Crop Insurance Hearing and Commodity

Symposium Highlight Busy Week

Friday, December 5, 2003                          ByShawn Wade

      The first week of Decemberprovided High Plains agriculture a chance to showcase itself by playing host totwo different, but equally important and informative events.

      The week started with thearrival of members of the House Agriculture Committee General Farm Commoditiesand Risk Management Subcommittee in Lubbock for a field hearing on federal cropinsurance. The hearing was held in Lubbock at the request of Rep. RandyNeugebauer.

      Chaired by Rep. Jerry Moranof Kansas, the hearing was attended by three other members of the subcommittee:Neugebauer, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas.HAC Ranking Minority Member Charlie Stenholm of Stamford was also present.

      The hearing provided theSubcommittee with producer feedback on the effectiveness of the federal cropinsurance program and many new ideas that could enhance the risk managementproducts available to producers.

      Plains Cotton GrowersPresident Mark Williams presented testimony at the hearing. PCGs commentsincluded a number of ideas for program improvements and referenced issues thatPCG is working with the USDA Risk Management Agency to resolve.

      PCGs testimony providedsuggestions for new combination products based on the Group Risk Plan (GRP) ofinsurance such as a GRP/Hail or a GRP/CAT (Catastrophic Risk Policy). PCGsgoal is to add an element of individual protection to the GRP policy to provideeffective alternatives to producers who cannot obtain adequate coverage througha traditional MPCI policy.

      In the same vein, PCG alsosuggested producers be allowed to purchase different levels of coverage onunits based on production practice instead of being locked into one coveragelevel across both irrigated and non-irrigated units.

      Williams concluded byhighlighting issues that PCG is working on such as deferred appraisal periodsfor non-emerged seed, quality loss adjustment procedures, boll count appraisalprocedures, and written agreement provisions.


Texas Commodity Symposium Gets High Marks

      The final report card for the3rd Annual Texas Commodity Symposium will show straight As as adistinguished line-up of speakers provided an in-depth look at important issuesfacing Texas agriculture today.

      The meeting also providedorganizations representing Texas farmers and ranchers an opportunity to workface-to-face with federal and state officials that create and implement keyagricultural programs. Add the insight gained on national and state issues andthe event was a resounding success.

      Speakers at the 2003Symposium were: Juan Garcia, Texas State Farm Service Agency; Dr. Ed Smith,Texas A&M University; Ross Davidson, Jr., USDA Risk Management AgencyAdministrator; Texas House Members Rick Hardcastle and David Swinford; andFloyd Gaibler, Deputy Under Secretary USDA Farm and Foreign AgriculturalServices.

      Topics discussed includedpayment limitations, farm programs, international trade, crop insurance andrisk management, as well as key statewide issues that affect agriculture likeschool finance reform.

      For Plains Cotton Growers itprovided an opportunity to make progress on unresolved Crop Disaster Program(CDP) implementation issues, the Conservation Reserve Program and Federal CropInsurance.

      At the top of PCGs insuranceissue list was finding ways to offer cotton insurance in northern panhandlecounties where producers are diversifying operations to include cotton. Alsoaddressed were the issues of deferred appraisal periods for non-emerged seedand secondary crop coverage.


FSA Announces Closing Date for CDP Sign-up

Friday, December 5, 2003                          ByShawn Wade

      Agriculture Secretary Ann M.Veneman announced that January 30, 2004 would mark the close of the currentCrop Disaster Program (CDP), which provides payments for producers who suffered2001 or 2002 crop-year losses due to a natural disaster. The CDP was authorizedby the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003.

      Since the start of theprogram, which opened on June 6, 2003, USDA has issued $2.2 billion in benefitsto about 325,000 farmers across the country.

      USDA is encouraging anyonewho suffered a qualifying loss to make an appointment with his or her countyFarm Service Agency office and take advantage of this assistance.

      Under the program, eligibleproducers are reimbursed for qualifying crop production and quality losses foreither the 2001 or 2002 crop years. Payments are issued for losses exceeding 35percent of expected production. Producers with quality losses of at least 20percent could also seek reimbursement on certain crops.

      Eligible producers who didnot have crop insurance or Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Programcoverage during the year of the disaster must agree to purchase coverage foreach of the next two crop years.

      More information on CDP andother USDA disaster assistance programs is available at local Farm ServiceAgency (FSA) offices and on FSA's Web site at: