Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. Announces
52nd Annual Meeting Speaker Line-up

Friday, February 13, 2009                          By Shawn Wade

      Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. is pleased to announce it will conduct the organization's 52nd Annual Meeting on Friday, April 3, 2009. PCG's meeting will be held in the Banquet Hall of the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center in conjunction with the Texas Cotton Ginners Association Convention and Trade Show April 2-3, 2009 in Lubbock.

      PCG's Annual Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration, and the program will start promptly at 9 a.m.

      Highlights of the PCG meeting include an overview of the current political climate and the potential impact it will have on agriculture and trade policy and implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill; a review of the industry's international marketing efforts conducted through Cotton Council International (CCI); and conclude with an entertaining look at what the future holds for agriculture from this year's keynote Dr. Lowell Catlett, an internationally known futurist whose presentations are highlighted by his up-beat delivery and thought-provoking views on trends impacting agriculture, the environment, education and more.

      Current PCG president Barry Evans, of Kress, Texas, will preside over the meeting and PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett will report on the status of PCG operations and activities. Additional information about the PCG Annual Meeting and a final program will be available to attendees prior to the meeting.

Keynote Address

      Dr. Lowell Catlett is Dean and Chief Administrative Officer for the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University. He is an internationally recognized futurist who shares his views on technology and the impact of technology on our day-to-day lives with people around the world.

      Dr. Catlett's appearance is sponsored by Monsanto and Delta and Pine Land Company.

      A Texas native, Dr. Catlett received his doctorate in Economics from Iowa State University and is a consultant to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, Defense and Labor. He has also been a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies.

      Joining Dr. Catlett on the program will be John Maguire, senior vice president, Washington Operations for the National Cotton Council of America, and Alan Terhaar, executive director of Cotton Council International.

      In his role as chief lobbyist for the U.S. cotton industry in Washington, DC, Maguire has over twenty years of experience navigating the political landscape of Washington on behalf of the U.S. cotton industry. Maguire has been asked to discuss the current political climate in Washington relative to agriculture and trade and to update the PCG membership on the status of 2008 Farm Bill implementation efforts.

      Terhaar, will discuss the U.S cotton industry's international marketing efforts conducted through Cotton Council International. CCI is the export promotion arm of the National Cotton Council of America. With operations in more than fifty countries, CCI is dedicated to increasing exports of U.S. cotton and cotton products.

      CCI is funded by private contributions from the U.S. cotton industry and also receives funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for export market development. CCI sponsors a wide range of trade services geared to enhancing cotton textile executives' knowledge of U.S. cotton, cotton products and the U.S. industry. CCI also carries out consumer advertising and retail promotions featuring the COTTON USA Mark, and works with spinners, manufacturers and brands to promote quality cotton products at retail.


PCG's 2009 Seed Cost Calculator

      An updated version of the Plains Cotton Growers Seed Cost Calculator for 2009 is now available. Growers interested in comparing prices for their 2009 planting seed options can download the calculator at

      The 2009 version includes 112 conventional, Roundup Ready, Roundup Ready FLEX, Liberty Link, Bollgard and Bollgard II and Widestrike varieties, as well as numerous stacked gene versions of these technologies that will be available for sale in West Texas in 2009. Should information on additional varieties become available, an update to the spreadsheet will be developed and posted on PCG's website.

      The PCG calculator is an interactive Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allows producers to calculate an estimated cost per acre, for both seed and technology, based on published suggested retail prices.


NCC's Early Season Planting Intentions
Survey Says 7.97 Million Upland Cotton Acres

Friday, February 13, 2009                          By Shawn Wade

      One of the most anticipated announcements from opening day of the National Cotton Council's 2009 Annual Meeting were results from the NCC's 2009 Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.

      Cotton industry representatives were anticipating another drop in overall U.S. cotton plantings, but the NCC survey's projection for an additional 14 percent decline in U.S. cotton acres from 2008 was still a surprise considering the changes that have occurred in the relationship between prices for cotton and other crops over the past few weeks.

      An important item to note about the NCC survey is that it is a snapshot of what growers were thinking a month or more ago. The NCC survey was mailed in mid-December, 2008 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt.

      Survey responses were collected through mid-January, with a majority returned between December 20 and January 2 according to NCC Senior Economist Dale Cougot.

      A lot has changed over the past five weeks and Cougot notes that if the NCC survey were redone today it would likely result in a somewhat different cotton acreage forecast.

      Results of the annual NCC survey were announced during the American Cotton Producers meeting after the markets closed Friday afternoon.

      Nationally, the NCC survey projected total U.S. cotton acreage at 8.11 million acres. Upland cotton accounts for 7.97 million acres of the total with an additional 142,000 acres of Extra long staple (ELS) cotton bringing the total to 8.11 million acres.

      According to the NCC survey 4.5 million acres of Texas cotton will account for more than 55 percent of all U.S. cotton plantings in 2009. Texas producers planted 5.0 million acres in 2008 and, contrary to the survey's findings, could match or exceed that number again in 2009 based on current conditions.

      Based on the NCC survey, the Southeast, Mid-South, Southwest and Far West show intended upland cotton planting decreases of -17.8 percent, -23.4 percent, -8.8 percent and -31 percent, respectively in 2009.

      Growers in the Southwest region continue to show a strong preference for cotton heading into 2009. Texas cotton acres are projected to decrease 9.2 percent, while Oklahoma and Kansas cotton acreage was projected to decrease by 1.7 percent and increase 7.2 percent, respectively.

      Survey results for all Southeastern states indicate another decline in cotton acreage.

      Alabama and Virginia reported the largest declines in the region at 33.3 percent and 22.8 percent, respectively. Respondents from Georgia reported a 16.8 percent reduction in cotton acreage, while growers in North and South Carolina anticipated 11.9 percent and 18.4 percent fewer acres, respectively. Florida growers were the Southeast's only bright spot indicating a modest 2.5 percent increase in acres.

      All Mid-South states indicate another shift from cotton to other crops with major percentage decreases in Mississippi (-26.5), Arkansas (-28.8), Louisiana (-26) and Missouri (-23.6). The smallest decline was forecast in Tennessee (-4.4).

      For additional details, see the table at


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Update To SURE Program Benefit Estimator
Reflects Latest USDA Forecast of MYA Prices

Friday, February 13, 2009                    By Shawn Wade

      An updated Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program benefit estimator spreadsheet has been made available on the Plains Cotton Growers and South Plains Profitability Project web pages. Anyone who has previously downloaded the SURE estimator will want to take the time to get the new SURE Benefit Estimator Ver. 1.2.

      The new version has been updated with the latest Market Year Average Price projections released by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of the February 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.

      Since its passage, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program has been a huge question mark for producers. Following the disastrous weather conditions that resulted in significant 2008-crop production losses, interest in the program has grown as producers and agricultural lenders wait for development and publication of the new program's rules and regulations.

      To assist growers wanting to learn about the program, the Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service has developed a SURE program benefit estimator with assistance from Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. that should help answer many questions.

      The SURE benefit estimator is a Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheet and is currently available for download from the Plains Cotton Growers website, located at, and from the South Plains Profitability Project website located at: A copy of Microsoft Excel is required to view and use the estimator.

      This SURE benefit estimator is provided specifically to help producers calculate possible SURE payments. It cannot calculate an exact SURE payment due to the many assumptions about unknown program rules and final market year average prices. It is also not intended for use as a decision aid to help producers decide whether or not to incur the cost of maintaining future SURE program eligibility.

      The SURE benefit estimator utilizes Direct and Counter-cyclical Program data and Federal Crop Insurance information for an eligible producer or entity to estimate the possible benefit that might be available through the SURE program.

      Instructions for using the estimator and explanations of the various program parameters are included as well.

      Final rules governing the program are still in the process of being written by USDA. Since there are still several key decisions to be made, the SURE benefit estimator includes a number of basic assumptions about how different program elements were intended to work.

      Keep in mind that future updates will be required. The SURE benefit estimator is designed to accommodate these final rules as they are implemented and users are encouraged to check the PCG and South Plains Profitability Project websites for updates.