For Monsanto Executives An Intensive
Cotton Experience Was A Unique Opportunity

Friday, September 29, 2006 By Shawn Wade
The recent announcement of Monsanto's plan to acquire Delta & Pine Land has raised quite a few eyebrows in coffee shops and gin offices throughout the High Plains with growers wondering what the move says about Monsanto's commitment to be a player in the High Plains cotton industry.
The main question for growers, especially in an age where technology is rapidly changing many aspects of the cotton production process, is how Monsanto plans to address the unique needs of the High Plains cotton-growing region.
Part of the answer to that question was provided in Lubbock earlier this week when Monsanto brought more than 100 of its key management personnel to the area to learn about the crop and the challenges that face cotton producers on the High Plains.
The event, dubbed within Monsanto as the “Intensive Cotton Experience” (ICE), was coordinated by personnel from Monsanto's Cotton Technology Team and was designed to educate their peers about the production, management, and use of cotton. The event also allowed the High Plains cotton industry to describe the niche this area fills in the world of cotton.
A majority of Monsanto's ICE participants came from the company's St. Louis headquarters with many having only limited exposure to cotton before their trip to Lubbock.
For Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., who was asked to participate in the event, it was a chance to highlight the area's role in the U.S. and world cotton marketplace and also reinforce the importance of Monsanto products and programs to growers.
During a presentation on the agronomics and economics of High Plains cotton production, PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett highlighted the successful contributions new cotton varieties and technology are providing to cotton producers in the High Plains region.
He noted that a big part of the reason for that success has been the willingness of Monsanto's top management to listen to the concerns of High Plains farmers and then work with them, through PCG, to develop some of the most unique and cutting edge value-added, risk sharing programs in the market.
“From a grower perspective the type of interaction provided by the Monsanto ICE event is critical to our ability to be partners in the development of innovative programs that add value and reduce risk,” said Verett. “PCG's goal is to keep our technology providers up to speed on what is most important to producers.”
During the ICE event Monsanto personnel were given the opportunity to see first-hand cotton's journey from field to finished product. For those without much cotton knowledge the experience was eye opening. The ability to see cotton in this way and to visit with a broad cross-section of producers from the High Plains region offered most participants a completely new perspective on the challenges that face the end-users of Monsanto products.
“Through the years PCG has worked closely with Monsanto and many other seed and technology providers to educate them about producer needs, develop innovative programs to address those needs and add value to the products that are offered in the marketplace. PCG will continue to maintain these valuable relationships and build on them through opportunities like the recent Monsanto ICE meeting to bring additional benefits to High Plains cotton producers,” concludes Verett.

As High Plains Cotton Speeds Toward Harvest;
Crop Size Is A Mystery To Growers/Market

Friday, September 29, 2006 By Shawn Wade
Harvest aid trials have been a popular focus for High Plains cotton producers as a drought plagued crop eases into Fall and the home stretch of the 2006 growing season.
Because of the rapid development of the crop, growers are working quickly to get equipment ready and prepare fields for harvest. Even at this late date, however, crop conditions are changing and varied opinions still exist about how much cotton the area will eventually produce. The next official USDA Crop Production report will not be released until October 12 and its forecast will undoubtedly provide the clearest picture of where the crop stands.
Barely a trickle of cotton, less than 1,000 bales altogether, has been classed so far at the Lubbock USDA AMS Cotton Classing office. Initial High Volume Instrument (HVI) readings from these bales are encouraging, however, as the area looks to produce another high quality crop.
With many acres of marginal dryland cotton being evaluated, and released, by crop insurance adjusters, abandonment is still on the rise. High Plains producers had already failed approximately 970,000 acres of mostly dryland cotton by August 1. Since then an additional 70,000 acres have been failed in the High Plains region, not quite one-third of the acres needed to reach the September 1 USDA estimate of 1.2 million abandoned acres.
As always September weather has played a big role in the outcome of the 2006 High Plains crop. About the only thing left for producers to do is put harvesters in the field and see how much is going to be headed to the gin.

2007 DCP Sign-up Begins October 1, 2006

Enrollment for the 2007 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment (DCP) program begins Oct. 1, 2006, and continues until June 1, 2007. Farmers are encouraged to sign up for the 2007 DCP program through USDA's online DCP sign-up service or at their local USDA Service Center.
The electronic sign-up service is available by going to the USDA's Farm Service Agency website at (www.fsa.usda.gov) and clicking the “Online Services” link at the top of the page. Once there follow the instructions for setting up an account or click the “eDCP” link on the right side of the page to proceed.