PCGHEADS TO WASHINGTON FOR AG COMMITTEE
MARK-UP; APPROVES 07-08 OPERATING BUDGET

Friday, July 13, 2007                                  By Shawn Wade

      FullAgriculture Committee mark-up of what will soon be the House of Representative's2007 Farm Bill has been scheduled to begin July 17. When it starts producerleaders from Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. will be in Washington,DC, representing High Plains cotton producers.

      ThePCG contingent will include current PCG Vice President Barry Evans of Kress,PCG Chairman of the Board Rickey Bearden of Plains, PCG past president MarkWilliams of Farwell and, PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett.

      Whilein Washington, PCG's representatives will also work closely with other Texascotton leaders as part of a larger Texas Cotton Producers, Inc. (TCP)contingent. TCP is a statewide producer organization comprised of the nineregional cotton producer organizations that operate in the State.

      Toensure High Plains' interests are addressed, PCG has taken a proactive approachto the process working directly with members of the House Agriculture Committee(HAC) and HAC staff, with the National Cotton Council of America and throughthe Southwest Council of Agribusiness (SWCA).

      TheSWCA is a broad-based coalition of commodity groups, agricultural bankers,equipment dealers and agribusiness interests who have retained the services ofCombest, Sell & Associate, LLC, an agricultural lobbying firm organized byformer HAC Chairman Larry Combest.

      Throughthese efforts, PCG is pushing for the continuation of the highly successful andfiscally responsible commodity support programs enacted in the Farm Bill of2002 and add to the organization's 50-year history of success.

      A keypart of PCG's ability to represent the High Plains cotton industry over thelast half-century is the record support the organization receives. PCGcontinues to earn the support and respect of the vast majority of High Plainscotton farmers.

      Duringits July Board of Directors meeting PCG leaders approved a 2007-2008 operatingbudget of $852,678 to support the organization's ongoing legislative,regulatory and cotton research programs. Included in PCG's budget is continuedsupport for the Southwest Council of Agribusiness.

      ThePCG Board of Directors also approved the organization's continued support ofCotton Council International for the coming year. PCG Board agreed to supportCCI through a $100,000 grant, which will be pooled with the money from otherCCI supporters. The industry funds are then leveraged through matching fundsprovided by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and through non-cashcontributions from other sources.

      PCG's support continues the41-county organization's long-standing efforts to promote the use of HighPlains cotton internationally.

      Direct U.S. cotton industryfinancial support, such as that provided by PCG, is just one part of the CCIfunding mechanism. The majority of CCI's support is provided through non-cashand public funds contributions. A significant portion of the annual CCI budgetis provided through the USDA Market Access Program, which provides matchinggrants for export market building activities benefiting U.S. agriculturalproducts.

      The Cotton USA program relieson a mixture of industry generated funds and MAP funds authorized by the 2002Farm Bill. Cotton is only one of several commodities receiving MAP funds.

      PCG joins the National CottonCouncil, Amcot, American Cotton Shippers Association, the Cotton Foundation,Cotton Incorporated, Supima Association of America, the New York Board ofTrade, National Cottonseed Products Association, Southern Cotton Growers, andthe SJV Cotton Growers Association as CCI supporters.

      To learn more about theactivities of Cotton Council International and the Cotton USA program go totheir website at www.cottonusa.org

 

COMMITTEE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COTTON
SUPPORTS INDUSTRY'S FRIENDS IN CONGRESS

Friday, July 13, 2007                                  By Shawn Wade

      Development of the 2007 FarmBill has become every bit as tough as our supporters in Congress predicted itwould become and the U.S. cotton industry needs your help to support cotton'sfriends in Congress.

      Tight budgets andwell-organized opponents have increased the pressure on the cotton industry'sstaunchest Congressional supporters, leaders who are now carrying the load andmaking sure cotton's interests are protected in the next 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

 

 

USDA:IMPORTANT FSA DEADLINES APPROACHING

Friday, July 13, 2007                                 

      Earlier this week U.S.Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator TeresaLasseter reminded farmers and other landowners that several important dates areon the horizon.

      Lasseter explained thatfarmers and other landowners with base acres and yields have only until August3, 2007, to enroll in the 2007 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program(DCP) without incurring a late enrollment fee. Producers failing to sign up byAug. 3, 2007, but before Sept. 30, 2007, will pay a late-file fee of $100. Thefinal date to enroll in the 2007 DCP is Sept. 30, 2007.

      Enrollment in DCP for the2007 contract period began Oct. 1, 2006. FSA extended the DCP sign-up deadlinein March 2007 to August 3, 2007. The original DCP enrollment deadline was June1, 2007.

      The deadline to enroll in the2007 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program is rapidly approaching andLasseter encouraged all eligible producers to enroll in DCP before the August 3deadline to avoid paying a late fee."

      DCP provides payments toeligible producers on farms enrolled for the 2002 through 2007 crop years.There are two types of DCP payments – direct payments andcounter-cyclical payments. USDA computes payments using the base acres andpayment yields established for the farm. The Farm Security and Rural InvestmentAct of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) authorized DCP.

      Lasseter also remindedfarmers and ranchers that the also have until August 1, 2007, to nominateeligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees.

      FSA county committees assistlocal farmers through their decisions on commodity price support loans,conservation programs and disaster programs, and by working closely with countyexecutive directors.

      To hold office as a countycommittee member, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administeredby FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in thelocal administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

      A complete list ofeligibility requirements and additional information are posted online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov; click on News & Events, then County Committee Elections.

      Individuals may nominatethemselves or others as candidates. Also, organizations representing minoritiesand women are encouraged to nominate candidates.

      All nomination forms for the2007 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Centerby close of business on August 1, 2007.

      The county committeenomination period began June 15. Voting takes place in the fall. Ballots willbe mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 2. The final day to return voted ballotsto the local USDA Service Center is December 3. Newly elected county committeemembers take office January 1, 2008.