PCG Analyzing New FSA Pay Limit and AGI Rules;
2005-07 Disaster Sign-up Ends Feb. 27

Friday, January 16, 2009                           By Shawn Wade

      Newly announced rules implementing the 2008 Farm Bill's Pay Limit and Adjusted Gross Income program eligibility provisions have created a wave of concern among producers trying to figure out how the regulations will impact them in 2009.

      The new interim rules were published by the USDA Farm Service Agency in the December 29, 2008 issue of the Federal Register (Vol. 73, No. 249) and provide for a 30-day window during which comments and suggestions for change can be submitted.

      The short comment period has prompted Plains Cotton Growers and other producer groups to work quickly to try to understand the nuances of the new rules and then develop appropriate comments and propose changes.

      First impressions of the practical impact of the rules indicate that some significant issues do exist in regard to provisions dealing with how a producer shifts from a 3-entity structure to one that incorporates a spouse or other family members into the operation.

      PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett notes that the new rules are being quickly analyzed so that industry feedback can be submitted before the end of the 30-day comment period January 28.

      "These are complicated rules dealing with complicated issues," notes Verett. "It is important that producers have the best possible understanding of the impact these rules will have on their operations heading into the 2009 growing season and beyond."

2005-07 Crop Disaster Program Sign-up Ends Feb. 27

      USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Teresa Lasseter announced January 14 that the sign-up period for the 2005-2007 Crop Disaster Program (CDP) will end February 27, 2009. Sign-up for the program began June 23, 2008 to provide benefits to farmers who suffered losses to their 2005-2007 crops from natural disasters and related conditions.

      The ending date of February 27 applies to the receipt of a signed and completed FSA-840 application form along with all supporting documentation and required forms at the applicable county FSA office. Sign-up information and required forms are available at each county FSA office. Late filed applications will not be approved after the February 27 deadline.

      All application determinations will be made by March 27, 2009. For further questions about CDP and the sign-up deadline, producers may contact their county FSA office or visit FSA's website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

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2008 High Plains Production Estimate
Lowered 260,000 Bales To 3.12 Million

Friday, January 16, 2009                           By Shawn Wade

      For several months the Upland cotton production estimate for the High Plains of Texas has been slowly falling as early season surveys have given way to the unwelcome reality that the crop would not achieve its early season potential at harvest.

      The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service's January production estimate revised the production forecast for the Texas High Plains down a significant 260,000 bales to 3.12 million 480-lb. bales. Texas crop reporting districts 1-N and 1-S include the majority of the Texas High Plains counties represented by Plains Cotton Growers.

      Statewide, the 2008 Texas Upland cotton forecast was dropped 500,000 bales from the 5.1 million forecast in December 2008 down to 4.6 million.

      Conversations with gins that are still processing cotton and the USDA AMS Cotton Classing office volume estimates from Lubbock and Lamesa, Texas indicate that the final production figure will be very close to the new USDA forecast.

      The final nail in the 2008-crop's coffin was unfavorable late season weather patterns which failed to provide the warm, dry weather needed in September and October that might have helped the crop reach its full potential. In the end the early- and mid-September rains delayed the crop enough so that the slightly early frost/freeze event that occurred in late October brought an abrupt end to the growing season.

      That combination of events is also seen by many as the main culprit in the significant bark levels evident in the 2008 crop and elevated amounts of low Micronaire cotton.

      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:












21+ - 34.8%





31 - 64%





21 + - 31.5%





31 – 57.5%























Season Totals To Date:












21+ - 52.0%





31 – 42.0%





21+ - 36.8%





31 – 47.6%




















New 2009 Profitability Spreadsheet To Be
A Useful Planning Tool For Producers In 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009                           By Shawn Wade

      A new and highly interactive spreadsheet from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is now available to help growers work through the less than enviable task of putting pencil to paper to figure out their plans for the 2009 growing season.

      The new 2009 Comparative Profitability Spreadsheet was developed as part of a project supported by the Texas Cotton State Support Committee designed to provide tools, data and skills to evaluate the potential profitability of alternative crops.

      The spreadsheet contains a number of improvements to previous versions and also contains budget comparisons for more crops and cropping practices than previous years.

      Another unique feature of the spreadsheets is their ability to provide a forecast of the relative returns to both landowners and tenants based on the details of the share lease agreement they negotiate for 2009.

      The new spreadsheet can be downloaded directly from the South Plains Profit web page (http://southplainsprofit.tamu.edu) or through the link that appears on the Plains Cotton Growers (http://www.plainscotton.org).

January/February Meeting Calendar

    South Plains producers can learn the latest in crop production and management techniques while earning Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units at any of nine Texas AgriLife Extension Service conferences spread across the South Plains in early 2009.

     Conference dates and locations are:

Jan. 19

West Plains Cotton Conference, 8:00 a.m., South Plains College's Sundown Room in Levelland.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Hockley Co. at 806-894-3159 for more details.

Jan. 20

Southern Mesa Ag Conference, 7:30 a.m., Movieland, 604 North Austin Ave., Lamesa.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Dawson Co. at 806-872-3444 to pre-register and for more details.

Jan. 20

Permian Basin Ag Conference, Martin County Community Center, Stanton.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Martin County at 432-686-4700 for more details.

Jan. 21

Caprock Crop Production Conference, 7:00 a.m., Floyd County Friends Unity Center located 6 miles west of Floydada on U.S. Hwy. 70.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Floyd County at 806-983-4912 or Crosby Co. at 806-675-2347 for more details.

Jan. 21

Llano Estacado Cotton Conference, 8:30 a.m., Bailey County Coliseum, 2206 W. American Blvd., Muleshoe.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Bailey County at 806-272- 4584 for more details.

Jan. 26

Sandyland Ag Conference, Gaines County Civic Building in Seminole.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Gaines County at 432-758-4006 for more details.

Jan. 27-28

Southwest Farm & Ranch Classic AgriLife Extension-sponsored educational seminars will be held in conjunction with the Farm Show at Lubbock Mem. Civic Center.

Information: For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Lubbock County at 806-775-1680, or http://swclassic.com

Jan. 28

Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Farm Show Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Banquet Hall, Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.

Information: Farm Show Breakfast tickets are $15 for Chamber members and show exhibitors, $25 for prospective Chamber members. Call 806-761-7000 to register.

Feb. 10

Hale and Swisher County Crops Conference, at the Ollie Liner Center in Plainview.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Hale County at 806-291-5267 or Swisher County at 806-995-3726 for more details.

Feb. 11

South Plains Ag Conference, 8:00 a.m., American Legion Hall on Seagraves Rd in Brownfield, TX.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Terry County at 806-637-4060 for more details. 5 T.D.A., C.E.U.s will be awarded.

April 1

Lower Rolling Plains Ag Conference, Scurry County Coliseum.

Information: Call the AgriLife Extension office in Scurry County at 325-573-5423 for more details.