PCIP Approves 2010 Projects; Continuing
Producer Support Through Focused Research

Friday, March 19, 2010                             By Shawn Wade

      Representatives of the Plains Cotton Improvement Committee met March 12 to hear progress reports on 2009 Plains Cotton Improvement Program projects and to consider 2010 crop year project requests.

      The Plains Cotton Improvement Program is a one of a kind program overseen by Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. and funded through the voluntary contributions of cotton producers across the Texas High Plains.

      The program, which originated in the early 1980's, supports cotton breeding and agronomic research activities. It is focused on providing variety performance information, facilitating the development of new cotton varieties for the High Plains region, and, developing improved crop management and pest control strategies for cotton producers.

      Agronomic issues are being addressed by the PCIP through cotton breeding, large-plot variety trials comparing cotton varieties and technologies, improving disease resistance, insect management and textile processing performance.

      "The work done by researchers supported by the PCIP is critically important to the cotton producers of the High Plains," says PCIC Chairman Dale Swinburn of Tulia.

      "Whether it is working to develop meaningful agronomic and economic measures of performance between cotton varieties currently available, striving to instill better performance characteristics and disease resistance into the cotton varieties of the future, or addressing the development of improved crop management strategies, the PCIP is a producer directed research investment that is unparalleled anywhere in the world," concludes Swinburn.

      Overall the PCIP approved funding totaling $360,515 to support five research projects in 2010. Projects funded include: "Germplasm Screening Project & Development of Improved Cotton Germplasm for the High Plains Production Area of Texas" by Texas AgriLife Research Cotton Breeder Dr. Jane Dever; "Systems Agronomic and Economic Evaluation of Transgenic and Conventional Varieties" by Texas AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist Dr. Randy Boman; "A Field Screening Program for Resistance to Bacterial Blight" by Texas AgriLife Research Plant Pathologist Dr. Terry Wheeler; "Textile Performance Evaluation of Selected High Plains Cotton Varieties" directed by Dr. Eric Hequet at the Texas Tech University Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute; and "Ecological Approaches to Cotton Insect Management in the Texas High Plains" by Texas AgriLife Research cotton entomologist Dr. Megha Parajulee.




Mark your calendar:

Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

52nd Annual Meeting

Friday, April 9, 2010

8:30 am – Registration

9:00 am – Program

Lubbock Memorial Civic Center – Banquet Hall




Agricultural Organizations Support Resolutions
Opposing EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations

from the National Cotton Council

      The National Cotton Council coordinated a letter, signed by 175 agricultural organizations, to Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) and Ike Skelton (D-MO) acknowledging support of the legislators' actions against a greenhouse gas regulation plan.

      The two legislators have introduced resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act regarding the EPA's decision to move forward on regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

      "Such regulatory actions will carry severe consequences for the U.S. economy, including America's farmers and ranchers, through increased input costs and international market disparities," the groups said in their letter.

      It also noted that both the current and past Administrations have acknowledged that the CAA is not the appropriate vehicle for establishing greenhouse gas policy. However, the EPA finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare will trigger CAA regulatory actions such as application of National Ambient Air Quality Standards, New Source Performance Standards, and provisions of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V programs, essentially establishing greenhouse gas policy through the CAA by default.

      "The compliance costs for these CAA programs would be overwhelming as millions of entities, including farms and ranches, would be subject to burdensome CAA regulations," the organizations emphasized. "While EPA has attempted to craft a 'tailoring rule' to ease such a burden, our experience in these matters is that attempts to administratively relax environmental requirements are routinely challenged in court."

      The letter also urged House approval of the legislators' resolution as introduced.

      Their resolution follows a similar resolution introduced in January by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). In a NCC-coordinated letter to Sen. Murkowski, 137 other commodity and agricultural organizations declared their support for her effort. The breadth of support from agriculture encouraged several Democratic senators to cosponsor the resolution.

      Like the Murkowski resolution, Barton and Skelton's resolutions also point out that the EPA rule itself claims to establish only a weak, indirect link between greenhouse gases and public health and welfare, going so far as to admit that there are uncertainties over the net, direct health impacts of the greenhouse gases it is attempting to regulate. The resolutions note that EPA Administrator Jackson recently acknowledged that unilateral actions by the United States would have no material impact on global warming. China and India, two of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, continue to reject any verifiable reduction measures. Without an effective international agreement on emission reductions, unilateral action by the United States only serves to further damage our economy and encourage businesses to relocate. EPA's finding puts the agricultural economy at grave risk based on allegations of a weak, indirect link to public health and welfare and despite the lack of any environmental benefit.

      If the resolution were to make it through Congress, President Obama would still have the authority to veto it.



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FINAL: 2009 High Plains Cotton Quality Data

      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.

      Total bales classed by the two USDA Cotton Classing facilities located on the Texas High Plains for the 2009 growing season was 3,455,387 running bales. Quality-wise the crop included a broad range of quality, with a majority maintaining excellent fiber quality parameters.

      Bark contamination resulting from weather conditions heading into harvest proved to be the 2009 crop's major nemesis with approximately 32 percent, or 1.1 million bales, impacted.

      A rough estimation of total 2009 High Plans cotton production adjusted to 480-pound statistical bale equivalents calculated using these figures indicates a total crop of 3.56 million bales. That figure is approximately 220,000 bales less than the most recent USDA Cotton Production estimate released in January of this year.



Season Totals To Date:









21+ - 72.2%

31 - 24.6%





21+ - 50.0%

31 - 41.7%


















Source: USDA AMS


EQIP Program Addressing Texas
Environmental Resource Priorities

Friday, March 19, 2010                             By Shawn Wade

      Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) applications year-round through a continuous sign-up process.

      Currently, Local Work Group meetings are being held in all counties to set local funding priorities for EQIP. Farmers and ranchers eligible for the financial assistance program will have the opportunity to incorporate conservation practices that address resource concerns on their land.

      "In 2009, NRCS partnered with farmers and ranchers to achieve an exceptional year for Conservation in Texas," said Jon Weddle, program manager for NRCS in Lubbock. "NRCS provided over 64 million dollars for conservation through EQIP."

      The EQIP program, authorized in The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) provides voluntary conservation programs for private landowners that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals, optimize environmental benefits, and helps to meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.

      Landowners who face serious threats to soil, water and related natural resources will have the opportunity to participate in the EQIP program to receive educational, financial and technical assistance to install or implement structural, vegetative and management practices to address natural resource concerns.

      Weddle encourages producers to contact their local NRCS office in their county to develop a conservation plan as a first step in the application process.

      "Landowners interested in EQIP funding should inquire now to secure eligibility for technical and financial assistance," Weddle said.

      Under the new farm bill, producers will have options for incentive payments to address comprehensive resource concerns such as:

Residue Management

Nutrient Management

Integrated Pest Management

Prescribed Grazing for Expired CRP

      The types of priority practices that will be eligible for funding on the High Plains and South Plains regions under NRCS EQIP:


Water Quantity and Quality

Invasive Species for Brush Management

Wildlife Habitat

Soil Erosion Control (wind and water)

      For more information about the Texas NRCS EQIP program, call the USDA-NRCS office in your county, listed under USDA in the Yellow Pages, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.