PCG Submits Comments OnImplementation of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act

Friday, April 9, 2004                                  By Shawn Wade

      Plains CottonGrowers submitted comments regarding the unintended effects of HB 1487, theTexas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act, and the need for an agriculture exemptionto the requirements of the bill. PCGs comments were provided at a hearing onthe bills implementation on April 6 in Austin.

      As a result ofPCGs testimony and the testimony of other agriculture groups StateRepresentative Delwin Jones of Lubbock reported that a temporarynon-enforcement agreement for agriculture was approved and that efforts toenact a permanent agriculture exemption are moving forward.

      Left as passed,the bill would have required that the electrical components of agricultureirrigation systems could only be installed, modified or repaired by a licensedMaster Electrician.

      PCGs testimonyhighlighted the fact that the vast number of irrigation service companies thatsupport agriculture applications do not have a Master Electrician on thepayroll and usually rely on trained, but lesser-certified electricians toperform electrical installation, modification and repair functions for theiragricultural customers.

      PCG requestedthat the committee overseeing the implementation of the legislation work todevelop an amendment to HB 1487 that can be submitted at the next possibleopportunity to provide an exemption for agriculture.

      It was noted thatthe additional requirement would provide no appreciable benefit to agriculturein terms of safety since qualified electricians are currently providingadequate service to the industry. PCG also noted that the additional cost toagriculture service providers and producers was unnecessary.

Neeper PresentsCautiously Bullish Near-term Market View At CI/PCG/NYBOT Workshop

Friday, April 9,2004                                  By Shawn Wade

      Calcots VicePresident of Marketing Jarral Neeper provided a cautiously bullish outlook forthe 2004 cotton market at an April 7 Futures and Options Workshop conducted inLubbock and sponsored by the New York Board of Trade, Cotton Incorporated andPlains Cotton Growers.

      Neeper notedduring his presentation that based on current projections, December 2004futures could possibly reach the 70-75 level based on the tight 2003 cropcarryover situation. He noted that 2004 consumption estimates he has pulledtogether closely match his projected 2004 production based on current plantingestimates. He noted that current world carryover stocks have only been at orbelow current levels four other times: 1980, 1989, 1990 and 1993.

      The wildcard inthe world situation he noted continues to be China because of that countrieshigh rate of consumption and the ability to drastically effect what happens inthe U.S. and other countries.

      He said thatshould Chinas crop develop to the point that few imports are required to meettheir textile industries needs, and the U.S. crop were to also produce averageor better yields across the board, a downward move could occur.

      He noted thatcurrent market volatility will likely continue, especially between now andJune, while the northern hemisphere crop is planted. He advised producers toconsider acting should the market find a way to break through the 70-cent levelin the next two months and develop a strategy to protect against future marketmovements.

TCE Workshops Set ForApril 12 and 15

Friday, April 9,2004                                  By Shawn Wade

      To help answersome of the most common questions High Plains cotton producers have been askingin recent weeks, the Texas Cooperative Extension service has scheduled twoworkshops for the week of April 12.

      The first thatwill be of interest to producers is scheduled for April 12 and will focus oncotton marketing. The one day session will be a basic Futures and OptionsWorkshop for Monday, April 12 at the Texas A&M Research and ExtensionCenter north of Lubbock, one-half mile east of I-27 on FM 1294.

      The workshop willbegin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. A registration fee of $30 willcover the cost of all course materials and a noon meal. To reserve a place callthe Texas A&M center at 806-746-6101.

      The workshop isdesigned to provide a basic understanding of futures and options and to presentpricing strategies producers can use in 2004. The workshop is designed forbeginners and will focus on providing a basic level of knowledge of the futuresmarket and some of the strategies that can be used to set a floor price for thecrop and protect against market changes.

      The TCE workshopwill be an excellent follow-up to the successful April 7 workshop sponsored bythe New York Board of Trade. Cotton Incorporated and Plains Cotton Growers.

      The secondMeeting is focused on precision agriculture and will update producers on newproducts and services that are available in 2004. This one-day workshop will beconducted Thursday, April 15 at The Texas A&M University SystemAgricultural Research and Extension center.

      The meeting isfree (although registration is required) and will run from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30p.m. with a noon meal provided. For more information and to pre-register,contact Dena Griffith at 806-746-6101. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. onApril 13.

      Topics willinclude variable rate fertilizer application, remote sensing, high-techsprayers, yield mapping, equipment guidance systems, and precision agriculturesoftware. Workshop participants can qualify to earn three continuing educationunits approved by the Texas Department of Agriculture.