Cornyn Gathers Ag Advisory Committee;
Joins Effort To Support Outside Storage Solution

Friday, December 9, 2005                          By Shawn Wade

      Texas Senator John Cornyngathered a key group of Texas agriculture leaders during his visit to theAmarillo Farm & Ranch Show on December 1 to discuss pressing agricultureissues and to get feedback on the direction of agriculture policy inWashington, DC.

      The group, which includesPlains Cotton Growers, Inc. Executive Vice President Steve Verett, isofficially designated as Senator Cornyn's Agriculture Advisory Group. TheDecember 1 meeting was the group's first official gathering.

      Among the many topicsdiscussed were immigration reform, budget reconciliation and the World TradeOrganization's ongoing agriculture trade negotiations.

      In regard to the WTO, membersof Cornyn's advisory group expressed a significant level of anxiety over nextweek's Hong Kong Ministerial meeting. The group expressed a feeling that thereappears to be a significant potential for harm based on recent statements fromthe U.S. Trade Representative's office regarding agriculture negotiations.

      It was noted that one ofagriculture's primary concerns is that the U.S. could make commitments duringthe negotiation process that would severely impact Congress's ability to craftthe 2007 Farm Bill.

      During the meeting theadvisory group also reiterated their continued commitment to maintaining thestructure of the current farm program in light of the successful manner inwhich the program has operated during its first four years.

Cornyn Joins Effort Seeking Relief To Outside StorageIssue

      During the advisory meetingVerett was also given the opportunity to discuss the issue of outside storageof cotton with Senator Cornyn.

      Verett explained that since the2004 growing season there has been a significant effort on the part of High andRolling Plains cotton warehouses to increase storage capacity.

      He also noted that sinceCommodity Credit Corporation rules currently say cotton entered as collateralin the marketing loan program must be stored inside, the sheer size of the 2005crop indicates that some cotton may have to be placed outside and thereforefaces the possibility of losing loan eligibility.

      In order to help insure thatcotton producers do not lose loan eligibility for any portion of the 2005 cropSenator Cornyn agreed to sign onto a letter requesting temporary relief fromthe CCC's inside storage requirement. High Plains Congressmen Mike Conaway ofMidland, Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock and Mac Thornberry of Amarillo joinedCornyn in the request.

      The letter, sent to USDA FarmService Agency Administrator Teresa Lasseter, requests that the CCC grant atemporary waiver allowing for emergency outside storage of cotton for a periodof 90 days following entry of the cotton into the CCC loan program.

      To operate under the waiverwarehouses would agree to provide additional waterproof bagging for each bale,place bales on dunnage or other suitable material to provide for adequate aircirculation between the bale and the ground surface and adhere to the CCC's 4.5percent warehouse shipping standard based on the higher of either licensedcapacity or actual bales in storage.

      At the end of the 90 dayperiod warehouses would be required to either move CCC cotton into an approvedinside storage facility or initiate redemption of the loan cotton.

      It is believed that USDAcould announce a decision based on the request for relief submitted by SenatorCornyn, and Representatives Conaway, Neugebauer and Thornberry before the endof the year.

      "The PCG membershipappreciates the support of Senator Cornyn and Representatives Conaway,Neugebauer and Thornberry as we seek to find a workable, temporary solutionthat will protect the ability of a producer to participate in the marketingloan program," says Verett. "We believe that with their assistance we will beable to protect producer interests and still provide adequate flexibility forTexas warehouse operators to handle and ship in a timely manner what will be arecord-breaking 2005 cotton crop."

 

USDA Report: December Estimate Grows To
5.55 Million Bales For 2005 High Plains Crop

Friday, December 9, 2005                          By Shawn Wade

      The December 9 USDA CropProduction Report indicates the High Plains of Texas will set a new all-timeproduction record and produce an astounding 5.55 million bales in 2005.

      If realized the 2005 cropwill be a full 15 percent larger than 2004's record production of 4.82 millionbales and a staggering 57 percent higher than the region's third biggest cropof 3.522 million bales grown in 1981.

      To put the latest estimate inperspective a 5.55 million bale High Plains crop regions previous pre-2004

      A majority of the 260,000bale increase is attributed a rise in the average yield forecast for TexasAgricultural Statistics Service District 1-S which encompasses the southernhalf of the PCG 41-county service area.

      The new production estimatefor District 1-S is 4.1 million bales. The northern part of the PCG servicearea, which includes most of the Texas Panhandle, is located in District 1-Nand is estimated to produce 1.45 million bales.

      Harvested acres for Districts1-N and 1-S were left unchanged at 790,000 and 2.67 million acres,respectively.

      Average yield per harvestedacre proved to be the difference maker in the December report. Per acre yieldfor District 1-N was estimated at 881, up 6 pounds from the 875 pounds forecastin November. The big mover was District 1-S which saw an appreciable change inits yield forecast. Forecast average yields for 1-S rose 45 pounds to 737pounds per harvested acre in the new report

      Statewide productionestimates show Texas is now expected to produce 8.1 million bales of cotton in2005 from 5.5 million harvested acres. The December estimate is 300,000 balesmore than was forecast at the beginning of November.

      Nationally 2005 Upland Cottonproduction was forecast at 23 million bales, up 500,000 bales from the Novemberestimate of 22.5 million bales. All cotton production is now forecast at 23.7million bales in 2005.

 

Texas Upland Cotton DistrictEstimates

2004 & December 2005

Districts

Planted Acres

Harvested Acres

Yield Per Acre

Production

 

2004

2005

2004

2005

2004

2005

2004

2005

 

1,000 acres

1,000 acres

Pounds

1,000 bales

1-N

849

900

726

790

818

881

1,238

1,450

1-S

2,813

2,800

2,527

2670

681

737

3,586

4,100

2-N

396

395

378

370

572

558

451

430

2-S

488

525

473

490

502

500

495

510

4

127

115

122

105

665

594

169

130

7

163

175

150

150

673

672

210

210

8-N

79

80

76

75

899

768

142

120

8-S

368

370

356

345

761

626

564

450

9

246

245

236

240

710

600

349

300

10-S

215

185

205

165

823

625

352

215

Other dist.

107

110

102

100

874

888

185

185

STATE

5,850

5,900

5,350

5,500

694

707

7,740

8,100

Source: Texas Ag StatisticsService

 

Not Too Late ToRegister For 2006 Beltwide Cotton Conferences

      "Strategies for Success" isthe theme for the NCC-coordinated conferences, January 4-6, at the MarriottRivercenter/Riverwalk hotels in San Antonio. The three-day format, which provedpopular for the 2005 conferences, will feature the Production Conference andits special seminars and workshops along with the 11 cotton technicalconferences and The Cotton Foundation's technical exhibits.

      Attendees must registeronline by going to the Beltwide web site at http://beltwide.cotton.org where general conference informationalso can be found. On-site registration will open Tuesday, January 3.

      For additional information,contact the NCC's Debbie Richter, P.O. 820285, Memphis, TN 38182 (901)274-9030 FAX (901) 725-0510 or email beltwide@cotton.org.

 

Three TexasCountry Cleanup Events Remain

      Only three waste pesticidecollection dates remain on the calendar and High Plains producers wanting toget rid of old or unwanted pesticides should plan to be in Slaton, Texas,Monday, December 12 beginning at 8:00 a.m. The Slaton collection site will belocated at Max Lee Crop Spraying, 880 Industrial Drive.

      The Texas Commission onEnvironmental Quality, Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas CooperativeExtension sponsor the collection events, which are free of charge and open toall Texas residents, not just farmers and ranchers. Participation is voluntaryand confidential.

      The following is a list ofthe remaining collection dates and locations with appropriate contactinformation for obtaining information on the kind of material that can beaccepted.

Texas Country Cleanup

December 2005 Collection Schedule

 

Date

Time

City—Location

Contact

Dec. 12

8:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

Slaton

Max Lee Crop Spraying, 880 Industrial Drive

Mark Brown, Lubbock Co. Ext. Agent,

806-775-1680

Dec. 14

8:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

St. Lawrence

Glasscock Co. Co-Op, 300 CR Co-Op

Warren Multer, Glasscock Co. Ext. Agent, 432-354-2477

Dec. 16

8:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

Fabens

Fabens Transfer Station, 1550 Fabens Street

Sara Downing, El Paso Co. Ext. Agent,

915-859-7725

Source: TCEQ, TDA, TCE