the Senate Ag Committee staff. Ben Mosely of Georgia will become Senior Professional Staff for the committee.
Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Martha Roby (R-AL) have announced the reformation of the Congressional Peanut Caucus for the 113th Congress. The group of 17 lawmakers representing states with significant peanut production will work together to ensure that peanut interests have a strong voice in Congress and that peanut issues are taken into account in agriculture legislation. Reps. Bishop and Roby will cochair the group.
“Last Congress, we saw what a difference it makes when members from peanut-producing states team up to ensure our peanut interests are considered on equal footing with other types of crops in agriculture legislation,” said Rep. Martha Roby.
Members of the caucus are as follows: Rep. Sanford D. Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL), Rep. George K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AK), Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS).
Program Sign Up Continues
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the authorization of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 and its commodity, disaster and conservation programs through 2013.
The extended programs include, among others, the direct and countercyclical payment program (DCP) and the average crop revenue election program (ACRE). FSA began sign ups for DCP and ACRE for the 2013 crops in February, and the sign up period will end Aug. 2, 2013. ACRE sign up will end on June 3, 2013.
The 2013 DCP and ACRE program provisions are unchanged from 2012, except – all eligible participants in 2013 may choose to enroll in either DCP or ACRE for the 2013 crop year. This means that eligible producers who were enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may elect to enroll in DCP in 2013 or may re-enroll in ACRE in 2013 and vice versa.
USDA also announced that market assistance loans (MAL) and loan deficiency payments (LDP) will be available for the 2013 crop to provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, rice, feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, cotton, honey and wool. Assistance is available to eligible producers beginning with harvest or shearing season and extending through the program year.
For more information on programs FSA administers, visit their Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport.
Farm Show Move A Success
More than 100 groups, a record, exhibited their newest products and promotions at the 37th Annual Georgia Peanut Farm in Tifton in January. The show was sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission in cooperation with the University of Georgia. Over 1,800 farmers attended the event.
A highlight of the show was the special awards presented by the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Bayer CropScience presented the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award to James Hitchcock Jr. of Tennille, Ga. Hitchcock demonstrates volunteerism and service to agriculture in his area. His farming operation consists of 1,365 acres of crops including peanuts, corn, soybeans and hay.
Other award recipients were as follows: Distinguished Service Award – Jack Chastain, president of Doster Warehouse; Research and Education Award – William Branch, University of Georgia peanut breeder; Media Award – Douglas Enterprise; and a Special Award – Jonathan “Tim” Williams, former director of the USAID Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP).
The grand door prize, donated by Kelley Manufacturing Company, was presented to Ken Moore, Blakely, Ga., and Keith Wynn, Ocilla, Ga. Moore received one season’s use of a new 4-row or 6-row KMC peanut combine, and Wynn received a season’s use of a KMC peanut inverter. Amadas Industries provided a grower door prize of $10,000 off the purchase of a peanut combine to Joel Carter, Sylvester, Ga.
Big Crop Offers Excellent Seed Supply
Producers are fortunate to have some outstanding cultivars to select from this year, according to John Beasley, University of Georgia, peanut Extension specialist.
Beasley says the peanut breeding programs at the land-grant universities and USDA have released several cultivars since 2006 that have superior genetic yield potential and very good grading characteristics, especially when compared to the old standard, Georgia Green. He noted that the one trait that all of these releases share is their level of resistance to spotted wilt disease, caused by tomato spotted wilt virus.
The major factor in determining availability and seed quality is the acreage planted for seed increase the previous year. The Georgia Crop Improvement Association has oversight for the seed certification program and certify acreage planted for foundation, registered and certified seed. In 2012, approximately 120,000 acres were planted in seed increase in the Southeast.
By cultivars, Georgia 06-G was 77 percent of the acreage followed by Tifguard, Georgia 07W, Florida 07 and Georgia Green with five percent each. Georgia 09B was produced on two percent of the acreage and Flo-Run ‘107’ on one percent.
National Campaign On New PB Flavors
About 65 percent of the peanuts in the Southeast land in a jar of peanut butter. Now, Peanut Butter & Co. is launching its first-ever national advertising campaign to showcase flavored peanut butters and invite consumers to
“Taste Amazing.” The company will air a series of three nationally broadcast commercials that encourage consumers to go beyond smooth and crunchy and step into Peanut Butter & Co.’s exciting world of flavored peanut butter. The “Taste Amazing” campaign represents a significant departure from traditional peanut butter advertising, which has typically focused on the familiar and nostalgic elements of peanut butter. Because adults statistically eat more peanut butter than children every day, the
“Taste Amazing” campaign focuses on the exciting, indulgent and unique flavor combinations of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter that appeal to adults and kids alike.