Southwest Council of Agribusiness

2nd Annual Meeting

Monday, July 20, 2009

8:15 a.m., Registration - 9:00 a.m., Program


Banquet Hall



Tuesday, July 17, 2009                                  

      The dog days of Summer have arrived right on schedule. Their arrival has been generally welcomed by producers who have seen cotton crops respond favorably to the warm, sunny days that have resulted in over a week of temperatures at or near 100 degrees with correspondingly warm nights.

      Even though the high pressure system that brought these conditions also limited rainfall opportunities, it seems that most High Plains cotton acres have benefitted from the recent weather even though many dryland acres are getting to the point of needing a rain to sustain and extend their progress.

      With long-term forecasts for the next 7-10 days indicating moderating daytime temperatures and increased chances for the development of mostly afternoon and evening rainfall events, it appears that some parts of the area could get the timely rain they need to keep the crop going.

      According Dr. Randy Boman, Texas AgriLife Extension Cotton Agronomist in Lubbock, the Texas High Plains has benefitted greatly from the increased temperatures of the past few weeks. He reports that during the first half of July the High Plains accumulated 356 heat units, 27 percent above the long-term average heat unit total of 280 for the same period.

      Using weather data collected at Lubbock from May 1 through July 16 shows a total of 1,267.5 heat units accumulated. That total is 121.9 heat units over the 1,145.6 long-term average heat unit accumulation total for the same period at Lubbock.

      The recent uptick in temperature has also increased interest in the region's heat unit accumulation totals. Growers interested in tracking heat unit totals from a specific planting date are encouraged to go to the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. website ( ) where they will find links to two web-based heat unit calculators. These links can also be found on PCG's weather pages located at:

      Overall the High Plains has seen significantly lower levels of acreage abandonment in 2009 than growers experienced in 2008. In fact, current estimates of acres lost indicate the area has only lost between 500,000-600,000 acres. Timely rains over the next 3-4 weeks would go a long way toward preventing this number from growing significantly.

      Assuming the abandonment figure doesn't climb appreciably from now to harvest, it appears the region's total acreage loss could end up very near the long-term average abandonment rate of 18 percent.

      Being so near the long-term abandonment rate in mid-July is great news for producers and greatly improves odds that the area will harvest significantly more acres in 2009 than last year.

      With current forecasts for continued favorable weather and an increased opportunity for timely rains, 2009 High Plains cotton production has a good chance to reach the 3.5-4 million bale level.


Friday, July 15, 2009                                

      Jonathan Coppess, recently announced administrator of USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), today reminded farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that they have until Aug. 3, 2009, to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees.

      "I encourage all producers to get involved by nominating candidates to serve on county committees," Coppess said. "FSA county committees are essential to the delivery of federal programs. We are getting close to the deadline and we need more participation. I also urge producers to help us build a strong future for our next generation of agricultural businesses and communities by nominating beginning farmers and ranchers, minorities and women."

      FSA county committees help local farmers through their decisions on commodity price support loans, conservation programs and disaster programs, and by working closely with county executive directors.

      To be eligible to hold office as a county committee member, people must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and live in the local administrative area where they are running. Eligibility requirements, more information and nomination forms are available at:

      People can nominate themselves or others. FSA encourages beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as minorities and women, to nominate themselves.

      All nominees must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. All nomination forms for the 2009 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on August 3, 2009.

      After that, ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by November 6. Ballots will be due back to local USDA Service Centers on December 7. The newly elected county committee members will take office January1, 2010.

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