Vilsack Takes Reigns At USDA; Hints At
Review Of Regulations Implementing 2008 Farm Bill

Friday, January 23, 2009                           By Shawn Wade

      The Senate has confirmed former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for the post of Secretary of Agriculture. The new head of the United States Department of Agriculture appears ready to hit the ground running and is already beginning to communicate where his efforts will be focused over the next few weeks.

      In various press reports following his confirmation Vilsack shared his intentions to review all pending UDSA regulations and to act quickly to respond to comments and recommendations on a slate of new regulations published in the last days of the Bush Administration.

New Payment Limitation/AGI Rules Top List For Review

      At the top of any list for review and action by the new USDA leadership team should be the interim rules pertaining to Payment Limitations and the Adjusted Gross Income provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill. Vilsack's early statements in this regard should be considered good news for production agriculture considering the fact that the abbreviated 30-day comment period provided for the Payment Limit/AGI rule ends January 28.

      Among the more disturbing aspects of the interim rule, which was published with the full intention that it would become effective immediately and without any opportunity for comment or review, is that its publication was delayed until December 29, 2008 and that the regulations seek to make significant changes to current rules that are clearly beyond the scope of Congressional intent in the 2008 Farm Bill.

      Because of the late notice provided to family farmers, many of whom are already well into the implementation of their 2009 farming plan, there is a growing sentiment in farm country that only those parts of the new Payment Limitation and AGI rule specifically required by the 2008 Farm Bill should be implemented for the 2009 growing season.

      In addition to mandated changes, the remainder of the rule makes significant, and potentially troubling, discretionary modifications to rules outside the scope of changes authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill which should be set aside to allow for an extended comment and review period before being implemented.

      Growers interested in providing input on the new rules are encouraged to do so. Plains Cotton Growers, with the assistance of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, has established an easy way to submit a comment on the interim rule and echo the call for USDA to concentrate on implementing only those rules necessary to satisfy the requirements of the 2008 Farm Bill.

      To submit your comment through the internet go to http://capwiz.com/lubbock/issues/alert/?alertid=12495701 and follow the easy on screen directions to personalize your message and submit it to USDA. Don't forget that comments must be submitted before close of business on January 28, 2009 to ensure their consideration.

 

TASS Relies On Accurate Cotton Gin
Data To Determine County Production Levels

Friday, January 23, 2009                           By Shawn Wade

      During the course of the harvest season statisticians with the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service work closely with cotton gins to gather cotton ginning data for every Texas county.

      With ginning activity in many parts of the state already complete, or winding down, TASS is requesting that gins continue to send in their ginning data and help them complete documentation of 2008 production levels.

      TASS officials say they appreciate their ability to rely on cotton gins in the state to actively participate in this important survey program.

      TASS depends greatly on the cooperation of Texas cotton gins to gather and report the most accurate information possible. All data collected by TASS is kept strictly confidential and reports are aggregated to avoid disclosure of individual data.

      When submitting final 2008 ginning data, gins are encouraged to be as accurate as possible and specify both the number of bales ginned as well as the county and/or state in which the bales were originally produced.

      This data is included in the Agency's Final Cotton Ginnings Report each crop year and is also used to verify county level production estimates each year.

 

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

3,225

21+ - 3.3%

31 – 93.9%

3.12

37.13

Lubbock

68,954

21 + - 29.2%

31 – 59.8%

3.10

36.90

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.02

30.14

81.35

32.1%

Lubbock

3.66

29.51

80.43

79.7%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

513,382

21+ - 51.7%

31 – 42.3%

3.06

36.42

Lubbock

2,315,117

21+ - 36.5%

31 – 47.9%

3.23

36.91

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

3.73

29.54

80.57

46.9%

Lubbock

3.61

29.77

80.52

63.9%

 

 

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

www.farmpolicyfacts.com

 

 


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. 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.