Senate Push For House Farm Bill

Six U.S. senators, hoping to speed up action on the new Farm Bill, filed legislation on Friday to make the $73.5 billion bill passed by the House of Representatives the new U.S. farm law, Reuters News Service reports.

Sponsor Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat, said her bill offered "a strong safety net for America's farmers (and) ranchers." It would boost farm support spending by $48.785 billion over 10 years.

Arkansas Republican Tim Hutchinson, a co-sponsor, said he hoped the Senate bill would be brought to a floor vote "very soon. This bill offers the best chance for getting a bill to the president this fall."

The Senate Agriculture Committee was expected to discuss crop subsidies next week as well as outlays on conservation and public nutrition programs.

There are also reports of another bill being offered by South Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad that would spend $44.85 billion on subsidies through 2011. The proposal being offered by Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin would spend only $40 billion on subsidies, an amount which other Democrats have criticized as too low.

Lobbyists apparently think the Conrad proposal could win the 11 votes needed for the Ag Committee to pass it. There are reports that key Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucas of Montana and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont also support the Conrad bill.

Crop Report Slightly Bearish For Corn

Friday morning's USDA crop report looks slightly bearish for corn prices and neutral for the soybean market. USDA raised its estimates for both crops, but the soybean increase was not large enough to have much impact.

USDA pegged corn production at 9.546 billion bushels, up from its October estimate of 9.430 billion bushels.

The USDA estimate was at the high end of trade expectations, which averaged 9.498 billion bushels in a range from 9.435 to 9.585 billion bushels.

USDA pegged soybean production at 2.923 billion bushels, up from its October estimate of 2.907 billion bushels.

The soybean estimate was also near the high end of trade expectations, which averaged 2.907 billion bushels in a range from 2.838 to 2.34 billion bushels.

Editors note: Richard Brock, Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.