A federal program that anchorsa major part of Georgia’s farm economy is currently under fireas the United States prepares its future farm policy to complywith freer trade in the world.Since the 1930s, the U.S. government has run a peanut programthat controls domestic supply and demand through a quota and pricesupport system.In the past, this program had little effect on world trade, andworld trade had little effect on it, said Nathan Smith, an economistwith the University of Georgia Extension Service.Going to Change The World Trade Organization believes government subsidies distortfree world trade, Smith said.WTO considers a domestic program a “trade distorter”if it supports the number of acres of a commodity planted or theamount or price of the crop.Even though the current peanut program is considered a no-net-costprogram, the WTO says it’s a barrier against open world trade.The peanut program costs the United States in trade negotiations.”The WTO says the current program distorts world trade by$347 million,” Smith said.Under WTO rules, the United States has agreed to limit its spendingon agricultural trade-distorting programs to $19.1 billion. Thisis referred to as “amber box” spending, which includesthe current peanut program, Smith said.In WTO terminology, different types of spending go into different color boxes. Spending that distorts trade goes into the amber box. Spending that does not distort trade goes into a green box.Peanut Proposals The U.S. peanut industry is considering two major proposals.One proposes to stimulate the purchase of U.S. peanuts in theworld market. Peanuts would receive a price support similar tothe current program, Smith said. Processors would buy U.S. peanutsat the world price, and the government would make up the differencebetween the domestic price and the world price.”This program would modify the current program but not moveit out of the amber box,” Smith said.A second program would be a marketing loan option. Other majorU.S. crops such as corn and cotton are under this type of program.The government would still make payments to compensate for worldprices. But the program would not be tied to production controland would fit under WTO trade rules, Smith said.Whatever the outcome, he said, Georgia peanut farmers can expectchanges in the federal program that has governed their industryfor a long time. “But the peanut program doesn’t fit with the current (U.S.)trade policies,” Smith said. “The program is going tochange. But by how much? That’s the question right now.”Any changes to the current peanut program will affect Georgia’seconomy, Smith said. Peanuts contribute about $400 million a yearto Georgia’s farm economy and about $800 million in economic activityfor the state. Georgia grows about 40 percent of U.S. peanuts.It will be another year and half before the next farm bill isimplemented. But the House Agricultural Committee is now preparingthe part that will affect the peanut program, Smith said. Theyhope to have the basis ironed out by June.How will a domestic peanut program fit into a farm bill that encouragesmore open world trade?Competing with The World Unchecked free trade would hurt the domestic peanut industry,Smith said. High tariffs keep the U.S. peanut market from beingflooded by foreign peanuts. But these tariffs will be loweredin the future and allow more peanuts to be imported.The Free Trade Areas of America recently met in Canada to discussfurther expansion of free trade for all of the Western Hemisphere.This agreement includes open trade with peanut-producing countriessuch as Argentina and Nicaragua.Farmers in these countries have much lower input costs than U.S.growers have. They can sell their peanuts cheap. “And thosecountries would have access to our market,” Smith said. Peanutfarming in Georgia would be cut drastically.Trade Distorter
MASON CITY — Both of NIACC’s cross country teams remain ranked in this week’s Division I polls. The Lady Trojans are ranked 14th after placing fourth in their own Trent Smith Invitational last Friday. Iowa Central is ranked first in the women’s poll followed by Southern Idaho. Iowa Western out of the conference is ranked 10th. The NIACC men are ranked 17th in this week’s poll after placing fifth in the Trent Smith Invitational last week. Cloud County Community College of Kansas is ranked first, with three other conference members being ranked in the top 25 — Iowa Central third, Iowa Western sixth and Hawkeye Community College 22nd. Both NIACC teams are off until the Region XI meet in Ottumwa on October 25th. AMES — Iowa State’s emerging ground game has given the Cyclone offense more confidence heading into this week’s game at Texas Tech. ISU has averaged 166 yards on the ground the past two weeks and senior receiver La’Michael Pettway believes it will lead to more big plays.Freshman running back Breece Hall burst onto the scene with 132 yards on the ground in a win at West Virginia.Sophomore receiver Tarique Milton says the emergence of Hall gives the Cyclones an added dimension.Kickoff in Lubbock is scheduled for 11 o’clock on Saturday AMES — A new look Iowa State basketball team will be out to make another post-season run. The Cyclones lost nearly half the roster off of last year’s team that won the Big 12 tournament title and coach Steve Prohm has been searching for the right combinations.Michael Jacobson returns along the front line and sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton was named to pre-season All Big 12 first team.Prohm says Haliburton will be counted on to log a lot of minutes.A key addition will be Penn State transfer Rasir Bolton at guard.A tough Big 12 race will be part of what Prohm calls a demanding schedule.The Cyclones open at home on November fifth against Mississippi Valley State. IOWA CITY — The Iowa Hawkeyes will be out to snap a two game losing streak this week when they host Purdue. Freshman receiver Nico Ragaini says the Hawkeyes are focused on what still can be accomplished.Quarterback Nate Stanley says they have gone back to work in hopes of fixing an offense that has scored only one touchdown in two games.Iowa safety Geno Stone says there has not been a loss of confidence.Kickoff at Kinnick Stadium is scheduled for 11 o’clock, with the pre-game starting at 9 o’clock on AM-1300 KGLO IOWA FALLS — Kennedy Meister earned her 1000th career dig on Wednesday night as the NIACC volleyball team swept Ellsworth three sets to nothing — 25-11, 25-14 and 25-12. NIACC is 6-1 in conference play and 24-8 overall. The Lady Trojans remain in a three-way tie atop the conference standings with Iowa Central and Northeast Community College, with Iowa Central beating Southeastern and Northeast sweeping Southwestern last night. NIACC travels to the Iowa Lakes tournament with two matches each on Friday and Saturday.