USDA Announces Rules Allowing Temporary Outside
Storage for 2005-crop Loan Cotton

Friday,January 20, 2005                           By Shawn Wade

      Ina notice released late January 18, the USDA Farm Service Agency has developedrules allowing temporary outside yard storage for 2005-crop Upland Cotton in alimited number of West Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas counties.

      Theannouncement comes after months of work at both national and regional levels byPlains Cotton Growers, American Cotton Producers and High Plains warehouserepresentatives who recognized early on that the size of the 2005-crop wasgoing to outstrip the available commercial storage space in these regions.

      Themain focus of PCG's effort was to make sure that Commodity Credit Corporationloan eligibility was not compromised on bales forced into temporary outsidestorage locations due to a lack of available inside storage space.

      "Forcotton producers on the Texas High Plains and the rest of the Southwestproduction region, USDA's decision to allow temporary outside storage of 2005crop loan cotton is welcome news," says PCG Executive Vice President SteveVerett.

      Verettadded, "We are extremely grateful for the efforts put forth by USDA to developa solution that protects the loan eligibility of cotton producers and providesoptions for cotton warehouse operators dealing with the logistical challenge ofhandling, storing and shipping a phenomenal 2005 crop."

      Tostore cotton outdoors warehouse operators must request the temporary use ofoutside storage space for 2005-crop loan cotton and comply with the guidelinesfor outside storage approved by CCC.

      TheUSDA notice (BCD-117) detailing the temporary storage rules outlines specificguidelines to protect interest holders in the cotton, time limits to encouragethe movement of cotton to indoor storage and reporting requirements.

      Thereporting requirements are designed to allow USDA to keep track of how manybales of loan cotton are in outside storage and also to insure that individualswith legitimate ownership positions on outside stored cotton have the abilityto identify which bales are in outside storage locations.

      Toensure that the outside storage option remains temporary, CCC has limited theduration of the outside storage waiver to the earlier of 90 days from theoriginal date of storage or April 1, 2006 for each bale of CCC loan cottonstored outdoors.

      Ultimatelythe length of an extended 2005 ginning season and the ability of the industryto keep cotton moving will determine if the April 1 deadline will be adequate.

      "Wemust recognize that there are a number of factors that could still cause theApril 1 deadline to become problematic," notes Verett.

      "PCGis committed to working closely with both USDA and High Plains warehouseleaders to monitor the situation in the weeks leading up to the currentdeadline and will work to secure any additional relief that might becomenecessary," says Verett.

 

PCG Seeking Relief From RMA For Producers
Who Lose Production To Module Fires

Friday,January 20, 2005                           By Shawn Wade

      Dry,warm weather has been the norm during the 2005 harvest and ginning season.During the harvest these conditions were almost ideal and allowed producers tomake rapid progress through burgeoning West Texas cotton fields.

      Nowthat the 2005 crop is off the stalk and producers are looking ahead to the 2006crop year the continuation of those dry conditions, coupled with a steady doseof wind, are beginning to be viewed a lot more ominously.

      Onesignificant side effect of the dry conditions has been an increase in thepotential for wildfire across much of the state, including many areas adjacentto where cotton modules are stored.

      Withthe increased size of the 2005 crop the number of reported module fires wouldbe expected to increase proportionally. Add in the dry, windy conditions andthe danger of fire spreading to a larger number of modules downwind issignificantly increased.

      Growerscaught in these unfortunate situations are hit with a double shot of bad news.Not only do they lose the cotton they harvested and had stored in the module,they also do not have any way under current federal crop insurance guidelinesto include an appropriate estimate of that lost production in their productionhistory.

      PCG,along the National Cotton Council and West Texas Congressional offices haverequested that RMA review the issue and work toward a solution that will allowgrowers who lose production after harvest, but before the crop has been ginned,to be able to include an estimate of the production lost in their ActualProduction History yield history.

      Inall but the most extreme cases the loss of a module(s) to fire does nottranslate into a claim against coverage provided by the federal crop insuranceprogram. It is however a significant issue for producers who can't get creditfor that portion of the crop they produced.

      Froma producers standpoint they have done everything in their power, including thecompletion of all harvest operations, to produce the crop.

      Discussionswith RMA staff about the possibility of developing a solution to this issuehave been well received, but no recommendations have been acted on at thistime.

      PlainsCotton Growers continues to work with RMA to find a solution that allows anestimate of production lost in module fires, and does not result in a lossclaim under coverage provided by the federal crop insurance program, to beincluded as part of a producers certified production for the 2005 crop year.

High PlainsProduction Conferences Offer
Education/CEU Opportunities for Producers

      Helpingfarmers stay up on the latest trends in crop production, marketing, andmanagement ideas is the number one goal of High Plains crop productionconferences.

      Sponsoredby Texas Cooperative Extension, the Conferences offer valuable productioninformation for producers entering the 2006 growing season.

      Conferencesare scheduled at multiple locations throughout the area to provide growers anopportunity to receive this information without having to travel too far fromhome.

      Byattending the conferences producers can also earn continuing education units(CEUs) necessary to maintain private and commercial applicator licenses.

      Thisyear's conference dates and locations are:

 

January 25

 

Muleshoe Crop Conference.

 

For more information contact Curtis Preston, Bailey CEA-AG, at 806-272-4584.

January 26

Southern Mesa Ag Conference, 8:00 a.m.,

 

Dawson County Annex Bldg., 609 North 1st Street, Lamesa. Early $20.00 registration can be mailed to Texas Cooperative Extension, P.O. Box 1268, Lamesa, TX 79331. Registration at the door is $25.00

 

For more information contact Jeff Wyatt, Dawson CEA-AG, at 806-872-7539.

February 7

South Plains Ag Conference, 8:00 a.m.,

 

Nikki Vinson Youth Center, 110 W. Hill, Brownfield.

 

For more information contact Chris Bishop, Terry CEA-AG, at 806-637-4060.

February 10

Hale/Swisher Crops Conference, 9:00 a.m.,

 

Ollie Liner Center, Plainview. A total of 5 CEU credits will be available to licensed pesticide applicators at the meeting.

 

For more information contact Michael Dollie, Hale CEA-AG, at 806-291-5267.