Despite Active June Weather: Region's Crop
Losses Appear Below Long-term Average

Friday, June 17, 2005                               By Shawn Wade

      Since the Memorial Day weekend, trying to put together an accurate estimate of cumulative 2005 crop damage and how many acres of cotton were lost has been no easy task.

      The challenge for everyone, including the grower, is determining what the level of direct damage has been and then figuring out how best to deal with the situation.

      Prior to Memorial Day, planting was progressing at a rapid pace. That situation changed May 31, the day after Memorial Day. Since that time multiple storms containing hail, strong winds, tornadoes and heavy rains have put a different face on a sizeable portion of the 2005 crop.

      It appears that more than half a million acres of cotton have been negatively impacted by the adverse weather. The varying degree of that damage however, has made estimating how many acres may ultimately be completely lost extremely difficult.

      Many producers have been left with damaged or diseased stands that could go either way at this point.

      Best guesses and gut feelings have the region's acreage loss total somewhere between 250,000-300,000 acres to date. On average the High Plains region loses 18 percent or approximately 650,000 acres in a "normal" growing season.

      Although crop damage can occur at any time, early season storms typically account for a majority of the acreage lost in the High Plains region. Should the High Plains avoid additional widespread loss events over the next 3-4 weeks it would be on pace to remain below the 18 percent long-term average abandonment rate.

 

DR-CAFTA Approval Process Begins With
House and Senate Committee Votes

Friday, June 17, 2005                               By Shawn Wade

      The first action in the debate over approval of the Dominican Republic - Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) occurred earlier this week when the Senate Finance Committee voted 11-9 to advance a draft version of the trade deal during an informal mark-up session June 14.

      The House Ways and Means Committee quickly followed suit approving its own amended version of the draft deal by a 25-16 vote on June 15.

      Even though the House and Senate Committee votes are non-binding, their action does move consideration of the agreement forward and one step closer to a final Congressional vote.

      Under current Trade Promotion Authority rules, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are allowed to recommend minor changes to trade agreements but not alter trade agreements negotiated by the Administration.

      The Administration will now determine if it wants to accept or reject the changes recommended by the Senate and House before sending a final version of DR-CAFTA back to Congress for an up or down vote.

      Congress will have 90 legislative days to consider and vote on the final trade package from the date it is submitted to them by the Administration.

      Cotton industry groups, led by the National Cotton Council, have been slow to embrace a DR-CAFTA agreement unless significant attention was paid to textile issues important to the industry, such as third-country participation.

      Apparently those concerns were addressed during the negotiation process and the NCC approved a resolution in support of the agreement on May 9. Prior to this, the cotton industry had taken the stance that a good DR-CAFTA agreement could be extremely beneficial to the U.S. cotton and textile industries and build on positive components of other trade agreements.

      The Senate Finance Committee's close 11-9 vote was influenced by disagreements over several sugar amendments. In a letter to Committee members, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns explained that the Bush Administration might be willing to work out a compromise on sugar in order to get the pact approved.

      DR-CAFTA countries import approximately 2.7 million bale equivalents of U.S. cotton annually. Currently about 200,000 bales of cotton are exported to DR-CAFTA countries in bale form. The remainder, or 2.5 million bales, is purchased as yarn and fabric manufactured by U.S. textile companies. This 2.7 million-bale total equals approximately 13 percent of average yearly U.S. production.

 

2005-2006 NCC Leadership Class
Applications Accepted Through July 1

      The National Cotton Council is accepting applications for the 2005-06 Cotton Leadership Class through July 1.

      Those interested in applying can visit the Cotton Leadership Program's web site at http://leadership.cotton.org to review the program curriculum, eligibility requirements and download the application.

      The 2005-06 class, which will be comprised of four producers and one participant from each of the other six industry segments, will be announced in August by the NCC's Cotton Leadership Development Committee.

      During five sessions of activity across the Cotton Belt, class participants visit with industry leaders and observe production, processing and research. They also meet with lawmakers and government agency representatives during a visit to Washington, DC, and attend the NCC's annual meeting and its mid-year Board of Directors meeting.

      For more information, contact NCC's Member Services at 901-274-9030 or their local NCC Member Services representative.