High Plains Planting Progress Slow; Producers Look For Planting RainsTo Arrive

Friday,May 16, 2003                               ByShawn Wade

      Itstill premature to say how the 2003 High Plains cotton crop will fair since alarge part of the area has yet to be planted.

      Whatis becoming clearer everyday, however, is that in order for producers to takeadvantage of a relatively decent subsoil moisture situation Mother Nature isgoing to have to come through with a decent starter.

      Withlittle to no rainfall activity occurring over the May 14-16 time frame it isback to a wait and see approach for High Plains producers.

      Weatherforecasts for May 14-16 indicated the best chance in quite some time for rainto fall over an extended area of the High Plains. With nothing of consequencematerializing producers will continue to wait for something good to happen.

      Timeis still on the growers side, but another week or two without significantrainfall and the situation will take on a considerably darker complexion.

      Acurrent estimate of planted acres indicates that probably not more than 700,000acres, of an expected 3.5 million plus acres to be devoted to cotton, have yetbeen planted. Dryland acres as a whole remain basically unplanted, while themajority of the progress to date has been on irrigated acreage.

      Oneinteresting situation impacting some producers who have installed dripirrigation systems is an inability to get enough moisture to the top of theplanting bed. Dry weather and the force of gravity are causing considerableconsternation for those growers who did not retain any alternative irrigationoptions when making the conversion to drip irrigation systems.


NRCS Announces Texas EQIP Funding; Correction To Last Week’s Table

Friday,May 16, 2003                               ByShawn Wade

      Natural Resource ConservationService Agency officials have announced County and Statewide Resource Concern(SRC) funding allocation levels for the 2003 Environmental Quality IncentivesProgram (EQIP).

      A total of $38.448 Million wasallocated for financial assistance under the EQIP program, plus an additional$6 Million specifically for producers utilizing the Ogallala Aquifer. This anoverall total of some $44.5 Million in EQIP funding coming to Texas in 2003.

      Under the allocation table releasedthis week NRCS will provide a County base EQIP allocation of $72,000. For the254 Texas counties this totals some $18.28 Million.

      On top of that figure producers invarious areas of the State will be able to tap into additional funding setaside to address Statewide Resource Concerns (SRC’s).

      Some $16.9 Million has been setaside for SRC’s that include water quality, Animal Feeding Operations/ConfinedAnimal Feeding Operations (AFO/CAFO), wildlife, invasive species, and brushcontrol.

      Additionally, EQIP funds have beenset-aside to address special project areas in several locations around thestate totaling $1.35 Million and for Limited Resource/Beginning Farmer grantstotaling $1.85 Million.

      Provisions of the 2002 farm Billalso designated $6 Million in EQIP funds for producers tapping into theOgallala Aquifer.


CORRECTION:Last week’s “Cotton News” inadvertently confused some terminology regardingUSDA Conservation funding amounts announced last week.

      The $1.9 Billion reported last weekwas inadvertently identified as EQIP funding only.

      Actually, the $1.9 Billion figureis the total USDA Conservation program funds (including EQIP, WRP, and several other program)that are available nationwide for 2003.

      Also, Texas is slated to receiveslightly more than $130 Million in total Conservation funds. According to USDA fact sheets, theTexas allocation will provide approximately $69 million in technical assistanceand $61 million in financial assistance.

      Abreakdown of 2003 Conservation funding allocations for various Cotton Belt statesappears on the table below.


Cotton Belt CONSERVATION Funding Allocations

Source USDA

State                             TechnicalAssistance             FinancialAssistance

Alabama                    $18,354,076                    $10,701,700

Arizona                     $13,239,397                    $11,887,400

Arkansas                   $21,381,976                    $31,138,800

California                 $37,308,389                    $60,965,800

Georgia                     $25,140,444                    $16,793,000

Louisiana                           $19,043,763                    $33,240,600

Mississippi             $31,285,078                    $28,169,000

Missouri                   $33,905,156                    $27,558,400

New Mexico             $16,249,584                    $17,013,700

North Carolina        $19,232,458                    $18,787,400

Oklahoma                 $28,651,827                    $21,519,900

South Carolina        $13,658,925                    $14,537,700

Texas                         $69,201,376                    $61,774,700

Virginia                    $16,210,595                    $9,333,100