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Ag's role in the debt deal

Jeff Caldwell 08/01/2011 @ 8:40am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Though the final votes are not in yet, lawmakers said late Sunday that they've reached an agreement to trim spending and bump the nation's debt ceiling to avoid an economic default.

Leaders from Congress and the White House announced the tentative deal Sunday that will raise the debt ceiling by just over $2.1 trillion and cut spending by around $2 trillion over the next 10 years. That is, if the plan nets the required votes in the Senate and House of Representatives later this week.

In the overnight trading session following the debt deal's announcement, the CME Group grains jumped sharply higher. "The grains love the Washington news," says grain market analyst and ICAP Energy derivitaves manager in Chicago, Scott Shellady.

It's the federal budget cuts that could have the biggest impact on agriculture down the road, especially with a new farm bill on the horizon in 2012. According to a report from the National Agricultural Law Center, direct payments, crop insurance and conservation programs are all nearest the chopping block in the next farm bill if Congress approves the budget cuts this week.

"Originally, the proposed cuts focused on eliminating direct payments, but have evolved to include cuts to crop insurance and conservation program funding as well," according to the National Ag Law Center's Agricultural and Food Law and Policy Blog.

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Scott Shellady: Options 101