USDAAg Marketing Service Finalizes

2004Classification Fees

LUBBOCK, May 28, 2004                       By Shawn Wade

      TheUSDA Agricultural Marketing Service Cotton Division has finalized 2004-cropuser fees for cotton classification services provided by the agency.

      The2004 user fee for high volume instrument cotton classification services willincrease to $1.65 per bale. This is an increase of 20 cents per bale over the2003 classing fee and is required to meet the mandates of the Uniform CottonClassing Fees Act of 1987.

      Theincrease is necessary to cover the higher costs associated with providingcotton classing services to growers. The collected fees cover the salaries,equipment costs and overhead, including administration and supervisionassociated with providing the service to the grower. The new fee will go intoeffect July 1, 2004 and be in effect for the 2004-growing season.

      Cottonclassification services are provided under authority of the Smith-Doxey Act.Growers use the information to sell their cotton or place it in the CommodityCredit Corporation (CCC) loan program based on the unique fiber characteristicsmeasured for each bale.

      Bylaw the Cotton Division must recoup the cost of providing classing servicesmust charge a fee to offset the expense associated with providing gradingservices to growers. All AMS program costs are recovered from the user fees andproceeds from the sale of rebaled loose cotton.

      Approximately99 percent of the cotton produced in the United States each year is graded on afee basis by USDA for cotton producers.

      Thelaw establishes a formula to estimate what the fee should be to cover expensesprior to adjustments made based on estimated volume and other factors. The lawalso limits the amount of carryover funds that can be retained by USDA to coverprogram expenses.

 

Third Draftof Proposed 2005 Standard

ReinsuranceAgreement Released By RMA

LUBBOCK, May 28, 2004                       By Shawn Wade

      TheUSDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has released the third draft of the 2005Standard Reinsurance Agreement and so far it appears that both sides involvedwith the negotiation have been able to find common ground to stand on.

      Thethird draft has received considerably better reviews than its predecessors andhas apparently evolved into a document that can be fine-tuned instead ofcompletely overhauled.

      Duringthe course of the SRA's development, changes have been made in several areas inresponse to the input of the crop insurance industry and others.

      Areaswhere changes have been made include the level and timing of changes to providecost savings within the program, modification of proposals that change thebalance of risk sharing and program support for high risk areas, and regulatoryoversight provisions. Based on the current draft, RMA estimates a cost savingsof $36 million over the next two years.

      PlainsCotton Growers has been monitoring the progress of the SRA's development and isconfident that the new document can provide the business framework that allowsthe Risk Management Agency to protect the fiscal interests of the taxpayer andmeet the needs of the crop insurance industry.

      PCG'smessage to both RMA and the insurance industry has been that the terms of theagreement must provide an environment that maintains a viable and easilyaccessible crop insurance program for growers.

      PCGhas noted that although some adjustments are needed to make the program morefiscally responsible, it is equally important that the agreement provide theopportunity for companies to profitably write insurance across their whole bookof business.

      PCGhas also made it clear through input delivered to members of Congress and theAgency that we agree with the direction the latest draft has taken andappreciate the efforts that have taken place to date.

      "Cottonproducers are acutely aware of the need for an affordable and fiscally soundfederal crop insurance program," notes PCG Executive Vice President SteveVerett. "What we must continually guard against is the creation, eitherthrough deliberate action or oversight, of a situation where growers cannotobtain affordable risk management tools and quality insurance services."

 

NASS Releases 2004 TexasUpland

Cotton County Statistics

LUBBOCK, May 28, 2004                       By Shawn Wade

      The Texas AgriculturalStatistics Service has finalized county level cotton production data for the2003-crop year. The picture it provides shows just how much the weather changedthe fortunes of last year's irrigated crop, and alternately, how that weatherbenefited the dryland areas of the region.

      Overall the 2003 cropproduced 2.23 million bales from 2.43 million harvested acres in PCG's41-county service area. This area planted a total of 3.58 million acres in2003.

      NASS figures indicatethe area lost a total of 1,146,500 acres or 32 percent of the acres planted.These acres were primarily irrigated cotton lost early in the season to hailand disease.

      The 2.23 million baleproduction figure for 2003 is 1.05 million bales, or 32 percent, below 2002when the same area produced 3.28 million bales.

      The High Plainsregion's 2.23 million bales equaled 51.5 percent of Texas' total productionlevel of 4.33 million bales in 2003.

      County yields,including both irrigated and dryland production, ranged from a high of 960pounds per harvested acre in Hartley County to a low of 182 pounds perharvested acre in Motley County. Overall the High Plains averaged 440 poundsper harvested acre in 2003.

      Further breaking downthe numbers shows that growers planted irrigated cotton on approximately 1.93million acres, but harvested only 1.1 million. This is a total irrigatedacreage loss of 42.5 percent (818,700 acres).

      Irrigated acres thatmade it to harvest averaged 686 pounds per acre. Irrigated yields ranged from ahigh of 960 pounds in Hartley and Bailey counties down to 463 pounds in MotleyCounty.

      Dryland acres plantedin 2003 totaled 1.65 million acres, of which 1.32 million were harvested.Weather conditions that inflicted significant harm to irrigated acres helpedprovide enough moisture to keep dryland abandonment at 20 percent (327,800acres).

      Dryland acres averaged234 pounds per acre across the area in 2003. For the season dryland yieldsranged from a high of 377 pounds in Carson County down to 144 in Motley County.

 

TexasHigh Plains

2003-cropUpland Cotton Production

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service

 

County

Planted

Acres

Harvested

Acres

 

Yield/HA

Production

(480lb Bales)

Andrews

22,800

15,500

542

17,500

Armstrong

1,500

1,000

576

1,200

Bailey

81,200

17,400

337

12,200

Borden

19,800

19,600

316

12,900

Briscoe

34,300

20,100

394

16,500

Carson

17,200

14,700

777

23,800

Castro

84,800

43,800

939

85,700

Cochran

117,600

41,200

387

33,200

Crosby

213,200

132,300

359

99,000

Dallam

**

**

**

**

Dawson

287,900

238,000

386

191,500

Deaf Smith

57,100

16,800

689

24,100

Dickens

23,200

20,400

351

14,900

Floyd

177,600

63,000

491

64,400

Gaines

243,400

215,500

562

252,100

Garza

43,500

41,300

288

24,800

Hale

259,600

131,500

685

187,600

Hansford

**

**

**

**

Hartley

4,300

200

960

400

Hemphill

**

**

**

**

Hockley

257,600

181,200

365

137,900

Howard

114,300

104,600

257

56,000

Hutchinson

**

**

**

**

Lamb

203,400

69,000

653

93,900

Lipscomb

**

**

**

**

Lubbock

262,200

186,000

451

174,800

Lynn

295,000

279,400

342

198,800

Martin

147,000

142,900

312

93,000

Midland

29,900

27,500

342

19,600

Moore

2,800

2,600

831

4,500

Motley

24,800

24,500

182

9,300

Ochiltree

**

**

**

**

Oldham

**

**

**

**

Parmer

92,500

21,100

851

37,400

Potter

**

**

**

**

Randall

3,400

1,200

880

2,200

Roberts

**

**

**

**

Sherman

**

**

**

**

Swisher

83,700

38,300

766

61,100

Terry

244,800

215,500

397

178,100

Yoakum

126,600

105,000

464

101,500

1-N Combined Co.

1,500

900

587

1,100

41 County Total

3,578,500

2,432,000

440

2,231,000

** Not reported and included in 1-N Combined Countiesor zero production