TEXAS AGRILIFE EXTENSION UPDATES SURE
PROGRAM BENEFIT ESTIMATOR TO VERSION 2.1

Friday, December 4, 2009                   By Shawn Wade

      USDA still hasn't received the final go-ahead to start producer sign up for the 2008 Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program, but that doesn't mean growers who think they may qualify, or lenders needing a quick estimate of SURE benefits, can't get a head start on the process.

      Running on a parallel track to the substantial behind the scenes work being done by the USDA Farm Service Agency to prepare for the start of the SURE sign up period have been efforts to improve the accuracy of the Texas AgriLIFE Extension SURE Benefit Estimator.

      More than a year in the making, the newest revision (designated version 2.1) includes updated Texas market year average prices and updated crop insurance price information that will improve the accuracy of the estimates derived for Texas farmers.

      The Texas AgriLIFE Extension SURE Benefit Estimator was last updated on November 24 and anyone using a previous version of this tool is encouraged to download the new file as soon as possible.

      Key changes made in version 2.1 include the addition of state level market year average crop prices and a retooling of formulas that should allow the spreadsheet to more accurately calculate gross crop insurance indemnities, especially those that may have resulted from CRC plans of insurance in 2008.

      The Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service developed the original SURE Benefit Estimator with assistance from Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. more than a year ago to help answer producer questions about the program.

      Like the original, version 2.1 of the SURE Benefit Estimator is a Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheet. The file is currently available for download from the Plains Cotton Growers website, located at http://www.plainscotton.org, and from the South Plains Profitability Project website located at: http://southplainsprofit.tamu.edu. A copy of Microsoft Excel is required to view and use the estimator.

      The SURE benefit estimator is provided specifically to help producers calculate possible SURE payments. It does not calculate an exact actual payment due to the lack of a final set of program rules. It is also not designed to be a decision aid capable of helping producers decide whether or not to incur the cost of maintaining future SURE program eligibility.

      It is important to note that final regulations governing the SURE program have not been released by FSA and any benefit calculated by the new version of the Texas AgriLIFE Extension SURE Benefit Estimator could still vary somewhat from the calculation a producer obtains from FSA for a variety of reasons.

      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 benefits that might be available through the SURE program.

      Complete instructions for using the estimator and explanations of the various program parameters used to calculate the estimated SURE payment are included as well.

      Since final rules governing the program are still a work in process at USDA it is possible that additional updates could be required to improve the overall accuracy of the SURE benefit estimator. Users are encouraged to check the PCG and South Plains Profit Project websites regularly for updates.

 

EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE EXTENDED THROUGH
12/23 FOR 2010 BELTWIDE COTTON CONFERENCES

Friday, December 4, 2009                  

      The National Cotton Council (NCC) has announced that early registration for the 2010 Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC) has been extended until December 23.

      "Because of poor weather conditions which have drawn out harvest and ginning, the Council felt that extending this deadline would allow our members additional time to consider attending this important conference," NCC President/CEO Mark Lange stated.

      NCC and Cotton Foundation members along with researchers, consultants, Extension personnel and association representatives can register for $125 through December 23. After that date, the registration cost is $150 for those groups.

      For those who have not made arrangements and are planning to attend, registration and housing reservations can be done easily online by visiting the BWCC website, http://www.cotton.org/beltwide, and clicking on the respective registration and housing links. Room reservations must be made by December 15th to ensure the conference rate. Room reservations can be made online or by calling the headquarters hotels -- the New Orleans Marriott (504-581-1000) and Sheraton New Orleans (504-525-2500).

      The final 2010 Beltwide Cotton Conference programming also is available at http://www.cotton.org/beltwide.

      Presentations scheduled for the forum are: The value of transgenics; Emerging insect issues; Current/future precision agriculture opportunities; Today's cropping decisions; Rotation options/benefits; Proven production practices; A review of the 2009 growing season; Opportunities in conservation programs; Marketing challenges; An economic outlook; NCC update on industry issues; Key research efforts from The Cotton Foundation and Cotton Incorporated; Site-specific management of nematodes; Techniques for cotton pest management; Variable rate nitrogen applications using on-the-go optical sensors; Effective and efficient irrigation for cotton production; and, New Developments From Industry.

      In addition, the third annual Cotton Consultants' Conference will include educational presentations by Extension and University experts on: Spring burndown herbicides and their impact on diseases, insects and weeds; Cotton diseases and insect pests, including new products available to combat them; The value of transgenics and the impact on consultants; J.R. Bradley's discussion of consultants' role in helping farmers deal with the challenges and issues that production agriculture faces now and in the future.

      "The Beltwide Cotton Conferences" programming is designed to update U.S. cotton producers on new technology, innovative and effective production practices, and key industry issues," said NCC Chairman Jay Hardwick, a Newellton, LA, producer. "Cotton producers, ginners and all industry members are encouraged to attend this world class forum."

 

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


http://www.farmpolicyfacts.com

 

LEADING EUROPEAN BRANDS, RETAILERS RECEIVE
SUSTAINABILITY MESSAGE DURING CCI FORUM

Friday, December 4, 2009                   By Shawn Wade

      "Sustainability – A Driver for Business Growth" was the theme of a recent Cotton Council International (CCI) seminar in Budapest, Hungary designed to respond to key retail industry and consumer concerns about cotton's role in providing sustainable home textiles and apparel.

      Fifteen European brands and retailers were represented at the conference, including high profile names such as Benetton, Gap Europe, Hugo Boss, Tom Tailor, John Lewis and Tesco. Regional mills and manufacturers also attended, keen to learn how they could utilize sustainability to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

     The conference opened a dialogue between the brands and retailers and their supply chains, which is a step to broader integration of sustainability as a business strategy. There was a general consensus that more education is necessary on the topic and that more effective communication is needed between brands/retailers and their suppliers.

     In a post-event survey, 100 percent of respondents indicated that the topics covered were relevant and timely to the textile/apparel industry, with 90 percent of respondents indicating they acquired substantive new information. All respondents recommended further conferences of this type to facilitate cotton textile supply chain business.

      Conference sessions offered international experts an opportunity to share ideas about sustainable fiber production, product development, tracking and marketing and discuss the practical challenges encountered in adopting the concept of sustainability as a business strategy. The program also allowed industry leaders at each stage of the supply chain to share solutions they have adopted to overcome these challenges.

     Cotton Incorporated showcased novel technologies, which strive to make cotton the right choice for a sustainable world. Cotton — a natural, renewable and biodegradable resource — is the largest natural fiber in the global fiber, textile and apparel economy, now representing roughly 80 percent of all natural fibers consumed. The natural fibers complex generates hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue annually in the global economy, and results in hundreds of millions of jobs.

      "Sustainability is not a static concept – it is not a concept which implies one single definition, or where there is only one approach or a single solution," said Allen A. Terhaar, CCI's executive director.

      "The very definition of 'sustainability' – development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – is still evolving, and there are multiple approaches to getting the job done," concluded Terhaar. "The important thing for our world, and for the world that we will leave to our children, is that we are doing our best to implement best practices of sustainability in our daily lives and our businesses."

2009 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 2009 production season.

 

Current Week:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

104,069

21+ - 78.9%

31 – 19.5%

2.62

35.47

Lubbock

308,699

21+ - 45.5%

31 - 45.2%

3.30

35.94

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

3.93

29.22

80.02

15.3%

Lubbock

3.49

29.31

79.91

41.0%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

635,407

21+ - 73.9%

31 – 23.7%

2.72

35.69

Lubbock

1,669,187

21+ - 53.8%

31 – 39.5%

3.20

36.00

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.08

29.77

80.43

19.0%

Lubbock

3.71

29.89

80.28

27.3%

Source: USDA AMS