Friday, July 14, 2006 By Shawn Wade
Armedwith information and plans to address a number of issues that concern HighPlains cotton producers, current Plains Cotton Growers President Mike Hughes ofLamesa, Vice President Barry Evans of Kress, and Secretary-Treasurer BradHeffington of Littlefield, are headed to the Nation's capitol July 18-20 totouch base with key Congressional leaders.
Joiningproducer representatives from the eight other cotton producing regions ofTexas, PCG's officers will be sitting down with Congressional leaders andstaff, and with numerous USDA personnel, to discuss a host of issues pertinentto High Plains cotton producers.
Oneof the top issues to be discussed will be U.S. trade policy and the potentialimpact a failed Doha negotiation process could have on the timetable fordeveloping the 2007 Farm Bill. Since the status of the Doha round is sure toimpact the 2007 Farm Bill debate, next week's discussions will key PCG'sefforts in the coming months.
Alsoon the list of topics to be discussed by PCG's officers are crop insuranceissues, a number of operational issues involving Farm Service Agency programs,and the growing impact of current drought conditions and the need for acomprehensive 2005/2006 Ag disaster assistance package.
Friday, July 14, 2006 By Shawn Wade
Backin 1956 the U.S. cotton industry recognized the growing importance of theexport marketplace and formed Cotton Council International (CCI) to ensure theU.S. was seen as a main supplier of high quality cotton to that market.
CCI'searly efforts proved to be just the tip of the iceberg and the organizationcontinues to oversee a hugely successful 50-year effort that is increasingexport market demand for U.S. cotton among foreign cotton processors, retailersand consumers.
TodayCCI's mission is essentially the same as it was 50 years ago: "to increaseexports of U.S. cotton, cottonseed and U.S. manufactured cotton productsthrough activities that affect every phase of the marketing chain - from theinitial mill buyer of cotton fiber or purchaser of U.S. cotton-rich yarns andfabrics on through to the final consumer."
Asthe export promotion arm of the National Cotton Council, and much like itsdomestic counter-part Cotton Incorporated would start doing almost a decadelater, CCI's focus has always been on increasing market demand for U.S. cottonand cotton products.
Lubbock-basedPlains Cotton Growers, coincidentally formed the same year as CCI, has been along-time supporter of CCI's efforts. PCG works closely with CCI personnel tohighlight the value of High Plains cotton to the foreign textile millexecutives that participate in CCI-sponsored Cotton Orientation tours of theU.S. Cotton Belt.
Basedon CCI's successful record of building global demand for U.S. and High Plainscotton, the PCG Board of Directors has decided to add to its physical supportof CCI's mission by becoming a CCI financial supporter as well.
PCG'ssupport will expand the 41-county organization's efforts to promote the use ofHigh Plains cotton and effectively leverage the funds through the CCI program.
DirectU.S. cotton industry financial support, such as that provided by PCG, is justone part of the CCI funding mechanism. The majority of CCI's financial supportis provided through non-cash and public funds contributions. A significantportion of the annual CCI budget is provided through the USDA Market AccessProgram, which provides matching grants for export market building activitiesbenefiting U.S. agricultural products.
TheCotton USA program relies on a mixture of industry generated funds and MarketAccess Program (MAP) funds provided through the auspices of the current U.S.farm program. Cotton is only one of several commodities receiving MAP funds.
Duringthe 2005-2006 marketing year, for example, CCI support (public funds andnon-cash contributions) is expected to total over $50 million dollars. U.S.cotton industry partners, however, will provide less than ten percent of CCI'stotal 2005-2006 support, in the form of direct financial contributions.
PCGjoins the National Cotton Council, Amcot, American Cotton Shippers Association,the Cotton Foundation, Cotton Incorporated, Supima Association of America, theNew York Board of Trade, National Cottonseed Products Association, SouthernCotton Growers, and the SJV Cotton Growers Association as CCI supporters.
Asa result of CCI's efforts through the years, demand for U.S. cotton around theworld has dramatically increased. CCI employs a multi-phase promotion strategydesigned to increase demand from textile mill suppliers of cotton products(supply-push) and increase demand among an ever-growing number of globalconsumers for products containing U.S. cotton (demand-pull).
Formost of the last two decades CCI's primary vehicle for promotion has been theCotton USA program. The impact of the Cotton USA program has mirrored in manyrespects the results of domestic promotion efforts of U.S. cotton growersthrough Cotton Incorporated.
Since1989 the percentage of non-U.S. consumers who say they would show a preferencefor products made from U.S. cotton has doubled worldwide moving from around 25percent in 1989-90 to more than 50 percent today.
Identifiedby the Cotton USA mark, cotton products made from at least 50 percent U.S.grown cotton are promoted as a high value consumer alternative that guaranteesa high quality cotton end product.
Sinceits inception in the late 1980's the Cotton USA program has fueled asignificant increase in the demand for products made from U.S. grown cotton andcontributed to an overall increase in the demand for cotton in foreign markets.
CCIutilizes a combination of direct consumer advertising and promotions, designedto stimulate demand for U.S. cotton. The Cotton USA program also includes avariety of material sourcing and technical assistance programs to encourage theinitial selection of U.S. cotton by foreign manufacturers and retailers. All ofthe CCI sourcing and assistance programs stress the overall value package thatis associated with purchasing U.S. raw cotton.
CCIactivities include sponsored Cotton USA Orientation tours of the U.S. CottonBelt by foreign textile mill representatives, educational activitieshighlighting the quality controls that are employed in the U.S. cottonproduction and marketing system, direct consumer promotional activities and advertising,and targeted efforts to build demand in the fastest growing export marketsaround the world.
Recentinternational events and promotions include seminars and educational programsin Central America and the Caribbean, Asia, South America, Europe and SouthAsia.
Tolearn more about the activities of Cotton Council International and the CottonUSA program go to their website at www.cottonusa.org
Friday, July 14, 2006 By Shawn Wade
Renewableenergy sources, including biodiesel and ethanol, took center stage at theLubbock Ag Breakfast hosted by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce AgricultureCommittee.
Thebreakfast, conducted under the theme "Living and Working in a Fuel-DrivenEconomy," was held Wednesday, July 12, at the Texas Tech Livestock Arena,located just west of the Animal and Food Sciences building on the southwestcorner of Brownfield Highway and Indiana Avenue.
SteveVerett of Plains Cotton Growers, who currently serves as the chairman of theChamber, and Tim Snyder of Agri-Energy Solutions discussed the impact andbenefits of renewable energy on the South Plains, and what meeting an increaseddemand for biodiesel and ethanol means to both the agricultural sector and thegeneral public.
Participantswere able to see new flex-fuel vehicles, courtesy of Gene Messer Ford andShamrock Chevrolet, and talk to dealership staff members and renewable energyexperts about the vehicles.
Eventsponsors included: United Supermarkets and Market Street, Texas Tech's Collegeof Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, City Bank, Atmos Energy,Agri-Energy Solutions, AgTexas Farm Credit Services, Plains Cotton Growers andTexas Corn Producers Board.