High Plains Crop Progressing Well; Favorable
Weather Pattern Limits Damaged Acres

Friday, June 18, 2010                                By Shawn Wade

      With the vast majority of an estimated 3.6-3.7 million acres of cotton planted on the High Plains looking good cotton producers across the area are working hard to keep themselves and their crop in position to make the most of a good weather and soil moisture situation.

      As is always the case on the High Plains several spots in the United States' largest cotton producing area have experienced weather challenges that continue to threaten to set some of the crop back. Fortunately weather patterns so far have delivered more benefits than harm and allowed the vast majority of the crop to take advantage of near ideal growing conditions.

      According to Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers (PCG), the crop is making the great strides with the assistance of rapidly accruing heat units and still abundant soil moisture.

      PCG notes that even though some of the younger cotton is still in the process of developing a healthy root system the crop, young and old, is doing well.

      At this stage of the season it is generally younger non-irrigated cotton that is most at risk of being challenged by high temperatures and moisture-robbing winds. That combination has been in place since last week when temperatures hit season-to-date highs over 100 degrees. Temperatures have since settled back to a pattern of daily temperatures in the mid- to upper 90's with warm nights.

      With a big portion of the dryland crop doing well thanks to some recent rainfall and continued good subsoil moisture situation, most producers remain optimistic about the crop's progress.

      Optimism is also high for irrigated cotton as producers cope with current high temperatures and drying winds by giving the crop the attention it needs as well as producers apply water as needed to ensure the crop incurs minimal stress.

      As noted above, no High Plains planting season would be complete without some adverse weather and there continue to be a few areas where the crop has been set back. Fortunately none of these events have managed to deliver a decisive, knockout blow to a significant number of acres. Unfortunately, affected growers must now work to get a fair assessment of the crop's situation so that a decision can be made on how to proceed.

      With the calendar reading June 18 most of the High Plains is either well past or approaching the outside edge of the replanting window for damaged cotton fields. Reports indicate that some fields have been replanted because of damage by hail or wind and blowing sand. The outcome for more recently affected acres that are still being evaluated is uncertain.


The Hand That Feeds U.S.



USDA Publishes Final CSP Regulations &
Extends CSP Sign-up Until June 25

Friday, June 18, 2010                               

      The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has published the final regulations governing the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP is a voluntary program that offers payments to producers who exercise good land stewardship and want to improve their conservation performance.

      NRCS has also extended the enrollment period for an additional two weeks, now closing June 25, 2010.

      CSP is available to all producers regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. Under the final rule, the program retains the broad features outlined in the interim final rule, including:

     - CSP pays participants for conservation performance – the higher the performance, the higher the payment.

      - Producers get credit both for conservation measures they have already implemented and for new measures they agree to add.

      - CSP is offered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean area through continuous sign-up, with announced cut-off dates for ranking and funding applications.

      The program's new features include the following:

      ● Higher payment rate for additional conservation performance. USDA is implementing a split payment structure, with one payment rate for existing conservation activities and a higher payment rate for new activities.

      ● Higher payment limit. The total contract limitation for joint operations is increased from $200,000 to $400,000, with annual payment limits increased from $40,000 to $80,000 to fairly compensate joint operations that produce environmental benefit levels needed to earn the payments.

      ● New minimum payment. To directly encourage participation by small-scale, historically underserved producers, the rule establishes a minimum payment of $1,000.

      ● Pastured cropland. "Pastured cropland" is added as a new designation with a higher payment than "pastureland" because of the greater income foregone by producers who maintain a grass-based livestock production system on land suitable for cropping.

      ● Enhancements. Some conservation enhancements work better when implemented as a system and under the new rule are offered as enhancement "bundles." Participants who implement such comprehensive bundles get higher rankings and higher payments.

      ● Resource-conserving crop rotation. In response to extensive public comment, the definition of "resource-conserving crop rotation" is revised to require the use of grass and/or legumes.

      Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP self-screening checklist to determine whether CSP is suitable for their operation and apply prior to the closing date of June 25, 2010, when applications will be scored, ranked, and funded.

      The checklist, which highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations, and payments, and additional information about CSP, may be obtained from the CSP Website (www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html).

      USDA published the CSP interim final rule on July 29, 2009. NRCS received 1,534 comments and reviewed and considered each one. Responses to the comments are incorporated in the final rule, which can be viewed at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-12699.pdf



Cotton USA Advantage

CCI-FAX – June 18, 2010

Largest COTTON USA Buyers Tour Successfully Concludes in China

     A record number of participating buyers and suppliers attended the COTTON USA Buyers Tour to China, showing continued high levels of interest in CCI's Supply Chain Marketing events. More than 40 participants from 25 global buyers and retailers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, joined the event, making it the largest tour of its kind CCI has organized.

      The Buyers Tour incorporated a two-day trade fair in Shanghai, as well as factory tours of fabric and garment manufacturing facilities in Hangzhou and Guangzhou. Cotton Incorporated also supported the event by recruiting participants and presenting their recent product developments. The event provided opportunities for overseas buyers to meet leading suppliers of denim and woven bottom weight fabrics and garments from across Asia.

      Participating retailers included: Decathlon/Oxylane Group and Quiksilver from France; Anvil, Bueltel, Camel Active, Gardeur, Gerry Weber, KL Ruppert, the Peine Group and S. Oliver from Germany; Benetton, Max Mara and Romano Group from Italy; AEON, Hanesbrands, Itochu and Nissen from Japan; Central Marketing Group, Arrow and Maximus from Thailand; Debenhams and Marks & Spencer from the UK; and Charming Shoppes, Newtimes Developments, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Bahama from the U.S.

      To provide sourcing options for the brands and retailers, 33 COTTON USA licensed suppliers from China and North and Southeast Asia traveled to CCI's private trade fair in Shanghai where they promoted their U.S. cotton-rich fabrics and garments to the assembled buyers. Black Peony, Chang Shan, Jimay Saintyear, Luckytex, Lanyan, Kurabo, Kaihara, Nien Hsing, Tai Yuen, Absolute Denim, Tyfountex and Phong Phu were among the participants selling their U.S. cotton-rich products.

      Suppliers at the trade fair indicated that the COTTON USA Buyers Tour provided a platform for them to meet new buyers and helped to enhance their business relationships with existing customers. Nearly all participants expressed their confidence that contacts made during the trip would lead to developing business ties and consequently increase sales of U.S. cotton. CCI's Supply Chain Marketing program continues to gain popularity among both suppliers and buyers in China and globally.

      The U.S. Consulate's Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Guangzhou provided a highlight to the tour by hosting the "South China Great American BBQ", attracting more than 300 guests to celebrate the ATO's 25th anniversary in that city. A feature of the ATO's event was a fashion show jointly staged by CCI and Vigoss, a COTTON USA licensed denim manufacturer and brand, to celebrate their partnership. The Acting Agricultural Minister Counselor and Guangzhou U.S. Consul General participated in the event, showing their support for the U.S. agricultural industry.