Predictions 2002

January 1, 2002

January 1, 2002

It's prediction time! First let's look back at 2001. It's time to be judged. I predicted that President Bush would push Fast Track (later named Trade Promotion Authority) through the Congress. The House passed it with one vote to spare. That was the tough part. The Senate will be easier. Should happen soon.

I said I didn't expect to see a new Farm Bill in 2001. No, we don't have one yet, but I was surprised to watch the efficient passage of a bipartisan bill in the House. It's the Senate that couldn't get the job done.

The prediction that makes me the happiest is the death of the Death Tax. I know it's not permanent, but I am optimistic we will eventually get the job done. I thought the 2000 recovery in livestock prices would carry over to oil seeds and grains in 2001. Wrong, I'm sorry to say.

Speaking of livestock, no one was able to foresee the explosive threat ofFoot and Mouth or Mad Cow Disease. Well,

I we don't have them in the u.S. and I say we're not going to get them. Also, this year the Senate will pass the Farm Bill and then it can be conferenced with the House Bill that passed last year.

President Bush has promised the funding level will not be cut, so there is no excuse. In the end, the final bill will look more like the House bill than the one the Senate has been debating.

President Bush will win Trade Promotion Authority. The nation's economy will recover, increasing demand for beef and pork and at the same time pushing up interest rates. Hope you have already done your refinancing. When will the grains come back? I give up! Who knows?

Just as the unpredictable had the greatest impact on 2001, something unexpected will once again determine the headlines and ( demand our attention in 2002. Let's just hope it is not something as horrendous as 9-11.

Have a great year! Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.