Friday,October 21, 2005 By Shawn Wade
SenateAgriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) stayed true to this wordWednesday afternoon and secured Agriculture Committee approval fordeficit-cutting legislation that will ultimately be rolled into the Senatesoverall budget reconciliation package.
Whendiscussing the legislation, Chambliss noted that the Committee-adopted planachieves savings from farm commodity programs, but leaves the structure of thefarm program created in the 2002 farm bill unchanged.
CBOestimates that the Committee's bill reduces mandatory outlays in theCommittee's programs by $196 million in fiscal year 2006 and $3.014 billionover the next five years covering fiscal years 2006 through 2010. This meetsalmost exactly the $3 billion savings mandate forwarded to the AgricultureCommittee under this year's budget resolution to reduce overall mandatoryspending by $34.7 billion over the next five years.
Inaddition to preserving the structure of the current farm program, thelegislation includes savings from conservation programs achieved withoutimpacting landowners' or farmers' existing multiyear contracts in any program.The legislation also keeps agricultural research programs intact, recognizingpast funding levels.
Somespecifics of the plan include reducing by 2.5 percent all payments thatproducers receive for the 2006 through 2010 crop years for the followingcommodities: wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, extralong staple cotton, rice, soybeans, other oilseeds, wool, mohair, honey, drypeas, lentils, small chickpeas, unshorn pelts, silage, hay and peanuts.
Thelegislation would instruct the Secretary in those years to calculate the amounta producer is entitled to receive in direct payments, counter-cyclicalpayments, marketing loan gains, and loan deficiency payments and then reducethat amount by 2.5 percent. The reductions would not apply to payments made inthe 2011 and subsequent crop years.
Inaddition to the other program cuts, the legislation also includes necessarylanguage to eliminate the upland cotton Step 2 program as of August 1, 2006 inaccordance to the recent WTO finding in a case brought against the U.S. cottonprogram by Brazil.
Asection-by-section summary of the proposal is available at the Committee website, along with the full text of the proposed legislation, which is titled"The Agricultural Reconciliation Act of 2005". (http://agriculture.senate.gov/)
Inpreparing for the writing of the 2007 farm bill, Chambliss notes that theSenate Ag Committee bill preserves budgetary resources, the"baseline," for the upcoming farm bill debate by generally suspendingspending reductions in fiscal year 2011.
Withthe Senate Agriculture Committee meeting its budget reconciliation mandate, thefocus of agriculture industry groups shifts onto the House of Representativesand the Committee on Agriculture.
HouseAg Committee members are still working on the details of their budgetreconciliation package and, it is expected that little if any movement islikely to occur before the end of the month.
Friday,October 21, 2005 By Shawn Wade
Whenthe Cotton Incorporated "Dirty Laundry Tour" rolls onto the Texas Tech campusin Lubbock on November 1 its mission will be to educate, inform and endear anew generation of consumers to the most versatile fiber in the world – cotton.
TheTexas Tech campus will be the final stop on the inaugural "Dirty Laundry Tour"and the timing couldn't be more perfect. After all, can you think of a betterplace to wrap-up one of Cotton Incorporated's most upbeat and original cottonpromotional activities than the heart of what is arguably the biggest cottonpatch in the world? Neither can I.
Addin the fact that the area in on the cusp of harvesting its secondrecord-breaking cotton crop in as many years and the dynamics of the event aremultiplied even more.
Designedto engage, educate and entertain, the "Dirty Laundry Tour" is focused primarilyon the college students who are on their own and poised to take that next stepin their consumer lives.
Knownas "millennials," college-age consumers spend some $140 billion annually. Asthese young adults get ready to enter the workforce as full-time wage earners,knowing more about their likes and dislikes, loyalties and buying patterns willprovide U.S. cotton producers valuable insight about how to make cotton a keypart of their lives from now on.
Justas past Cotton Incorporated consumer-directed promotions have successfullydrawn consumers to cotton, Cotton's "Dirty Laundry Tour" is targeting anemerging consumer group and is a prime opportunity for cotton brandinteraction.
With28,000 students at Texas Tech, the "Dirty Laundry Tour" will showcase adifferent side of cotton to a sizeable group of young people who will hopefullycome away with a new appreciation for the Lubbock area's number one field crop.
Formore information about the "Dirty Laundry Tour" on the web go tohttp://www.accesscotton.com, the official website for the "Dirty Laundry Tour,"or to the Cotton Incorporated website at http://www.cottoninc.com and click onthe "Dirty Laundry Tour" logo.
Friday,October 21, 2005 By Roger Haldenby
TexasBoll Weevil Eradication Foundation has advised us that High Plains producers whoon sale of their cotton are given a check with the Texas Department ofAgriculture named as a joint payee must obtain an endorsement from TDA beforecashing or depositing the check.
Endorsementsmay be obtained at the TDA and TBWEF locations listed below. For other officelocations that may be nearer to you, call the TBWEF's Abilene Headquarters at(866) 672-2800.
Ingeneral, assessments must be paid before an endorsement will be given, but ifother parties are named on the check, producers should call one of the officeslisted below to find out what procedures to follow.
TDAand the TBWEF will make every attempt to be as accessible as possible, butproducers are highly encouraged to call before going to any office. This willhelp ensure someone is available to assist them and that their visit can behandled efficiently.
TDAstaff will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:00a.m.-noon and at other times with an appointment, at the following TexasDepartment of Agriculture Locations:
ValleyRegional Office (956)787-8866
CorpusChristi Office (361)851-2745
SouthTexas Regional Office, San Antonio (210)820-0288
NorthTexas Regional Office, Dallas (214)631-0265
WestTexas Regional Office, Lubbock (806)799-8555
TBWEFstaff will be available Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. at the followingTexas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation Offices:
NorthernHigh Plains Zone Office, Plainview (806) 293-7676
NorthernHigh Plains District Office, Floydada (806) 983-5964
NorthernHigh Plains District Office, Tulia (806)995-1234
SouthernHigh Plains Zone Office, Lubbock (806)771-3121
DistrictOffice, Memphis (806)259-3751
NorthwestPlains District Office, Dimmitt (806)647-0601
NorthwestPlains District Office, Littlefield (806)385-4819