Lubbock Chamber To Highlight Agriculture's Importance During WashingtonFly-In

Friday, February 24, 2006                          By Shawn Wade

      The Lubbock Chamber ofCommerce's 2006 Washington, DC Fly-In will take place February 28-March 2 andone of the primary messages the group will deliver is the importance ofagriculture to the region's economy and the devastating impact changes to U.S.farm programs would have on West Texas.

      Leading the Lubbock groupwill be current Chamber of Commerce Chair Steve Verett of Plains CottonGrowers, Inc.

      The group begins theirWashington rounds on March 1 at the group's annual Ag Breakfast meeting withDistrict 19 Representative Randy Neugebauer, District 11 Representative MikeConaway, and District 28 Representative Henry Cuellar of San Antonio.

      Additional Chamber activitiesinclude private meetings with Representative Neugebauer of Lubbock,Representative Conaway of Midland, District 23 Representative Henry Bonilla ofSan Antonio, and Texas Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn.

      Topping the Chamber's list ofissues for the Fly-In are agriculture, healthcare and higher education topicscritical to the Lubbock and High Plains economy.

      A critical point to be madeduring the group's meetings with legislators this time around will be theimportance of maintaining full budgetary support for commodity, conservationand research programs authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill. The Chamber's messagewill reinforce the need to carry the structure and program components of thecurrent farm bill into the 2007 Farm Bill.

      Topping the group's moreimmediate concerns, however, will be the adverse impact of spending cuts andcommodity program changes proposed by the Bush Administration's FY 2007 Budgetrequest.

      Discussions will includesupport for federal research appropriations supporting work at the USDA PlantStress & Water Conservation Laboratory and maintaining the USDA-ARS GinningLaboratory in Lubbock.

      A recurring agriculture themefrom the Lubbock contingent over the last few years has been the illustrationof the broader impact that farm program and research dollars have on the region'seconomy.

      Along this line emphasis willalso be placed on supporting continued funding of Texas Tech agricultureresearch projects paid for through federal appropriations, encouragingadditional funding for water research projects that will benefit the region,and encouraging the use of sound science and fairness during the development ofenvironmental legislation and regulations.

      Closely related to the pointsthe group plans to address regarding agriculture, water and the environmentissues are several higher education priorities centered around support forTexas Tech's federally supported research programs and efforts to raise theUniversity to Tier I status.

      Other issues the Chamber willhighlight include:

      ¥Healthcare: Discuss issuesinvolving health insurance and tax credits, and proposed changes to Medicareand Medicaid,

      ¥Transportation: Supportcoalition efforts to improve freight rail service in West Texas, encouragecontinued funding for the Ports-to-Plains project, discuss issues affecting theoperation and development of facilities and equipment at Lubbock InternationalAirport, discuss public transportation regulatory issues affecting Lubbock andthe surrounding area and support related FY 2007 funding requests.

     

PCG Annual Meeting Line-up Taking Shape

Friday, February 24, 2006                          By Shawn Wade

      The Plains Cotton Growers,Inc. membership will gather for the organization's 49th Annual Meetingon Friday, April 7, 2006 to celebrate the organization's 50thAnniversary. Planning this year's annual meeting is already well underway andbarring last minute complications PCG is putting together an excellent speakerline-up that will deliver valuable information on the status of keylegislative, trade and industry issues.

      PCG's Annual Meeting is onceagain being held in conjunction with the Texas Cotton Ginners' Convention &Trade Show, April 6-7 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. The meeting will beheld in the Civic Center Banquet Hall with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.and the program starting at 9:00 a.m. April 7.

      In celebration of theorganization's half-century of work on behalf of High Plains cotton producers,this year's PCG annual meeting will include special presentations recognizingPCG accomplishments and key leaders. PCG officials are working to finalizethese and other portions of the agenda for the meeting.

      PCG has issued a specialinvitation to Representative Jerry Moran of Kansas to be the keynote speaker atthis year's annual meeting. Moran is a member of the House Committee onAgriculture and is Chairman of the Ag Committee's General Farm Commodities andRisk Management Subcommittee.

      Due to an uncertain House ofRepresentatives legislative schedule Representative Moran has been unable toconfirm his participation. Additional information regarding Chairman Moran'sparticipation will be released as it becomes available.

      Confirmed participants forthe PCG Annual Meeting are John Maguire, Senior Vice President WashingtonOperations for the National Cotton Council of America, and J. Berrye Worsham,President and Chief Executive Officer of Cotton Incorporated from Cary, NorthCarolina.

      Worsham has been asked todiscuss the research and promotion activities of Cotton Incorporated with anemphasis on the future prospects of U.S. cotton at home and abroad throughdevelopment of new textile technologies and marketing activities.

      Maguire will provide a reporton NCC activities, information on the FY07 budget process and update PCGmembers on the status the World Trade Organization Doha Round agriculturalnegotiations.

      PCG President Rickey Beardenand Executive Vice President Steve Verett will report on recent PCG activitiesand discuss the organization's efforts to position itself during the 2007 FarmBill debate.

      Detailed information aboutPCG's 49th Annual Meeting speakers will be provided in this newsletterand through PCG's Email service in the weeks leading up to the PCG AnnualMeeting April 7. For information about how to receive up-to-date and pertinentcotton information go to the PCG website (www.plainscotton.org) or call806-792-4904.