House Passes School Finance Bill Senate

Consideration Moving Forward

LUBBOCK, May 7, 2004                            By Shawn Wade

      TheTexas House of Representatives approved its version of school finance reformlegislation earlier in the week and placed the onus squarely on the shouldersof the Texas Senate to put together its vision for reform.

      Oncethe Senate's version is completed, the two bodies can begin what may be an evenbigger challenge, combining the two bills into a single piece of acceptablelegislation.

      Severalviews have been put forth regarding the action taken by the House this week.Some say the stripped down bill is nothing but a "punt" by the Houseleadership designed to put the determination of success or failure squarely onthe Senate.

      Othersview the legislation as just a placeholder that will allow House and Senateconference committee members to come together and develop a "real"school finance reform bill outside the environment of an open and contentiousfloor debate.

      Eitherway all eyes are on the Senate.

      Agriculturehas been a pro-active participant in the debate to date and the industrycontinues to work on behalf of Texas farmers and ranchers to make sure anunfair share of the burden does not get pushed on rural Texas.

      PlainsCotton Growers has been a visible part of the coalition through Executive VicePresident Steve Verett. Earlier in the week Verett and current PCGSecretary-Treasurer Barry Evans made the rounds at the State Capital in Austinto reiterate the views of the agricultural industry on school finance reformand how the proposals being debated would affect the industry.

      Whilein Austin, Verett and Evans participated in a meeting of the Texas AgriculturalCouncil. They also visited with a number of legislators including RepresentativesCarl Isett (R-Lubbock) who is a member of the House Public School FinanceSelect Committee, Pete Laney (D-Hale Center), Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon)Chairman of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee, Warren Chisum(R-Pampa), David Swinford (R-Amarillo), Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), andSenator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock).

 

Voluntary Survey Process Is Basis For

Average Price Received Calculation

LUBBOCK, May 7, 2004                            By Shawn Wade

      Anyonetrying to keep track of the 2003 Counter-cyclical Program payment calculationhave probably developed lots of questions and gotten relatively few answersduring the course of the 2003 marketing year. What most have discovered is thatit is not nearly as easy a task as they first imagined.

      Infact, trying to understand what the figures used to make the calculation reallymean involves understanding the landscape in which the figures are sought andthen learning more about how they are derived.

      Thefirst thing producers need to know is that the Weighted Average Price Receivedby farmers published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service is not atally of every bale marketed. In fact, there are no laws or other mechanismsthat require the reporting of actual cotton sales information to USDA.

      Inorder to develop this important data the USDA National Agricultural StatisticsService must solicit the voluntary cooperation of merchants and marketingassociations to submit sales volume and price data as part of a monthly surveyprocess.

      Throughthe years this process has done an excellent job of keeping producers informed.It provides the estimated volume of cotton marketed and the prices paid duringthe month.

      Itappears, however, that the 2003 crop is breaking the mold somewhat in that theestimated level of marketings developed through the survey process is laggingthe volume of sales indicated by other components of the cotton program.

      Ofthe 18 or so million bales estimated to be produced in 2003, some 14-15 millionbales can now be counted as sold and shipped either to domestic end-users or tothe export market since the start of the marketing year through the month ofMarch. In contrast the bales estimated to have been marketed by NASS duringthat same period adds up to just under 10 million bales.

      NASScan, and does, adjust the number of bales marketed and the prices received atthe end of the marketing year before publishing the final estimate. It is thisnumber that will be used to calculate the final CCP payment rate. Until thattime there is really no way to determine what effect any potential adjustmentsmay have.

      The2003 Counter-cyclical payment rate authorized under the 2002 Farm Bill will bebased on the 12-month Weighted Average Price Received by growers. For cottonthe 12-month Weighted Average Price will reflect the estimated price and balesmarketed during the 2003 marketing year. The 2003 cotton marketing year beganin August 1, 2003 and ends July 31, 2004.

      Thefollowing table shows the estimated marketings and average price received eachmonth by farmers and the associated weighted average price based on cumulativebales marketed through March 2004.

Average PriceReceived Through March 2004

For 2003-crop UplandCotton

(Weighted by balesmarketed)

 

Bales Marketed

Prices

 

(000's of Running bales)

(cents/Lb.)

 

Monthly

Cum.

Monthly

Weighted

August

420

420

46.30

46.30

September

769

1,189

55.70

52.38

October

1,783

2,972

68.00

61.75

November

1,912

4,884

63.40

62.40

December

1,938

6,822

64.10

62.88

January

1,546

8,368

62.50

62.81

February

1,422

9,790

62.70

62.79

March

167

9,957

59.40

62.74

April

na

na

59.50*

na

Source: NationalAgricultural Statistics Service; * = preliminary