SenateBudget Committee Approves
New Spending Plan On Party Line Vote

Friday, March 16, 2007                              By Shawn Wade

      Senator Kent Conrad, Chairmanof the Senate Budget Committee, oversaw approval of a $2.9 Trillion FY 2008Budget plan on a 12-11 party line vote March 15. The Senate panel's approvalsends the plan to the Senate floor for final approval.

      Included in the plan is theSenate's budget allocation for writing the 2007 Farm Bill and languageauthorizing up to an additional $15 billion over five years to address newneeds or the expansion of existing programs to meet changing programpriorities.

      The Budget Committee'saddition of extra spending authority doesn't necessarily mean that there isthat much extra money to work with when the Senate Agriculture Committee sitsdown to write the farm bill however. The kicker on the extra funding is thatthe Senate plan appears to require that spending offsets or a revenue increasebe found to make the additional money available.

      According to Ag Chairman TomHarkin the plan approved by the Senate Budget Committee will not be sufficientto fully address all the items that need attention during the farm bill debateespecially with the strings that are currently attached.

      Harkin notes that even if itis realized, the extra spending authority is still $5 billion short of thefigure he and Ranking Member Senator Saxby Chambliss had requested from theBudget Committee over the next five years to write the farm bill.

      It is best to note that thebudget plan that will now move to the Senate floor for consideration is farfrom the last step in the process relative agriculture spending.

      With the House ofRepresentatives facing a similar dilemma when it sits down to produce a budgetplan next week it should be clear that the budget process is far from over.

 

TBWEFApproves Lower Assessments
In Four High Plains Weevil Eradication Zones

Friday, March 16, 2007                              By Shawn Wade

      The Texas Boll WeevilEradication Foundation Board of directors approved recommendations to lower2007 assessment rates in four Texas High Plains eradication zones.

      Benefiting from newassessment rates in 2007 will be growers in the Northern High Plains (NHP),Northwest Plains (NWP), Panhandle (PHH), and Southern High Plains/Caprock(SHP/C) eradication zones.

      The new assessment rates arenow on the desk of Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staplesawaiting final approval to go into effect. Commissioner Staples is expected toact on the TBWEF recommendations within the next two weeks.

      Producers and landowners inthese areas are the first in the currently active High Plains eradication zonesto benefit from lower assessment rates thanks to the success of the program andthe leadership of the growers serving on each zone's grower advisory committee.

      In addition to reducing bollweevil populations to levels that should allow them to be declared functionallyeradicated in the near future, each of the zones approved for the lowerassessment rates have cleared another equally important hurdle in their battleagainst the boll weevil.

      Thanks to strong producersupport, all of the four High Plains zones lowering assessment rates haverepaid 100 percent of the money borrowed at the start of their programs tosustain full-scale eradication activities. As weevil numbers have dropped, agreater percentage of each year's assessment has been able to be directed atrepaying these up-front expenses.

      Each of the four zones wasable to repay their program debt earlier than the projected repayment timeframe approved by growers when the program was started.

      The following is a run-downof the recently approved 2007 assessment rates and failed acreage rules in eachof the six High Plains zones.

Northern High Plains – Approved 2007 assessment rates forthe NHP zone are $3.50 per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and$4.00 per land acre for Irrigated cotton. Acres failed at any time during thegrowing season will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.

Northwest Plains - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the NWP zone are $2.00per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $4.00 per land acre forIrrigated cotton. Acres failed at any time during the growing season will becredited for 100 percent of the assessment due.

Panhandle - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the PH zone is $3.00 perland acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $3.00 per land acre forIrrigated cotton. Acres failed prior to the final Farm Service Agencycertification date will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.

Southern High Plains/Caprock - Approved 2007 assessment rates forthe SHP/C zone are $3.00 per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and$6.00 per land acre for Irrigated cotton. Acres failed at any time during thegrowing season will credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.

Western High Plains - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the PB zone are$6.00 per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $12.00 per land acrefor Irrigated cotton. Acres failed prior to the final Farm Service Agencycertification date will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.

Permian Basin - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the PB zone are $6.00per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $12.00 per land acre forIrrigated cotton. Acres failed prior to the final Farm Service Agencycertification date will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.

 

All-TexSeed Offers Clarification To 2007
Drought Relief Program Requirements

Friday, March 16, 2007                              By Shawn Wade

      In order to avoid confusionthat might arise as a result of a mistake in the company's initial informationrelease, All-Tex Seed representatives have issued a revised information releasedetailing provisions of the company's 2007 Drought Relief Program.

      Early information publishedabout the All-Tex program incorrectly said the yield trigger for the drylanddrought relief program would be based on yield per land acre. Company officialsnote that the actual language in the provisions should have stated that theDrought Relief benefit would be available to eligible growers when drylandyields fall below 150 pounds per planted cotton acre

      Based on the revisedinformation provided by All-Tex details for the 2007 All-Tex Drought Reliefprogram are as follows:

  In the eventof a dryland drought, a grower whose cotton is lost or yields less than 150pounds of lint per planted acre will qualify.

  For qualifyinglosses on all All-Tex B2RF cotton varieties, the grower will receive a refundequal to 50 percent of the suggested retail price of the seed.

  For qualifyinglosses on all All-Tex Roundup Ready varieties the grower will receive a seedcredit for 100 percent of the All-Tex seed they purchased. Vouchers for thecredit will be supplied to the dealer who sold the original seed and seed willbe delivered to the same dealer in the farmers name in April 2008.

 

Waste Pesticide Collection Dates

      The Texas Commission onEnvironmental Quality, Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas CooperativeExtension are getting together to clean up the Texas countryside during themonth of March.

      As always these AgriculturalWaste Collection Program events are free of charge and open to all Texasresidents, not just farmers and ranchers. Participation is voluntary andconfidential.

      The joint effort is made of aseries of six waste pesticide collection events across Texas. Three of thisyear's scheduled collection sites are located in the West Texas region.

      Statewide, collection dateswere set up for Bryan, Huntsville, Carthage, Pampa, Plainview and Brownfieldbeginning March 13 and ending March 29.

      High Plains residents will bemost interested in the Pampa (March 26), Plainview (March 28) and Brownfield(March 29) collection dates.

      The Agricultural WasteCollection program will accept leftover banned or unwanted agriculturalpesticides, home chemicals including pesticides paints and thinners,antifreeze, household batteries, aerosol cans, photographic chemicals mercurythermometers, herbicides, gasoline, cleaners, pool chemicals, fluorescent bulbsused motor oil and oil filters, lead acid batteries and other automotiveproducts.

 

      The program cannot acceptused tires, radioactive materials, explosives, compressed gas cylinders, herbicidescontaining 2,4,5-TP (Silvex), pesticides or wood preservatives containingpentachlorophenol in quantities greater than five gallons or nutrient materialsthat are neither hazardous nor contain pesticide admixtures.

      The following is a list ofscheduled cleanup dates and locations with appropriate contact information forobtaining additional information.

 

Agricultural Waste Pesticide Collections

March 2007 Collection Schedule

 

Date

Time

City—Location

Contact

March 26

8:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

Pampa

Gray County Show Barn, 12125 E. Frederic

Brandon McGinty,

Co. Extension Agent, 806-669-8033

 

March 28

8:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

Plainview

Ollie Liner Center,

2000 S. Columbia St.

Michael Dolle,

Co. Extension Agent, 806-291-5267

 

March 29

8:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

Brownfield

Terry County Livestock Barn, 1792 CR 430

Chris Bishop,

Co. Extension Agent, 806-637-4060

 

Source: TCEQ, TDA, TCE