Cotton Industry/Congressional Leaders Dismayed
By Brazil Retaliatory Trade Measures

Friday, March 12, 2010                             By Shawn Wade

      With the announcement by Brazilian officials that they intend to initiate retaliatory trade sanctions on U.S goods and services, and are also contemplating additional actions that could impact U.S intellectual property rights, another milestone has been reached in the Brazil WTO case.

      In a statement issued Monday the U.S. cotton industry, through the National Cotton Council, said, "Given world cotton market conditions and the dramatic changes that have been made in the U.S. cotton program, Brazil's latest actions are imposing unwarranted harm on Brazilian and American interests in times of economic hardship for all."

      The NCC also noted that as a result of this action, both Brazilian and American firms would find themselves economically disadvantaged by the proposed duties.

      Fortunately, the higher import duties announced by Brazil do not take effect for 30 days. The U.S. cotton industry is encouraging the two governments to engage in discussions to avoid the harmful effects of retaliation, but cautions that any future resolution must recognize the realities of today's cotton market and the previous changes in U.S. programs.

      In discussing the issues that have brought things to this juncture, the NCC notes that some real and critical changes have occurred since the original World Trade Organization (WTO) panel made its ruling.

      The NCC explained that U.S. cotton's Step 2 program was quickly eliminated in 2006 and, more recently, the U.S. Congress lowered the upland cotton counter-cyclical target price and made changes in the marketing loan program that effectively lowered average loan benefits to producers in the 2008 farm bill.

      Since the WTO ruling expenditures on U.S. cotton price-related programs are down more than 80 percent from their previous five-year average and are projected to remain minimal for the foreseeable future.

      The NCC further noted that world cotton prices are more than 50 percent higher than 2005, the original ruling's base year, and U.S. harvested acreage and production are down by more than 40 percent, while cotton production in Brazil, China and India has expanded.

      Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett adds that while the WTO case and Brazil's actions are often tied to cotton, it is important to note that when damages were finally awarded the overall amount of relief awarded to Brazil by the WTO related to U.S. cotton programs was relatively small and fixed at $147 million.

      Of much larger import, says Verett, is the retaliatory damages associated with the U.S. export credit guarantee program that support other U.S.-produced commodities. He notes the export program portion of the WTO award is determined annually using a formula developed by the WTO, and is estimated by Brazil at more than $600 million.

      Also expressing their dismay at Brazil's decision were Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who echoed the cotton industry message.

      In a joint statement issued shortly after Brazil's announcement, the Senate leaders said, "It is unfortunate Brazil is moving forward with retaliation without first engaging in meaningful discussions towards resolving the dispute.

      "The U.S. government continues to express its willingness to have a substantive dialogue and negotiators from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture are waiting for Brazil to start the process."

      The Senators concluded saying, "While Brazil has chosen to exercise its rights, its future actions will determine the degree to which the administration and the Congress are willing to move forward together in resolving the dispute and others in the World Trade Organization. This case is an opportunity for Brazil to demonstrate its newly embraced role in the international arena consistent with its emergence as an advanced developing economy. Additionally, Brazil's actions in the case will be a unique and helpful indicator whether it is time to reconsider benefits it receives from U.S. trade preference programs."

 

Updated 2009 Cotton Disease/Nematode Management
and Variety Test Results Posted

Friday, March 12, 2010                             By Shawn Wade

      Dr. Jason E. Woodward, Texas AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist, and Dr. Terry Wheeler, Research Plant Pathologist for Texas AgriLife Research at Lubbock have posted updated 2010 cotton disease management recommendations and 2009 variety performance results on the Lubbock Texas AgriLife Extension Center website.

      Al of the new publications can be accessed from links on the Lubbock Center website at: http://lubbock.tamu.edu

      Documents included in the new postings are: "Diagnosis and Management of Vascular Wilts in Cotton" (PDF); "Integrated Management of Verticillium Wilt in Cotton" (PDF); "2009 Root-knot Nematode Variety Trial Results" (PDF); "2009 Fusarium Wilt Variety Performance Results" (PDF); "Texas High Plains Verticillium Wilt Trail Results, 2009" (PDF); and, "2010 Cotton Bacterial Blight Recommendations" (PDF).

      In addition Texas AgriLife Extension Service Cotton Specialist Dr. Randy Boman and Texas AgriLife Research Cotton Breeder Dr. Jane Dever have completed 2009 project reports detailing the results of the highly popular "Systems Agronomic and Economic Evaluation of Cotton Varieties in the Texas High Plains" and 2009 Cotton Variety Performance Tests.

      All of the reports noted above are published in portable document format (PDF) and can be downloaded from the Lubbock Texas AgriLife Extension website.

 

WTACI Announces Opening of 2010
Scholarship Application Process

Friday, March 12, 2010                             By Shawn Wade

      The West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute, founded in 1953, is a nonprofit organization of dealers, industry representatives, producers, scientists, educators, and agribusiness members who support educational and research programs promoting the safe and efficient use of agricultural chemicals.

      WTACI awards academic scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students from universities in the West Texas area and to those students from the West Texas area attending the college of their choice. Since 2001, the WTACI has awarded $53,000.00 in scholarships.

      Scholarships awarded in 2009 totaled $6,000.00. The 2010 Scholarships will be awarded at the Institute's annual meeting in September 2010 in Lubbock, Texas.

      Selection criteria for WTACI scholarship awards include:

(1) Agriculture-related major; (2) Classification - undergraduate - sophomore (with >30 hours), junior, senior or graduate (with at least one semester in the program); (3) Academic requirement - at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale; (4) Plan to actively pursue a career in an agricultural-related field; (5) Recipient can qualify for scholarship only once per college degree; (6) Recipient must attend annual meeting to personally receive the award; (7) Scholarship funds must be used toward the advancement of the recipient's formal education (*failure to utilize received moneys in this matter may result in forfeiture of this educational scholarship); and, (8) Three letters of reference must accompany the application (areas to include academic performance, character, leadership qualities, etc.).

      The deadline for application is April 22, 2010.

      Recipients will be notified by June 15. The application should be filled out completely and mailed along with official transcripts and letters of recommendation to the Chairman of the West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute Scholarship Committee:

            Gary Henniger

            Chair, Scholarship Committee

            West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute

            Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center

            1102 East FM 1294

            Lubbock, TX 79403-6603

      For more information on West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute at: http://wtaci.tamu.edu/

      The WTACI scholarship announcement and application is available at: http://www.plainscotton.org/rkh/WTACI/WTACI_Scholarship_Announcement_2010.pdf

      To download the letter mailed to universities go to: http://www.plainscotton.org/rkh/WTACI/WTACI_Scholarship_Letter_2010.pdf

 

Cotton Inc To Offer Free Cotton Marketing
Workshop; Reserve Your Spot Today

      Get your calendars out and plan to attend this year's "Cotton Price Risk Management and Pricing Strategies Seminar," sponsored by Cotton Incorporated in cooperation with Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

      The free seminar is designed to help producers develop and sharpen their individual cotton marketing skills and develop market-based strategies for managing price risk for the 2010 cotton marketing season.

      This year's workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Towers, located at 801 Avenue Q in Lubbock. The workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided to all workshop participants.

      Workshop topics include: "Why are options on cotton futures critical to your business?"; "What can options do for you and how?"; and, "Actionable hedging strategies."

      Instructors for this year's seminar will be retired Texas A&M Extension Economist Dr. Carl Anderson, Dr. John Robinson of Texas A&M University, and Mr. Mike Stevens of Swiss Financial.

      For information about the conference contact Kay Wriedt at Cotton Incorporated (919-678-2271) or Shawn Wade at Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (806-792-4904).

      There is no registration fee to attend the seminar, however, registration is required to attend. Lunch will be provided. Participants can register by telephone or email. Telephone registrations should be directed to Kay Wriedt (919-678-2271). Email registrations should be addressed to: kwriedt@cottoninc.com