Friday, August 31, 2007 By Shawn Wade
Following the recent mailing of 2007 boll weevil eradication assessment letters to cotton producers in the six eradication zones across Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.'s 41-county area, officials from the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) are encouraging growers to take advantage of the early payment discount option and earn a two percent discount on 2007 eradication assessments.
The assessment due date for 2007 payments is September 29. Producers who submit their payment in full by September 14 will earn the two percent discount on their 2007 assessment bill.
Boll weevil assessments are calculated using assessment rates recommended by individual zone grower committees and approved by the TBWEF Board of Directors, and using the information cotton producers provide the Farm Service Agency when certifying their crop acreage.
Growers that happen to find errors in the information on their billing statement are advised to correct the information at their local FSA office and forward the corrected information to the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.
The TBWEF also has a program designed to assist growers that are unable to pay their assessment by the due date because of adverse weather or other circumstances.
To aid these growers, the TBWEF offers payment extension agreements for producers whose accounts are current. Growers interested in entering into a payment extension agreement should contact the TBWEF Assessments Department for information on arranging an extension agreement.
Producers entering into an extension agreement must make a 10 percent down payment, and they will be charged a late fee of 1 percent per month until their accounts are paid. This late fee begins on the date the signed agreement and down payment are received by the Assessments Department.
Producers with extension agreements have 150 days to pay their assessment. Producers who do not enter into extension agreements and do not pay their assessment by the due date are considered delinquent and are subject to a late fee of 1.5 percent per month.
The following is a run-down of 2007 assessment rates and failed acreage rules in each of the six High Plains zones.
Northern High Plains – Approved 2007 assessment rates for the 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 the growing season will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.
Northwest Plains - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the NWP zone are $2.00 per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $4.00 per land acre for Irrigated cotton. Acres failed at any time during the growing season will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.
Panhandle - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the PH zone is $3.00 per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $3.00 per land acre for Irrigated cotton. Acres failed prior to the final Farm Service Agency certification date will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.
Southern High Plains/Caprock - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the 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 the growing 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 acre for Irrigated cotton. Acres failed prior to the final Farm Service Agency certification date will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.
Permian Basin - Approved 2007 assessment rates for the PB zone are $6.00 per land acre for Non-irrigated (dryland) cotton and $12.00 per land acre for Irrigated cotton. Acres failed prior to the final Farm Service Agency certification date will be credited for 100 percent of the assessment due.
For more information contact the Foundation's Assessments Department in Abilene at (866) 672-2800.
Friday, August 31, 2007 By Shawn Wade
Earlier this month the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality mailed a letter to owners and operators of petroleum storage tanks covered by the State's Petroleum Storage Tank Program.
The letter was designed primarily to let both aboveground and underground tank owners and operators know about rule changes approved by the Texas Legislature that will go into effect September 1, 2007.
Following the initial mailing TECQ officials report that the information that was mailed to all Petroleum Storage Tank Program participants generated quite a few calls from concerned storage tank owners and operators.
TCEQ officials explained that their the majority of the confusion generated by the first letter involved individuals that were unclear about their responsibilities were under the new rules or, in the case of an aboveground tank operators, which part of the new rules actually applied to their particular situation. Agency officials say they are now in the process of sending a second letter that will more clearly answer these and other questions.
The first change noted by the Agency about the rules approved by the 80th Texas Legislature are that beginning September 1, 1007 all Underground and Aboveground storage tank owners will no longer be assessed an annual registration fee. However, TCEQ officials note that any fee for registrations required for Fiscal 2007 or prior years with a due date before September 1, 2007 will still be the responsibility of the tank owner to pay, including fees owed for tanks that were not properly registered by September 1, 2007.
Registration fee payments that would have been due after September 1 fall under the new rules and will not owed by the tank owner according to TCEQ.
The other major change implemented by the Legislature on September 1 is the addition of a new Proof of Financial Assurance provision to the annual registration program. Among the clarifications TCEQ is new requirement applies only to owners/operators of underground storage tanks.
The new Proof of Financial Assurance rule requires all underground storage tank owner or operator to provide proof of financial assurance with their annual Self-Certification forms. TECQ officials note that self-certification forms submitted without newly required proof of financial assurance documentation would not be processed.
According to TCEQ proof of financial assurance is most commonly provided in the form of a liability insurance policy or meeting the requirements of the program's financial test showing they have sufficient net worth to meet the liability requirement.
TECQ officials note that tank owners or operators opting to utilize the financial test as proof of financial assurance must be able to document a tangible net worth of at east $10 million and requires completion and submission of the Chief Financial Officer's letter found in Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 37, Subchapter 1.
Proof of Financial Assurance provided through insurance must be documented with a Certificate of Insurance that correctly indicates the following: Insured's name, exactly matching the name of either the registered tank owner or operator; Location address and number of tanks exactly matching the information contained in TCEQ's database records; Amount of coverage, as required by Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, §37.815; and, lastly a statement that certifies that the wording of the Certificate of Insurance instrument is identical to the wording in Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, §37.835(b)(2) and that the insurance provider is licensed to transact the business of insurance in Texas.
TCEQ officials advise underground storage tank owners and operators that the financial assurance provider must report cancellation, termination or non-renewal of their financial assurance to TCEQ. Tank owners and operators are also required to report any changes in financial assurance information.
Tank owner/operators without financial assurance will be required to dispose of any regulated substance in storage. Owner/operators that fail to provide acceptable evidence of financial assurance may be ordered to place the tank out of service according to the current requirements of temporary or permanent removal from service rules.
Additional questions and requests for information about the new rules can be directed to the Petroleum Storage Tank Registration Team at (512) 239-2160. Questions concerning financial assurance should be directed to Teresa Nemec at (512) 239-0325.
With the Labor Day weekend only a few short weeks away, the August/September calendar is rapidly filling up with County Crop Tours and Industry Field Day events.
The table below contains a partial listing of the events already scheduled. Growers interested in attending any of the Texas Cooperative Extension events should contact the appropriate TCE County office to request additional details.
For more information about the industry Field Days listed below contact your local sales representative or dealer. Additional details will be included in "Cotton News" as they become available.
If you have knowledge of information that needs to be added to any of the events already listed or a date you would like to have added to this calendar please contact Shawn Wade at 806-792-4904.
2007 High Plains Event Calendar
Texas Plant Protection Assoc. Precision Ag Expo, Ollie Liner Center, Plainview
September 6 - For more information contact: TPPA at 936-539-2349; http://tppa.tamu.edu
Yoakum Co. Crop Tour
Floyd Co. Crop Tour
Lynn Co. Ag Tour
Mitchell Co. Ag Tour
Crosby Co. Crop Tour
Harvest Aid Training, Hale Co.
Industry Field Days:
FiberMax Field Day
September 26 and 27