PCG Annual Meeting To Focus On Critical Issues

Friday, March 11, 2005                        By Shawn Wade

      Final arrangements are beingmade for the 48th Plains Cotton Growers Annual Meeting and theprogram is shaping up to once again meet the information needs of growers andindustry leaders.

      PCGÕs Annual Meeting is beingheld in conjunction with the Texas Cotton GinnersÕ Convention & Trade Show,April 7-8 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. The meeting will be held in theCivic Center Banquet Hall with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and theprogram starting at 9:00 a.m. April 7.

      Those who depend on PlainsCotton Growers for high quality information are sure to be pleased with thisyearÕs program, which is designed to bring them up to date on the latest issuesand trends in the cotton industry.

      Headlining the 2005 meetingare Dr. Mark Lange, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NationalCotton Council in Memphis, Tennessee, and Jim Wiesemeyer, a Washington,DC-based agriculture policy analyst with Informa Economics.

      Wiesemeyer is a nationallyrespected agricultural journalist and policy analyst with over 20 years ofexperience covering agriculture in Washington. Wiesemeyer has been asked todeliver his view of the agriculture policy landscape.

      Lange has been asked toaddress a broad range of topics during his presentation to the PCG membership.LangeÕs address will include a 2005 Supply/Demand forecast, an update onWashington legislative issues, including the development of the FY 2006 federalbudget, and an overview of trade issues including the recent World TradeOrganization appellate body ruling on the Brazil cotton case.

      Also on the PCG agenda is anupdate from Texas Farm Service Agency State Executive Director John Fuston anda report on the Plains Cotton Improvement Program from Plains CottonImprovement Committee Chairman Dale Swinburn. Rounding the program will bereports from PCG President Rickey Bearden and Executive Vice President SteveVerett.


RMA AddressesConcerns About Exceptional
2004 Dryland Yields And 2005 APH Calculations

Friday, March 11, 2005                        By Shawn Wade

      The USDA Risk ManagementAgency is modifying the dryland cotton yield edit levels that validate ActualProduction History (APH) yields in selected counties in order to mitigate theneed for additional proof of actual 2004 yields from growers and insuranceproviders when updating APH databases for 2005.

      Lubbock-based Plains CottonGrowers encouraged RMA to consider revising the RMA data acceptance systemdryland cotton yield thresholds, for 2004-crop production only, in an effort toprevent producers, RMA and insurance providers from being overloaded by anavalanche of mandatory yield reviews.

      In an effort to take intoaccount the exceptional 2004 dryland cotton yields that were produced in manyTexas counties, RMA has adjusted the levels at which reported yields triggerautomatic review and verification processes.

      RMA has raised the drylandyield triggers on a county-by-county basis based on the input of Plains CottonGrowers, insurance providers and USDA crop estimates.

      As actual yield informationis entered in the RMA system additional counties may have their dryland yieldreview thresholds changed to better reflect the level of 2004 production in thecounty and limit the need for extensive yield reviews.

      Insured producers are stillresponsible for the accuracy of the 2004 actual production history yield theysubmit for use in updating their APH for 2005. These changes will not eliminatethe random APH reviews that are conducted by insurance providers and RMA andproducers must maintain verifiable production evidence as needed to complete arequired APH review.


2005 Seed Cost Calculator Ready for Download

Friday, March 11, 2005                        By Shawn Wade

      An updated and greatlyexpanded version of the popular Plains Cotton Growers Seed Cost Calculator isnow available for the 2005-growing season. The new version includes over 100conventional, Roundup Ready, LibertyLink, Bollgard and Bollgard II, and stackedgene technologies.

      Producers interested in usingthe new calculator can download a copy from the PCG website (www.plainscotton.org). The PCG calculator is aninteractive Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allows producers to calculate anestimated cost per acre for both seed and technology, based on publishedsuggested retail prices.

      The new calculator will allowa grower to select up to nine varieties from the list of over 100 that areavailable, and compare them side by side.

      The calculator gives growersthe ability to see how various seed and technology combinations compare on aper-acre cost basis using their own target seeding rate expressed in plants peracre or calculated as a function of row width and number of seed planted perfoot of row.

      The PCG spreadsheet will alsoshow how much of a growerÕs per-acre cost is attributable to the cost of seedand technology, respectively, and the amount of change that occurred from 2004levels.

      Additionally, the calculatorincludes separate worksheets that group varieties by type with all conventionalseed, herbicide resistant and insect resistant Bollgard and stacked varietieson individual sheets. Should information on additional varieties becomeavailable an update to the spreadsheet will be developed.


2003/2004 Disaster Sign-up Starts March 14

Friday, March 11, 2005                        By Shawn Wade

      Preparations are underway forthe start of the sign-up period for the 2003/2004 Crop Disaster Program, butaccording to the latest reports from Farm Service Agency officials, theredoesnÕt appear to be any need to rush down to the local USDA Service Center onMarch 14.

      With the arrival of theannounced March 14 sign-up date, it appears that county offices may not haveall the tools in place to process CDP applications. As of March 11 final rulesgoverning the 2003/2004 CDP have not been finalized and published in theFederal Register. This is a necessary step that must be completed beforebenefits can be paid to growers.

      The best advice for growerswho plan to participate in the sign-up process is to call their county officeto determine how the scheduling of CDP appointments will be handled oncenecessary FSA software is in place and ready to go.

      The next best thing to dowould be to double-check that they have all the information on 2003 or 2004production necessary to complete their application.

      One way to make sure you haveal the information you need is to use one of the PCG Disaster Calculatorsavailable for download from the PCG website (www.plainscotton.org). Doing so will give a producer anidea about which farms or units qualify for the CDP, estimate how much benefitthey are likely to receive and help identify the records that will be needed tocomplete an application.

      Like the 2001/2002 CDPprogram a majority of the information necessary will be available to FSAelectronically, but it is never a bad idea to have back-ups of insurance andproduction information just in case there is a problem.

      Procedure-wise the 2003/2004CDP sign-up process will mirror the 2001/2002 program and will, hopefully,prove just as pain free for the majority of growers.

      For program crops there willbe very few differences aside from internal adjustments to the way benefits arecalculated. The following information constitutes Plains Cotton GrowerÕsunderstanding of the pertinent aspects of the 2003/2004 Crop Disaster Program.

      As inprevious CDP programs the 2003/2004 program will provide assistance for bothquantity and quality losses. Applications will be accepted on a unit-by-unitbasis when the actual production in the year of the application is less than 65percent of the higher of the producers APH yield or the County Average Yield.

      Thecounty average yield will be calculated using figures supplied by the NationalAgricultural Statistics Service. In Texas the cotton non-harvest factor willremain 88 percent as in the 2001/2002 CDP. This factor will be applied tocotton disaster payments payable on any acreage that was not carried toharvest.

      Paymentrates for the quantity loss portion of the program will be calculated as 65percent of the higher of theNational Average Price Received for the crop in the year of application orthe multi-peril crop insurance price election for the year of loss.

      Uninsuredcrops would be paid at a rate equal to 60 percent of the higher of the NationalAverage Price Received for the crop or the MPCI price for the crop. MPCI priceelections for upland cotton were 52 cents per pound in 2003 and 60 cents perpound in 2004.

      Cropsfor which no insurance is available would be paid at a rate equal to 65 percentof the higher of the National Average Price Received for the crop or theNon-insured Assistance Program (NAP) price.

      Asmentioned earlier in this article, quality losses will also be included in the2003/2004 CDP. Implementation procedures for the quality provisions areexpected to mirror those used in both the 2000 and 2001/2002 CDP programs. Inthe last two programs quality losses were calculated in two ways, depending onhow the losses manifested themselves during the year.

      Thefirst method available for growers in previous programs was an adjustment inthe amount of production to count in the CDP payment calculation.

      Additionally,the previous two CDP programs offered a separate bale-by-bale Quality LossProgram (QLP). This could be an extremely valuable program for producers whosuffered primarily quality losses and whose actual yield losses were not largeenough to meet the 35 percent loss threshold for the Crop Loss portion of theprogram.

      Thestand-alone Quality Loss program will require a complete listing of all balesproduced and the average loan value for each to determine eligibility andpayment amounts.