AGRICULTURE ANTICIPATES IMPROVED WORKING
RELATIONSHIP WITH OBAMA-LED USDA

Friday, November 7, 2008                         By Shawn Wade

      The presidential election is finally over and the American people have tapped Barack Obama to lead our country through what may prove to be one of the toughest economic challenges we have ever faced.

      American agriculture is right in the middle of this tumultuous situation and it is critical to have a good working relationship between producer groups and the top levels of an Obama-directed USDA.

      For the last eight years the relationship between agriculture and the Bush-led USDA has been a challenging one, says Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett.

      "We hope that the new Secretary of Agriculture will be an outspoken advocate for American agriculture's interests, and work to ensure a safe and reliable supply of food and fiber to American consumers," said Verett.

      He concluded, "We look forward to working with the Obama administration at USDA and hope they will find a way to communicate their opinions about agriculture policy while simultaneously deferring to the will of Congress, and the bi-partisan spirit from which U.S. agriculture policy is developed, when delivering these programs."

 

FINAL 2007-CROP COTTON PRICE CALCULATION
REVEALS NEED TO TWEAK NASS PROCEDURES

Friday, November 7, 2008                         By Shawn Wade

      The recent announcement that end of year revisions to preliminary price and marketing data for Upland cotton during the 2007 marketing year ended July 31 had resulted in a 2.2-cent decline in the anticipated 2007-crop Upland cotton Counter-cyclical program payment had many growers scratching their heads and left more than a few bankers scrambling to refigure balance sheets.

      Initial frustration was directed at the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, which conducts the survey tracking cotton price and marketing data throughout the marketing year. The real crux of the problem, however, is that NASS waits until the end of the year to make adjustments to the preliminary price and marketing information they receive.

      The use of this number by the Farm Service Agency to calculate the final Counter-cyclical program payment rate creates a situation that encourages cotton farmers, bankers and producer organizations track the monthly marketings being reported by NASS to anticipate what the final payment rate might be at the end of the year.

      Unfortunately, the procedures NASS follows to ensure the accuracy of the final number, which includes not including late-filed monthly reports until the end of the marketing year and allowing survey respondents to revise previously reported data after the end of the year, are not very conducive to a running, end-of-year price projection.

      "PCG discussed and made recommendations about the procedures used to gather the survey information with our friends at NASS several years ago and we understand the process by which these numbers are gathered," explains Verett.

      Understanding the process and the interest of producers in keeping track of prices and marketings during the growing season, Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett suggests USDA NASS consider modifying their procedures to provide for quarterly revisions to their preliminary data to provide a more timely reflection of the impact that late-filed survey responses and mid-year data corrections are having.

      He explains that by revising the preliminary data "on the fly," USDA will limit the potential for a big surprise at the end of the marketing year when the final price calculation is made.

      "Our suggestion isn't designed to add to the data collection burden on the folks at NASS," says Verett. "All we would really like to see is for them to take the initiative to update their preliminary numbers on a more timely basis as additional data is made available to them. We have the utmost respect for the job NASS does and this change would further enhance the confidence cotton producers have in the NASS data used to calculate key provisions of the safety net underpinning their operations."

      The following table shows the preliminary and final price and marketing information reported by NASS for the 2007- Upland cotton marketing year.

2007-crop Upland Cotton Monthly

Prices and Marketings, Preliminary and Final

Month

Bales*

Price*

Bales*

Price*

August 2007

1,762

44.90

1,762

51.00

September 2007

373

52.00

373

52.00

October 2007

949

55.20

949

55.50

November 2007

1,464

57.00

1,468

57.40

December 2007

1,529

59.20

1,529

59.60

January 2008

1,839

60.70

1,849

61.50

February 2008

1,399

61.90

1,400

63.00

March 2008

488

60.50

496

63.00

April 2008

486

62.10

489

65.50

May 2008

525

60.50

631

64.60

June 2008

717

60.40

726

64.00

July 2008

317

59.30

317

66.20

Calculated Weighted

57.11

59.28

Ave. Price:

Preliminary

Final

* Prices = cents/lb.; Marketings = 000's of running bales Source: USDA

SPEAKER LINE-UP ANNOUNCED FOR 8TH ANNUAL
TEXAS COMMODITY SYMPOSIUM

Friday, November 7, 2008                        

      The eighth annual Texas Commodity Symposium will be held December 3, and is hosted by Corn Producers of Texas (CPAT), Texas Grain Sorghum Association (TGSA), Texas Wheat Producers Association (TWPA), Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (PCG) and the Texas Peanut Producers Board (TPPB).

      The Symposium will be held in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room at the Amarillo Civic Center. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the Symposium will begin at 9 a.m. The event is free to all and will conclude with a catered lunch at noon.

      Key speakers on the agenda for this year's Symposium include U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway, who will discuss the 2008 Farm Bill from a policy perspective, and Farm Service Agency Administrator Teresa Lasseter who will address farm bill implementation. Former Congressman and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest will give remarks from the Southwest Council of Agribusinesses.

      Also on the agenda to speak is Texas A&M Professor and Extension Economist Joe Outlaw, who also serves as the co-director of the TAMU Agricultural and Food Policy Center. Outlaw will give an economic update on markets and other elements influencing commodity production.

      "We're proud to offer attendees a great line-up of speakers at this year's Symposium who will lend useful insight into the issues affecting commodity producers' operations," said CPAT Executive Vice-President David Gibson.

      Other confirmed speakers include Don Gohmert, State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and John Fuston, State Executive Director for the Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA), who will be giving important program updates. Chris Albracht, Morning Show Host and Program Director for KGNC Radio, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the event.

      "The Symposium is a great opportunity for producers from different commodities to come together, exchange ideas and learn about the issues that impact their operations," said PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett.

      All producers are encouraged to register early for a chance to win special door prizes. For more information, please contact Lindsay West, Corn Producers Association of Texas communications director, or Shawn Wade, Plains Cotton Growers Inc., communications director.

 

2008 HIGH PLAINS COTTON QUALITY SUMMARY

      The following is a summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2008 production season.

 

Current Week:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

40,647

21+ - 35.0%

31 - 49.5%

3.44

36.35

Lubbock

122,341

21 + - 27.1%

31 – 57.2%

3.72

36.94

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.01

29.43

80.58

50.4%

Lubbock

3.84

29.99

80.76

22.4%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

65,529

21+ - 32.1%

31 – 52.5%

3.40

36.11

Lubbock

155,924

21+ - 23.8%

31 – 57.5%

3.66

36.86

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.06

29.11

80.49

39.5%

Lubbock

3.88

29.87

80.73

21.4%

 

 

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

www.farmpolicyfacts.com