Sticking Up for Cotton: Georgia Senator
Rebuts Inaccurate Washington Post Editorial

Friday, November 9, 2007                             By Shawn Wade

      U.S. cotton producers havemade a tremendous investment in knowledge and technology, which consequentlyprovides them a better opportunity to take advantage of favorable weather andmake more cotton from fewer and fewer acres.

      Underscoring this fact, whichis conveniently ignored by cotton's critics in the legislative and humanitarianarenas, is the impressive USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service CropReport released November 9 that shows U.S. cotton producers are on track to seta national average yield record and maintain a steady supply of high qualitycotton to the world's textile mills despite a significant drop in overall acresplanted to the crop.

      The efficiency andproductivity of the U.S. cotton producer certainly hasn't escaped the notice ofGeorgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, Ranking Member of the Senate AgricultureCommittee and a staunch supporter of a strong and predictable U.S. agriculturepolicy.

      Chambliss took to the Senatefloor earlier this week during the opening rounds of debate over the 2007 FarmBill to defend the agriculture policy framework he helped bring to the Senatefloor from the Agriculture Committee.

      In the process he alsoprovided a welcome dose of reality about the erroneous claims that have beenconstantly leveled against the U.S. cotton program and the U.S. cotton industryfor far too long.

      Out on the High Plains ofTexas the Senator's comments were an appreciated and welcome change from therhetoric and accusations that cotton producers have become accustomed tohearing.

      "High Plains cotton producersappreciate the fact that Senator Chambliss was willing to defend more than justcotton, in his speech," notes PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett, whohas been a near constant fixture in Washington since the start of the SenateAgriculture Committee's mark-up of the farm bill and the debate on the Senatefloor.

      Verett added that beyondcorrecting the fallacies being widely circulated relative to cotton, Chamblisswas perhaps most effective in communicating the importance of the farm programand the fact that a number of significant reforms and improvements have beenincluded in the Senate farm bill proposal.

      Chambliss' speech, deliveredon the Senate floor November 8, was a direct rebuttal of a November 7 editorialprinted in the Washington Post attacking the farm policy proposals put forth bythe Senate Agriculture Committee.

      The Post's editorialattempted to make its case on the weak and inaccurate accusations espoused bycritics of the U.S. cotton industry that the U.S. cotton program underminesworld cotton prices and by extension the ability of West African cottonproducers to profitably grow cotton.

      Unfortunately for the Post'swriter the facts don't support such an argument and Senator Chambliss was morethan capable of dismantling the premise of the story by skillfully andcompletely refuting the erroneous accusations parroted against U.S. cotton, andby extension current U.S. agriculture policy.

      "I want to set therecord straight relative to one particular issue in the editorial that has beentalked about over the last several years that is simply wrong," saidSenator Chambliss. "This editorial takes on the cotton program in the 2002farm bill and says that this program has a very negative effect on cotton farmersin the West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali."

      Senator Chambliss questionedthe editorial's claim that U.S. cotton acreage has increased in response toU.S. subsidies when, in fact, U.S. cotton acreage has decreased 39 percent from2002 to 2007.

      Over that same period,Chambliss noted that cotton acreage in both China and Brazil has increased atleast 50 percent and that China, India and Brazil have each experiencedtremendous increases in cotton production.

      Senator Chambliss alsopointed out that multiple independent analyses, including one conducted by theCotton Economics Research Institute at Texas Tech University, show only minimalcotton price impacts can be linked to the U.S. cotton program on world pricesunlike the significant impacts claimed in economic studies commissioned byorganizations with an anti-cotton agenda.

      Senator Chambliss expressedfrustration at the author's misunderstanding of the U.S. cotton program and theauthor's failure to communicate that the farm bill pending in the Senateprovides reforms both the cotton program and the underlying framework of U.S.agriculture policy, while simultaneously making new investments in the areas ofnutrition, conservation and energy.

      Another highlight of SenatorChambliss' speech was his refuting the claim that the U.S. cotton program onlybenefits 20,000 American cotton producers, Chambliss underscored the fact thatcotton producers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the economicbenefits and impact of the U.S. cotton industry.

      Beyond the cotton producer,Chambliss noted that farms and businesses directly involved in the production,distribution and processing of cotton employ more that 230,000 people andresult in direct business revenues of more that $27 billion. He also noted thatas cotton's economic impact moves through the U.S. economy, direct and indirectemployment grows to 520,000 workers and economic activity in excess of $120billion.

      A link to the audio ofSenator Chambliss' speech is available on the Plains Cotton Growers website. Tolisten go to:
http://www.plainscotton.org/rkh/audio/archives/chambliss_110807.mp3

 

Want the facts about the U.S. farmpolicy. Get what you need at:

www.farmpolicyfacts.com

 

High Plains Crop Grows To 5.3 Million BalesAs High Quality Cotton Dominates In 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007                             By Shawn Wade

      The best way to describe the2007 High Plains cotton crop is to paraphrase one of the oldest sayings thereis in agriculture -"Big crops get bigger."

      So far the 2007 Texas cottoncrop, which has grown in each of the last three USDA Crop Production reports,is doing its best to guarantee that a new generation of agriculture producersand prognosticators believe in the validity of that saying.

      According to the very latestCrop Production estimate released by USDA's National Agricultural StatisticsService Texas will for the second time in the last three years produce a cropin excess of 8 million bales.

      Tipping the scales at 8.1million bales, the November 2007 Crop Production report pegs the Lone StarState's cotton harvest as the second largest on record.

      A majority of this increaseis projected to come from the High Plains of Texas. There, cotton producersinside the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. service area are now expected to harvest5.3 million bales of that total.

      Hitting that mark guaranteesthe High Plains of its second best production total ever and extends its streakof consecutive crops in excess of 4 million bales to four. The area's all-timehigh production year was 2005 when the region produced 5.65 million bales.

      Breaking down the numbersshows that Texas Agricultural Statistics Service crop reporting districts 1-Nand 1-S, which essentially mirror the 41-county Texas High Plains region servedby PCG, will average 842 pounds per harvested acre in 2007, smashing the area'sall-time yield record of 786 pounds set in 2005. High Plains harvested acresare forecast at 3.02 million in 2007, 250,000 acres less than was harvested in2005.

      Breaking down the numbersfurther illustrates just how good the cotton is in the area. The northern HighPlains region situated in district 1-N is projected to produce 1.17 millionbales from 540,000 acres, for a 1,040-pound average yield per harvested acre.

      Further south, in district1-S, farmers are set to harvest 2.48 million acres of cotton and produce 4.13million bales with an average yield per harvested acre of 799 pounds.

      The following pointillustrates how impressive the district 1-N and 1-S forecastsare from a worldwide cotton perspective.

      Standing alone the 4.13million bale production estimate for district 1-S would rank this area as the7th largest cotton producing country in the world in 2007. According to thelatest world cotton production forecasts the only countries producing morecotton than district 1-S in 2007 are China, India, the rest of the UnitedStates, Pakistan, Brazil and Uzbekistan, respectively.

      While not nearly as large,the 1.17 million bales forecast to come from district 1-N would also easilykeep this area in the world's top twelve cotton producing countries, edging outEgypt for the 11th spot on that list.

      Combined with the recordproduction level, which is being achieved through a combination of trulyfavorable moisture and weather conditions, cutting-edge management techniquesand new seed and crop protection technology, is the outstanding quality of thefiber that is being produced.

      A quick look at the latestcotton quality reports from the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Classing officesshows that the not only will the High Plains be the source for a significantquantity of cotton, it will also be one of the primary sources in the world forthe "high grade" cotton currently in demand by international textile mills.

 

Quality Summary & Nov. 2007 Texas
Upland Cotton Production Estimate

TEXAS UPLAND COTTON DISTRICTESTIMATES

2006 and 2007 1/

Districts

Planted Acres

Harvested Acres

Yield

Production

 

2006

2007

2006

2007

2006

2007

2006

2007

 

1,000 acres

1,000 acres

Pounds

1,000 bales

1-N

994.7

590.0

850.1

540.0

889

1,040

1,575.2

1,170.0

1-S

2,883.2

2,600.0

1,880.4

2,480.0

637

799

2,497.1

4,130.0

2-N

426.3

340.0

251.2

340.0

497

720

260.2

510.0

2-S

548.0

440.0

265.6

440.0

311

764

171.9

700.0

4

157.9

85.0

156.5

85.0

482

791

157.0

140.0

7

189.0

160.0

92.8

155.0

679

960

131.2

310.0

8-N

109.2

60.0

58.7

55.0

885

916

108.2

105.0

8-S

455.8

300.0

147.1

295.0

716

887

219.4

545.0

9

236.6

150.0

228.5

145.0

881

695

419.2

210.0

10-N

38.5

37.1

715

55.3

10-S

266.2

100.0

85.4

95.0

687

758

122.3

150.0

Other

94.6

75.0

46.6

70.0

855

891

83.0

130.0

STATE

6,400.0

4,900.0

4,100.0

4,700.0

679

827

5,800.0

8,100.0

1/ Preliminary, November,2007. Source: USDA, NASS

2007 HIGH PLAINS COTTON QUALITYSUMMARY

      The following is a summary ofthe cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division CottonClassing Offices for the 2007 production season.

 

Week Ending November 8, 2007:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

82,539

21+

2.09

36.08

Lubbock

280,969

21+

2.36

35.84

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.22

29.91

80.90

3.6%

Lubbock

4.10

29.68

80.59

1.6%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

196,201

21+

2.15

35.91

Lubbock

638,314

21+

2.39

35.72

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.24

29.36

80.85

3.5%

Lubbock

4.15

29.45

80.57

1.7%