Pay Limit CommissionIssues Final Report

LUBBOCK, September 5, 2003            By Shawn Wade

      It has been a long time coming, butfinally the report from the Commission on the Application of PaymentLimitations for Agriculture has been released.

      The full report, which spans atotal of 170 pages, provides recommendations and analysis regarding currentpayment limitation rules.

      The good news for cotton inparticular is that the report stops well short of recommending wholesalechanges to current rules.

      In fact, the key recommendationsput forth by the Commission were that changes to payment limit rules would havea negative impact on U.S. agriculture in general. The report also states thatconsideration of pay limit changes is best left until the next Farm Bill andthat any changes that are adopted be phased in over a period of years.

      Other recommendations put forth bythe Commission were:

¥     The need for additional resources to beallocated to the Farm Service Agency and Office of the Inspector General toimprove oversight and implementation of the rules and prevent abuse of theprogram;

¥     Payment limit rules and regulationsshould not encourage producers to choose a form of business organization theywould not otherwise consider;

¥ Rules should not cause producers to take on production ormarketing risks they would not otherwise undertake;

¥     Efforts to change payment limit policiesshould strive to make those policies meaningful, transparent and simple;

¥     Changes in payment limits should besensitive to the differences in commodities, regions and existing agribusinessinfrastructure; and,

¥     USDA should increase efforts to providemore complete data on farm program benefits.

      The CommissionÕs recommendationswere also prefaced by the need for additional study to better understand howpayment limit rules affect producers today so that potential changes to thoserules can be more accurately anticipated.

      The report also emphasizes the manydifferent reasons that payments are made to producers and the complex interactionsthat each payment type has with another.

      Critics and supporters alike willno doubt find information to support their arguments in the details of thereport. On its face, however, the recommendation that no changes be made atthis time is a positive statement that program supporters can use to fend offfuture attempts to change current rules.


U.S. Cotton Bracing for Media Onslaught As WTO Negotiations Resume

LUBBOCK, September 5, 2003            By Shawn Wade

      With next weekÕs resumption of theDoha Round of WTO Trade Negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, U.S. cotton industryofficials have been busy fielding media inquiries from around the world.

      The efforts of the internationalmedia to cover the pending negotiations, fueled by the claims and oftenone-sided information provided by special interests groups world-wide, havebeen a cresting wave that is expected to break in the next few days.

      Given the recent track record ofmedia stories and editorials it is hard to imagine that a positive picture ofU.S. farm or trade policy will be put forth.

      Closer to home Plains CottonGrowers dealt closely with reporters from the London-base newspaper TheGuardian in mid-August. TheGuardianÕs story isexpected to run as early as the weekend of September 6-7, just before theCancun talks get underway.


HighPlains Calendar of Events

September 2003

Date            Event/Location*

Sept. 9        CastroCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 10       DawsonCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 11       YoakumCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 12       LubbockCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 16       FloydCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 16             WestTexas Agricultural

                  ChemicalsInstitute Annual Meeting,

                  LubbockMemorial Civic Center

Sept. 17       LynnCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 18       TerryCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 24       CrosbyCounty Crop Tour

Sept. 25       FiberMaxField Day

Sept. 30             MitchellCounty Crop Tour

*Additional details and location information will be included asthey become available or you can call your County Extension office.