WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — In a letter sent to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and a diverse group of 34 agriculture industry organizations called for passage of the Commodity End-User Relief Act (H.R. 4413) - when it is considered on June 9.
The bill seeks to reauthorize operations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in a way that better protects futures customers, provides end users with market certainty, makes basic reforms that ensure transparency and accountability at the commission, and helps farmers, ranchers, and end users manage risks to help keep consumer costs low. Typically reauthorized every five years, the CFTC has been operating without authorizing legislation for nearly two years.
According to the NGFA-led letter, the legislation contains numerous critical provisions for agricultural and agribusiness hedgers who use futures and swaps to manage their business and production risks. For example, the organizations believe the following are important to the ag industry:
• Codification of important customer protections to help prevent another MF Global situation.
• A permanent solution to the residual interest problem that would have put more customer funds at risk - and potentially driven farmers, ranchers and small hedgers out of futures markets - by forcing pre-margining of their hedge accounts.
• Relief from burdensome and technologically infeasible recordkeeping requirements in commodity markets.
• A requirement that the CFTC to conduct a study and issue a rule before reducing the de minimis threshold for swap dealer registration in order to make sure that doing so would not harm market liquidity and end-user access to markets.
• Confirmation of the intent of Dodd-Frank that anticipatory hedging is considered bona fide hedging activity.
The letter was signed by: Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Agribusiness Council of Indiana/Indiana Grain and Feed Association, American Cotton Shippers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Soybean Association, Commodity Markets Council, Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Bean Shippers Association, Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, Missouri Agribusiness Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Grain and Feed Association, National Pork Producers Council, Nebraska Grain and Feed Association, North American Export Grain Association, North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, Pacific Northwest Grain and Feed Association, Rocky Mountain Agribusiness Association, Southeast Minnesota Grain and Feed Dealers Association, South Dakota Grain and Feed Association, Tennessee Feed and Grain Association, Texas Grain and Feed Association, USA Rice Federation, and Wisconsin Agri-Business Association.