High Plains Nearing 1Million Acres Failed;
PCG Officers Return From Washington, DC

Friday, July 21, 2006                                By Shawn Wade

      Following passage of the USDAFarm Service Agency's 2006 acreage certification date, it appears that a littlemore than 900,000 acres of cotton have already been reported as failed acrossthe High Plains region. While still preliminary in nature, the estimate offailed acres clearly illustrates the seriousness of the 2006 Texas High Plainscotton crop situation.

      While it is clear that HighPlains cotton production will be significantly lower in 2006, nobody is reallysure whether it is the dryland producer, with little or no crop left, or theirrigated producer, trying to cope with escalating energy expenses, that isgetting the shorter end of the stick when comparing situations.

      On one side of the spectrumare dryland producers that have already failed about half of the area's drylandacreage and have a big part of their remaining acres rapidly approaching thebreaking point.

      On the other side areirrigated producers, some of whom seem to have a pretty good crop growing, thathave been spared from weather-related losses, but are having to spendsignificant amounts of money on irrigation as energy costs continue an upwardspiral.

      Most of the acreage lost todate has been from the non-irrigated side of the ledger and things aren'tgetting any better as rainfall continues to snub the area. Without asignificant moisture infusion over the next two to three weeks the area'sabandonment total could climb even higher when federal crop insurance rulesallow producers to begin receiving adjustments based on actual boll countsinstead of the early season stand-count methodology.

      The total acreage estimatedas failed to date reflects an abandonment percentage that has already eclipsedthe area's long-term average and will likely climb even higher.

      No matter how you cut it theHigh Plains is taking it on the chin in 2006 from a devastating combination ofdrought and high energy costs.

      As the 2006 crop situationcontinues to develop an important task for Plains Cotton Growers is raisingawareness among members of Congress and within USDA about the problem. PlainsCotton Growers officers Mike Hughes, Barry Evans and Brad Heffington did justthat earlier this week when they visited the nation's Capitol.

      The trio, along with PCGExecutive Vice President Steve Verett, joined cotton producers from acrossTexas as members of Texas Cotton Producers (TCP) to talk about key issuesimportant to the Texas cotton industry.

      Individual meetings were heldwith High Plains Congressmen Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer and Mac Thornberryand also with House members Soloman Ortiz, Henry Cuellar and Henry Bonilla.Rounding out their appointments in the House of Representatives were meetingswith Stony Burke, Ag Legislative Assistant to Rep. Chet Edwards; JavierMartinez, Ag Legislative Assistant to Rep. Sylvestre Reyes; and with staffmembers from the House Committee on Agriculture.

      From the Senate the TCP groupmet with Keith Franks, Ag Legislative Assistant to Senator John Cornyn, andJamie Moore, Ag Legislative Assistant to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. SenateAgriculture Committee staff member Christy Seyfert also met with the TCP group.

      In addition to theirCongressional appointments, the TCP group also participated in a series ofbriefings presented by representatives from the United States Department ofAgriculture. Among the USDA personnel that sat down with the TCP group wereDrew DeBerry, Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns;Jim Callan of the Risk Management Agency; Teresa Lasseter of the Farm ServiceAgency; and Ken Roberts from the Foreign Agricultural Service. The group wasalso given the opportunity to visit with Jon Scholl from the EnvironmentalProtection Agency

      By far the highest profileissues for the group during their meetings were the growing need for an 05/06agricultural assistance program and the importance of U.S. trade negotiatorscontinuing to hold the line and require substantive cuts from other WTO membersbefore agreeing to any reductions in domestic support as part of the currentWTO Doha negotiations.

      Asignificant amount of time was also spent discussing regulatory andadministrative aspects of various USDA programs important to growers such asFederal Crop Insurance and the marketing loan.

 

CAC: Cotton Industry PAC Gearing Up To
Support Cotton's Friends In Nov. Elections

Friday, July 21, 2006                                By Shawn Wade

      The U.S. cotton industry isgearing up for the Fall election season and needs your support to help cotton'sfriends in what is shaping up to be a pivotal round of Congressional electionsprior to the development of the 2007 Farm Bill.

      One of the most effectiveways to help spread cotton's message is through a donation to the industry'sPolitical Action Committee (PAC) - the Committee for the Advancement of Cotton(CAC).

      By pooling the resources ofcotton producers across the nation, the CAC is an effective way to collectivelysupport members of Congress that support cotton and make a difference on issuesaffecting our industry.

      When sending a donation tothe CAC, growers are reminded that CAC contributions can only come fromindividuals or partnerships. No corporate contributions can be accepted.

      Checks should be made payableto "Committee for the Advancement of Cotton" and can be sent to the PCG Officeor mailed directly to the NCC at:

Committee for the Advancement ofCotton

P.O. Box 820292, Memphis, TN38182-9954

 

NRCS Plans 2007 EQIP PDG/LWG Meetings

Friday, July 21, 2006

      TexasSoil and Water Conservation Districts invite the public, and any agencies withinterest, to participate in the agency's 2007 Program Development Group (PDG)meetings.

      PDGmeetings are led by the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) inpartnership with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in eachcounty and provide an opportunity for participation and comments from a broadrange of local agencies, organizations, businesses and especially farmers andranchers that have an interest in natural resource conditions and needs. Eachcounty in Texas holds the public meetings annually and meeting information willsoon be posted on the Texas NRCS website (www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov). A partial list of PDG meetings already scheduledis listed below.

      Thepurpose of the PDG is to provide members of the community a forum forsubmitting recommendations on local issues and county based funding that can beaddressed through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Theselocal stakeholders include landowners, commodity groups, agri-business leaders,environmental groups, and others who may have an interest in local naturalresource needs.

      Oneof the guiding principles of the 2002 USDA Farm Bill is that conservationprograms should be locally led. Through stakeholder meetings the public isgiven an opportunity to help local conservation leaders set program priorities.

      TheEnvironmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was established in the 1996Farm Bill to provide a single, voluntary conservation program for farmers andranchers to address significant natural resource concerns.

      Nationally,it provides technical and financial assistance to address natural resourceconcerns. Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS),EQIP was reauthorized in the 2002 Farm Bill and awards cost share assistance toagricultural producers who will apply cost chare and incentive practices thatprovide significant environmental benefit. In Texas, NRCS provides funding toeach county to address local high priority resource concerns.

      Formore information, call the USDA-NRCS office in your county, listed under USDAin the Yellow Pages, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at: www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov

 

2007 EQIP Program Development Group (PDG)
Meeting Dates, Times and Locations

County:

Date:

Time:

Location:

Dawson

8/7/06

8:30AM

NRCS Service Center, Lamesa, TX

Motley

8/8/06

8:30AM

SWCD Board Meeting Room, Matador, TX

Castro

8/9/06

8:00AM

NRCS Service Center, 315 West Belsher, Dimmitt, TX

Sherman

8/9/06

9:00AM

Happy, State Bank, 100 N. Main, Stratford, TX.

Oldham

8/15/06

9:00AM

Randall County Extension Bldg, 200 N. Brown, Canyon, TX

King

8/17/06

1:30PM

Guthrie Community Center, Guthrie, TX

Stonewall

8/17/06

9:00AM

Stonewall Co. Courthouse, Aspermont, TX

Moore

8/23/06

9:00AM

Amarillo College, Moore County Campus

Cochran

8/29/06

9:00AM

NRCS Service Center, 200 A West Taylor, Morton, TX

Terry

8/29/06

9:00AM

Extension Service Center, 209 South 5th Street, Brownfield, TX

Bailey

8/30/06

8:00AM

Five Area Telephone Board Rm., 302 Uvalde St., Muleshoe, TX

Fisher

8/31/06

2:00PM

Roby Community Center, Roby, TX

Garza

9/5/06

8:30AM

Wells Fargo Bank Meeting Rm, 216 W. Main Street, Post, TX

Lynn

9/7/06

8:30AM

Tahoka Housing Authority Meeting Rm, 1400 Ave. K, Tahoka

Hale

9/8/06

10:30AM

NRCS Service Center, 304 South Garland, Plainview, TX

Lamb

9/11/06

10:00AM

Lamb County Electric Co-op, 2415 S. Phelps, Ave., Littlefield, TX

Cottle

9/14/06

10:00AM

NRCS Service Center, 920 Bray, Paducah, TX