Subcommittee Reviews Dramatic Movements in Commodity Markets

May 15, 2008

WASHINGTON - Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing to review the source of volatile price movements in agricultural and energy commodity markets. Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina is the Chairman of the Subcommittee.

“Recent dramatic swings in the price of energy and agricultural commodities futures have led to higher prices at the pump and the grocery store for Americans,” said Chairman Etheridge. “Today, the Subcommittee heard from all sides about the possible sources of these dramatic price increases. In the coming months, I look forward to reviewing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s proposed initiatives to address this issue. Steps must be taken to maintain confidence in our commodity markets and to provide more stable prices for the American farmer and consumer.”

“In the last year, agricultural commodity markets have seen an appreciation in price,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Moran of Kansas. “With increased prices, however, come new challenges. This hearing will give us the opportunity to listen to the concerns of market participants, review the findings of the CFTC, and determine if there are ways the regulatory structure can be adjusted to ensure the markets are operating properly.”

The Subcommittee heard testimony from three panels of witnesses on commodity exchange price volatility and its effects on the agricultural and energy supply chains. Representatives from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the chief regulator of commodity futures and options markets, provided testimony on market trends. Additional testimony was provided by representatives of commodity market exchanges, farm organizations, and agricultural and energy producers and distributors.

The opening statements of all the witnesses are available on the Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website at a later date.

Panel I

  •     Mr. Jeff Harris, Chief Economist, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Washington, D.C.
  •     Mr. John Fenton, Deputy Director, Market Surveillance Section, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Washington, D.C.

Panel II

  •     Mr. Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.
  •     Mr. Terrence A. Duffy, Executive Chairman, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group, Inc., Chicago, Illinois
  •     Mr. Gerry Ramm, President, Inland Oil Company, on behalf of Petroleum Marketers Association of America, Ephrata, Washington
  •     Dr. James Newsome, President and CEO, New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc., New York, New York
  •     Ms. Laura Campbell, Assistant Manager of Energy Resources, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, on behalf of American Public Gas Association, Memphis, Tennessee

Panel III

  •     Mr. Garry Niemeyer, Corn and soybean producer, on behalf of National Corn Growers Association, Auburn, Illinois
  •     Mr. Layne G. Carlson, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  •     Mr. Rodney Clark, Vice President, CGB/Diversified Services, on behalf of National Grain and Feed Association, Mt. Vernon, Indiana
  •     Mr. Thomas Farley, President and COO, ICE Futures U.S., New York, New York
  •     Mr. Adolph “Andy” Weil, III, President, American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA), Montgomery, Alabama