2005 Heat Unit Calculator Now Available

Friday, June 24, 2005                                ByRoger Haldenby

      The 2005 Heat UnitsCalculator is now available on the Plains Cotton Growers' web site: http://www.plainscotton.org

      The PCG web page willcalculate how many Degree Day 60s (DD60s), or Heat Units, have been accumulatedat numerous weather stations across the Texas High Plains.

      The 2005 Calculator versionfeatures data for the following Texas locations: Abernathy, Amarillo, BigSpring, Borger, Brownfield, Crosbyton, Dalhart, Denver City, Dimmitt, Dumas,Floydada, Friona, Hart, Hereford, Lamesa, Levelland, Littlefield, Lubbock,Morton, Muleshoe, Olton, Plainview, Post, Seminole, Silverton, Spur, Tahoka,Tulia, Vigo Park, and also Guymon, Oklahoma.

      Heat Units are not an exactscience, although when used in conjunction with plant mapping in the COTMANmodeling system, heat units can be a valuable crop-monitoring tool.

      DD60s, or Heat Units, arecalculated by adding the high and low temperatures (in Fahrenheit) for a day,dividing by two, and then subtracting sixty.

DD60s (Heat Units) for the day =(High Temp + Low Temp)/2 – 60


USDA Seeks Additional Input On How To
Deal With CRP Re-enrollment Issues

Friday, June 24, 2005                                By Shawn Wade

      Representatives from theNational Cotton Council will offer comments on the future of the ConservationReserve Program at a public meeting June 24 in Riverdale, Maryland.

      The meeting is being held sothat USDA can obtain additional advice on how to re-enroll and extend CRPcontracts that expire between 2007 and 2010 on some 28 million acres ofenvironmentally sensitive land.

      The meeting will seek to addto the input Farm Service Agency officials have already received via writtencomments solicited in December of 2004. At that time both the NCC and PlainsCotton Growers provided comments that stressed the importance of keepingmarginal cropland currently enrolled in the CRP under contract.

      Among the points the NCC willmake is that current CRP acreage has already passed USDA muster for CRPenrollment based on an evaluation of the primary resource concerns that existin that particular location. On that basis a strong case can be made for avoluntary, automatic re-enrollment option for current CRP acreage.

      Should USDA opt for a moretraditional review process, the NCC will stress that some methodology needs tobe implemented that ensures recognition of the conservation benefits that haveaccrued from the substantial investment that has already been made by theprogram and that each offer should be evaluated on how well it addresses theprimary resource concern that exists on the acreage.

      Without appropriate changesto the CRP offer evaluation process, CRP renewal offers could be at a distinctdisadvantage if they cannot specifically address whatever environmental issuehas currently risen to the top of the resource concern list because otherconcerns have been sufficiently addressed.



Governor Offers School Finance Package
To Open Legislative Special Session

Friday, June 24, 2005                                By Shawn Wade

      Texas Governor Rick Perry haslaid his own compromise school finance package on the table for considerationby the Texas House and Senate during the first Special Session of the 79thLegislature Tuesday, June 21.

      Agriculture and rural interestshave been closely watching the developments of this debate since it could havedefinite impacts on both. "Agriculture will continue to be a proactiveparticipant in this debate," says Plains Cotton Growers Executive VicePresident Steve Verett.

      "Agriculture is an importantpart of the state's economy and will ultimately be impacted in some manner bychanges to the school finance system," he explains. "Agriculture's messageduring this special session will be the same as it was throughout the regularsession – adequate funding for public schools is important to rural Texasand we must have a funding system that can adequately meet the needs of ourpublic school system."

      "Historically, Texas hasrelied on the finite value of its property and resources." says Verett. "Inthis regard, the challenge for the future is to create a dynamic, 21stCentury funding base that draws an appropriate level of support from parts ofthe Texas economy that are creating new wealth and fueling population growth inour state."

      On the opening day of thespecial session both the House and Senate immediately passed resolutionsallowing the bodies to adjourn for more than three consecutive days. The Houseand Senate are currently scheduled to reconvene June 27.

      The House and SenateEducation Committees began work June 22. The goal for the House Committees isto complete their work by the end of the week and resume floor debate as earlyas Monday, June 27.

      As there is no agreement yeton the Governor's plan, the Legislature is likely to pick up where they leftoff at the end of the regular session.

      Currently the House isconsidering House Bill 1, which would make appropriations for the schoolfinance system for 2006-2007; House Bill 2, which would restructure the schoolfinance system and make substantive education reforms; and House Bill 3, whichis the updated version of the House's tax reform plan from the regular session.The Governor's proposal is his alternative to HB3.