WildfirePotential High; Growers/Landowners
Advised To Take Appropriate Precautions

Friday, November 30, 2007                        By Shawn Wade

      Texas Cooperative Extensionand the Texas Forest Service are advising farmers and ranchers across Texas tobe especially vigilant as dry conditions that settled into the State earlierthis year continue to pose a significant wildfire risk in the coming months.

      Healthy stands of grass andother groundcover that resulted from plentiful spring rains have now dried downacross the State and significantly increased the potential for wildfires tooccur. The dry conditions have already caused many Texas counties to take aproactive stance and establish burning bans that restrict outdoor burningactivities.

      A map showing Texas countieswith burning bans as of November 30, 2007 has been developed by the TexasForest Service and is available on the internet. To view the map, go to: http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/decban.png

      Pasture and range land, alongwith Conservation Reserve Program land, are notable at-risk areas under thecurrent conditions. Landowners and farmers who have experienced wildfires inthe past are well aware of the risk to livestock, equipment, property andcrops.

      With a large portion of whatshould be the second best cotton crop ever produced in Texas likely to sit onturn-rows and along field margins for an extended period of time over the nextfew months, cotton producers are advised to pay particular attention to theprocedures they use when building and locating cotton modules during harvest.

PROPER MODULE SPACING IS KEY TOLIMITING RISK

      One of the most devastatinglosses a grower can experience during the harvest season is the loss of aportion of their cotton to fire after it is stored in the module.

      Module fires, while not anuncommon occurrence, are usually an isolated problem in most years. Dryconditions like the State is currently experiencing, coupled with a higher thannormal concentration of cotton modules resulting from an exceptional productionyear, increases the risk a grower faces.

      On the High Plains of Texashundreds of thousands of acres of cotton lie adjacent to CRP land, pastures andother at-risk areas. With more than 5.25 million bales of cotton to beproduced, the 2007 cotton ginning season is not expected to be finished untillate-February or early-march in many areas.

      That means quite a bit ofcotton could be stored in modules for 2-3 months, or longer, before it isginned. Once turned into the gin, cotton modules are typically covered underthe gin's liability policy against loss from fire or other causes so long asthey are grouped and spaced according to the provisions of the gin insurancepolicy.

      Growers are advised take thetime to gain a satisfactory understanding of the protection afforded to themvia the gin policy's coverage limits or deductibles. It is important toremember that gin insurance policies often differ in their requirements andgrowers need to make sure they contact their gin to learn the specifics ofthose requirements.

      Taking the time to space andgroup modules properly is the best defense a grower has against the financialconsequences of a module fire. Simply put, proper module spacing minimizes thechance that what would otherwise be an isolated loss could turn into somethingbigger and significantly more damaging.

 

2007 Cotton Quality Summary

      Thefollowing is a summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDACotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2007 production season.

 

Week Ending November 29, 2007:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

90,643

21+

2.30

36.21

Lubbock

319,812

21+

2.37

36.11

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.26

30.44

81.03

3.1%

Lubbock

4.05

29.76

80.68

1.0%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

461,908

21+

2.17

36.06

Lubbock

1,516,249

21+

2.36

35.94

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.26

29.87

80.92

3.3%

Lubbock

4.09

29.59

80.67

1.4%

 

DisasterPayments Remain On Hold Pending
Publication of Final Program Regulations

Friday, November 30, 2007                        By Shawn Wade

      Despite opening the sign-upprocess on October 15, the USDA Farm Service Agency has not released anypayments to growers that have gone through the process and qualified forbenefits under the 2005-2007 Crop Disaster Program (CDP). The CDP wasauthorized earlier this year as part of the Agricultural Assistance Act of2007.

      According to the Farm ServiceAgency, payments under the CDP will be released as soon as the finalregulations governing the program are published in the Federal Register. FSAofficials say they are now in the final stages of the USDA clearance processfor the regulations and hope to have the final rule published in the FederalRegister by mid-December.

      Since there is always thepossibility that a last-second glitch could delay publication of the finalrule, FSA officials note that they cannot absolutely guarantee that CDPpayments will be issued before the end of the year. In fact, the most that theycan say in this regard is that CDP payments for applications on file when therule is published should be released soon thereafter.

      Since many growers signed upfor the CDP early anticipating the payments would come before the end of theyear, the current delay may have inadvertently created some potential taxissues for growers that find they need to balance income between the 2007 and2008 tax years.

      While it is likely that CDPpayments will get issued before the end of the year, growers that would preferto not take a chance on additional delays pushing the payments into the 2008tax year may prefer to make other plans.

      FSA officials note that theonly way to absolutely guarantee that a CDP payment will not be issued beforethe end of the year is to withdraw an already completed CDP application andmake arrangements to reapply after January 1, 2008. FSA has not set an end datefor the 2005-2007 CDP sign-up period at this time.

      Cotton growers findingthemselves in this situation are advised to contact their county FSA office anddiscuss what they need to do to temporarily withdraw their application.

      One possibility for cottongrowers to consider for bringing what would otherwise be income generated in2008 forward to 2007 is applying for a seed cotton loan before the end of theyear.

      Able to be requested on amodule-by-module basis, seed cotton loans are a viable way for growers to shifta pre-determined amount of potential 2008 income into the 2007 tax year. Seedcotton loans could be particularly helpful to growers who know that asignificant portion of their 2007 cotton will not be ginned or sold until afterJanuary 1.

 

Wantthe facts about the U.S. farm policy. Get what you need at:

www.farmpolicyfacts.com

 

Time IsRunning Out: Make Plans To Attend The 2008 Beltwide Cotton Conferences

      Programming for the 2008Beltwide Cotton Conferences will be posted at the Beltwide's web site (http://beltwide.cotton.org) on December 3. Assembled under thetheme "Orchestrate Your Opportunities" the 2008 Beltwide conferenceswill be held January 8-11 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & ConventionCenter in Nashville, TN.

      "We want to encourageproducers and other related cotton industry individuals to visit the web siteto learn more about the conferences," said Bill Robertson, NCC staffercoordinating the programming. "Those who plan to attend are alsoencouraged to register and make their hotel reservations now."

      Meeting registration andhotel reservations can be made online at the Beltwide web site. Those withoutInternet access or those needing assistance may call 901-274-9030 and ask forthe Beltwide Help Desk.

      Robertson said a number ofCotton Production Conference sessions have been developed which includeheightened producer involvement to help address challenges and identify opportunitiesfor the 2008 season. Among the topics that will be discussed are herbicideresistance management, onboard modeling systems on the Case IH and John Deerecotton pickers, and reflections on the 2007 production season.