The Bush administration on Friday announced it was changing export programs that help U.S. cotton farmers sell their crops overseas. The action was triggered by a recent World Trade Organization decision that U.S. subsidies to cotton growers did NOT comply with WTO rules.
The government says it has set a new fee structure for its Export Credit Guarantee Program ... and the Supplier Credit Guarantee Program. It also says it will discontinue the Intermediate Export Credit Guarantee Program. But it took NO action to change the Cotton Marketing Program, which the WTO also ruled did NOT meet compliance.
Meanwhile, the government's annual planted acreage report released this week gave growers of every major commodity some idea of what lies ahead at harvest.
Traders called the USDA's acreage report mostly neutral ... which means the weather will be the driving factor in the markets through harvest.
U.S. corn plantings were 81.6 (M) million acres, up 1% from 2004 and up 4% from 2003. Producers planted 52% of their acreage with biotech varieties intended to fend off weeds and/or pests. That's up 5 percentage points from the biotech corn plantings in 2004.
Soybean plantings were down 3% from a year ago ... with an estimated 73.3 (m) million acres. This was just slightly higher than pre-report estimates, but lower than USDA's March projections.
All wheat planted is estimated at 58.1 (M) million acres, down 3% from last year. Spring wheat acreage is at 14.1 (m) million acres, durum at just under 2.6 (m) million acres and the 2005 winter wheat crop is at 41.4 (m) million acres.
All cotton plantings for 2005 are expected to total 14 (m) million acres, 3% above last year. Upland cotton acreage totaled 13.8 million acres, also up 3 percent. American-Pima cotton growers planted 266,000 acres, up 7% from 2004.