Stimulus Package & Ag Estimates

Stimulus Package & Ag Estimates

Stimulus Package & Ag Estimatesplus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

Both the House and Senate have passed their versions of Obama’s economic stimulus package and now begin the process of putting the two together. The Senate approved their bill yesterday on a 61-37 vote that included 3 Republicans. The major differences between the $819 billion House version of Obama's plan and a Senate bill costing $838 billion are cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states. Obama has warned of a deepening economic crisis if Congress fails to act. He wants a bill completed by the weekend.

World Ag Outlook Board Chairman Gerry Bange says the latest World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report is good news for ethanol. He says lower prices for corn and sorghum - used for ethanol - has returned profitability.

BANGE: Not too many days ago we were seeing actually negative margins there. This was no profitability at all and no incentive but the current combination of sorghum and ethanol prices shows some profitability now and has were seeing some use for that purpose.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

How many millions does it take to fix the USDA’s computer problems? Apparently, about $250 million more. The proposed economic stimulus package has $250 million earmarked to correct the long term problems of the USDA’s computer system. The USDA, who has already received millions for computers in recent years, had actually been hoping for $300 million.  Hopefully the USDA will put the funds to good and sensible use and finally fix their more than lacking computer system. While the Bush administration had encouraged farmers to file for subsidies online, any farmers doing so found that the computer system did not work as intended; therefore only around one percent of farmers filed for these benefits online. This time around the USDA has hired computer professionals to ascertain and judge the best route to take in order to fix this persisting problem and lay in their requests to the new administration instead of relying on political appointees. You know what they say, hindsight is always better than foresight; perhaps this time the USDA can get it right.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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