CRP Sign-Up 29 Offers Limited Opportunities

LUBBOCK, August 27, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Earlierthis month USDA announced dates for the 29th CRP sign-up. The sign-up periodwill open Aug. 30 and run through Sept. 24, 2004.

      Producersinterested in submitting bids during CRP sign-up 29 can do so at their localFSA offices.

      Ofprimary interest to landowners wishing to submit a bid and enroll acreageduring sign-up 29 is which counties will have acreage to be enrolled duringthis sign-up period. Only counties currently below the 25 percent acreage capwill be able to accept applications during this sign-up period.

      Landthat is not currently enrolled in CRP may be offered for enrollment during CRPsign-up 29. Also, current CRP contract holders whose contracts expire on eitherSeptember 30, 2004 or September 30, 2005 may submit offers during sign-up 29.Offers accepted during sign-up 29 will take effect on October 1, 2005 orOctober 1, 2006.

      Tosubmit CRP offers, producers must visit their local FSA offices. FSA willaccept offers only during the sign-up period (August 30 to September 24, 2004).

      USDAexpects there to be limited acreage available for CRP enrollment during sign-up29. To maximize their chances of acceptance farmers and ranchers are being encouragedto work closely with their local FSA office to maximize the EnvironmentalBenefits Index (EBI) score of their CRP offers.

      FSAwill use the EBI to rank the expected benefits of enrolling in CRP based oncost and five environmental factors: soil erosion; water quality; air quality;wildlife enhancement; and enduring benefits that continue beyond the life ofthe contract.

      To beeligible for CRP enrollment, a producer must have owned or operated the landfor at least 12 months prior to close of the CRP sign-up period, unless: thenew owner acquired the land due to the previous owner’s death; the ownershipchange occurred due to foreclosure where the owner exercised a timely right orredemption in accordance with state law; or the circumstances of the acquisitionpresent adequate assurance to FSA that the new owner did not acquire the landfor the purpose of placing it in CRP.

      To beeligible for placement in CRP, land must be: cropland (including field margins)that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity 4 of theprevious 6 crop years from 1996 to 2001 which is physically and legally capableof being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity; certainmarginal pastureland that is enrolled in the Water Bank Program; or certainland devoted to hardwood trees that was under CRP contract which expired onSeptember 30, 2001, or earlier.

      Inaddition to the eligible land requirements, cropland must also meet one of thefollowing criteria: have a weighted average erosion index of 8 or higher; beexpiring CRP acreage; or, be located in a national or state CRP conservationpriority area.

      CRPrules limit the number of acres that can be enrolled in the program to 25percent of the total cropland in a county. Several High Plains and Panhandlecounties remain below this 25 percent county acreage cap for CRP enrollment.Producers and landowners interested in enrolling land during sign-up 29 shouldcontact their county FSA office to determine if the county is below the 25percent CRP acreage cap and will accept bids during sign-up 29.

      Countiesreported to be below the 25 percent CRP acreage cap in the High Plains regioninclude: Borden, Carson, Castro, Crosby, Dawson, Garza, Hansford, Hartley,Hemphill, Howard, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Midland, Moore,Ochiltree, Parmer, Potter, Roberts, Sherman, and Terry.

      Inreturn for establishing long-term, resource-conserving covers, FSA providesrental payments to participants. FSA bases CRP rental rates on the relativeproductivity of the soils within each county and the average dryland cash rentor cash-rent equivalent.

      Amaximum CRP rental rate for each county is calculated in advance of enrollment.Producers may offer land at that rate or offer a lower rental rate and increasethe likelihood that their offer will be accepted by increasing their overallEBI score.

      Formore information about CRP sign-up 29 call the local Farm Service Agency officeor go online at: and click on this link: Bush AdministrationExpands Conservation Reserve Program.


High Plains Ag Expo Highlights Cotton's Growing Presence in NorthernPanhandle

LUBBOCK, August 27, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Approximately60 cotton producers, mostly from the expanding cotton production regions northof Amarillo, attended a daylong cotton information and production seminar atthe High Plains Ag Expo in Dumas August 24.

      Participantslearned about the structure of the cotton industry during an informativemorning session and picked up valuable production, harvesting and marketingtips to help them be more successful at growing, and marketing their newlyadopted crop that afternoon.

      "Itis exciting to see and interact with farmers who are new to the cotton industryand eager to learn the many nuances that set our industry and our commodityapart," said PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett. "As thefarmers in northern Panhandle continue to increase cotton's presence, PCG islooking forward to serving them to the best of its ability and to helping thembe successful part of the cotton industry in Texas and the U.S."

      Duringthe daylong meeting producers heard from PCG's Verett who explained the purposeand structure of the regional producer organization that serves the cottonproducers of the Texas High Plains and Panhandle regions.

      Alsospeaking to the group was the National Cotton Council's Craig Brown, whodiscussed the NCC's structure and included timely information about several keyissues facing the cotton industry. Joining Brown on the program was CottonBoard Field Representative Leah Reed who provided an overview of that body'stask of overseeing the highly successful Cotton Research and Promotion Program.

      FollowingReed was Cotton Incorporated (CI) Vice President for Strategic Planning MarkMessura. Messura talked about the many different programs CI utilizes to trackconsumer preferences and to increase the use of cotton around the world.

      Roundingout the morning program was PCG's Roger Haldenby who updated the group on thestatus of boll weevil eradication programs in Texas.

      Duringa lunch sponsored by Monsanto and AFD Seed, cotton growers and regionalagriculture leaders were treated to the announcement that another new cottongin is being planned for the northern panhandle region.

      Thenew gin, to be located in Moore County, was announced by panhandle farmers DougMay and Doug Nix, both of whom have invested in the recently completed CarsonCounty Gin at White Deer. It was also announced that Jim Bradford, owner ofNorth Gin in Dimmitt, would be involved in the new Moore County gin.


Nominations Due September 3 for Upcoming FSA County Committee Elections

LUBBOCK, August 27, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Farmersand ranchers interested in serving as Farm Service Agency County Committeemembers have until September 3, 2004 to fill out and return nomination formsfor upcoming County Committee elections.

      Anyoneinterested in nominating themselves or someone else can do so by contactingtheir local Farm Service Agency office. Nomination forms are also availableonline that can be printed out and returned to the local FSA office. Todownload the appropriate form go to:


      TheCounty Committee structure was developed in the 1930s when Congress set up thesystem under which Federal farm programs were to be administered locally.

      Farmersand ranchers who participate Federal farm programs are given the opportunity toelect a three- to five-person county committee, which reviews county officeoperations and makes some local decisions on how to apply the programs.

      Aftermore than 60 years, this system remains a cornerstone of FSA's efforts topreserve and promote American agriculture.

      Eligibleframers and ranchers who wish to serve in their county need to remember theseimportant election dates:

      September3, 2004: Last day to file nomination forms.

      November8, 2004: Ballots mailed to eligible voters.

      December6, 2004: Last day to return voted ballots.

      January1, 2005: Elected committee members and alternates take office.


Calendar of Events

      Septemberis a busy month across the High Plains as growers are given the opportunity toparticipate in a wide variety of Texas Cooperative Extension and industry croptours. In an effort to help producers plan to attend these tours a list ofcounty crop tours will be included as soon as this information becomesavailable.

      Thelist below includes information on tours that have been confirmed by PCG.





September 1

Cochran County Drip Irrigation Tour, 8:00 a.m.

Eric Silhan Farm, .7 miles north of County Road 74 on Hwy 214


September 2

2004 In-season Cotton Management Series (at 4 locations):

Timing of Harvest Aid Applications and Harvest Aid Product Update, by Dr. Randy Boman



Location 1: Max Lee Crop Spraying, Slaton

8:30-9:30 a.m.


Location 2: Owens Co-op Gin

10:30-11:30 a.m.


Location 3: Lockney Co-op Gin

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.


Location 4: Edcot Gin at Edmonson

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.


September 16

Terry County Farm Tour,

9:00 a.m.

Departs from the First Baptist Church parking lot in Brownfield.