The Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday approved nominees for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Nominees for commissioner include Timothy Massad of Connecticut, who also would serve as chairman; Sharon Bowen of New York; and J. Christopher Giancarlo of New Jersey. Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said he supports Giancarlo’s confirmation because of his knowledge of swaps markets but expressed concern with his and Bowen’s lack of experience in agriculture and futures markets. Committee member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., expressed opposition to Bowen’s nomination because of his lack of agriculture experience. Committee member John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he wants all of the nominees to learn more about agriculture before serving on the CFTC. The three nominees now are ready for consideration by the full Senate. Click here to watch the hearing.

In related news, the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday passed H.R. 4413, “To reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to better protect futures customers, to provide end users with market certainty, to make basic reforms to ensure transparency and accountability at the Commission, to help farmers, ranchers, and end users manage risks to help keep consumer costs low, and for other purposes.”

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) was instrumental in getting included in that bill language that would further prevent comingling of customer funds, which was the key issue in the MF Global disaster. NPPC also worked closely with other agricultural organizations to prevent language that would have required producers to “pre-fund” margin call accounts. NPPC was supportive of the House Agriculture Committee-passed bill.