Friday, July 16, 2010                                   By Shawn Wade

      Producer members of the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. Board of Directors seemed to have been sharing the same set of notes when giving their local crop reports at the organization's quarterly Board of Directors meeting in Lubbock July 14.

      Overall the descriptions provided by those members of the PCG Board in attendance were remarkably similar. The reports highlighted relatively few acreage losses to date, adequate to plentiful moisture conditions following the region's early July deluge, and crops with mostly good to great yield prospects from the northern Panhandle all the way down to the southern reaches of PCG's territory in the Permian Basin.

      In fact, about the only real difference between any of the reports provided by these growers and what has already been reported about the 2010 High Plains cotton crop was a clear understanding that, regardless of how good things look today, there is still a long and treacherous road to travel before harvest.

      In addition to getting a handle on the status of the crop, the PCG Board of Directors also received a Washington legislative and trade update from National Cotton Council CEO and President Dr. Mark Lange of Memphis, TN; received a market update from Lubbock Cotton Exchange President Alan Vinson of Ecom USA; and were updated on the latest developments pertaining to regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act by Lubbock attorney Zach Brady.

      Another important agenda item for the PCG Board at the July meeting was consideration and approval of a FY2010-2011 Operating Budget for the organization totaling $861,158.35.

      PCG's FY2010-2011 operating budget includes continued support for the organization's ongoing legislative, regulatory and cotton research programs, as well as renewed support for the Southwest Council of Agribusiness.

      The PCG Board of Directors also ratified adjustments to the organization's previous year (FY2009-2010) budget as recommended by the PCG Finance Committee and approved by the PCG Executive Committee. The FY2009-2010 adjustments continue the organization's support of Cotton Council International for the coming year.

      PCG support of CCI is provided through a $100,000 grant, which will be pooled with the money from other CCI supporters to support the organization's export promotion efforts. These combined industry funds are then leveraged through matching funds provided by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and through non-cash contributions from other sources.

      PCG's support of CCI continues the 41-county organization's long-standing efforts to promote the use of High Plains cotton internationally.

      Direct U.S. cotton industry financial support, such as that provided by PCG, is just one part of the CCI funding mechanism.

      A majority of CCI's funding is provided through non-cash and public funds contributions. A significant portion of the annual CCI budget is provided through the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).

      The MAP provides matching grants for export market building activities benefiting U.S. agricultural products. CCI's Cotton USA program relies on a mixture of industry generated funds and MAP funds authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

      PCG joins the National Cotton Council, Amcot, American Cotton Shippers Association, the Cotton Foundation, Cotton Incorporated, Supima Association of America, ICE Futures U.S., National Cottonseed Products Association, Southern Cotton Growers, and the SJV Quality Cotton Growers Association as CCI supporters.

      To learn more about the activities of Cotton Council International and the Cotton USA program go to their website at http://www.cottonusa.org



Friday, July 16, 2010                                   By Shawn Wade

      The success of the High Plains cotton industry, like any group effort, is directly tied to the willingness of qualified individuals to volunteer to serve in various leadership positions.

      To identify these volunteers the High Plains cotton industry caucuses each year with other cotton groups within Texas to identify producers interested in serving as a volunteer leader.

      In preparation for this year's caucus Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., encourages all qualified individuals interested in representing the High Plains as a representative to the Cotton Board, National Cotton Council of America (NCC) or Cotton Incorporated to contact PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett to request additional information and learn more about the opportunities that exist for volunteer service.

      PCG officials note that each year a variety of volunteer positions within the NCC and Cotton Incorporated are filled directly through the industry's caucus process.

      In addition to naming representatives to the NCC and Cotton Incorporated, PCG and the Texas cotton industry also work together to identify and nominate qualified individuals to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for possible appointment as a Member or Alternate on the Cotton Board.

      Qualified individuals interested in serving on the Cotton Board, which oversees the highly successful U.S. Cotton Research & Promotion Program, are also encouraged to contact Verett at the PCG office in Lubbock, Texas to request additional information. PCG's telephone number is 806-792-4904.

      To be a qualified producer nominee for the Cotton Board an individual should be actively engaged in cotton production at the time of nomination, be committed to the mission of the Cotton Board and the Cotton Research and Promotion Program and have demonstrated leadership skills and experience.

      Through the nomination process the Cotton Board encourages groups given the responsibility of identifying candidates to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all individuals who qualify as a producer nominee for consideration by the Secretary.

      "Whether it is a nomination to serve on the Cotton Board or appointment to a leadership position within the National Cotton Council or Cotton Incorporated, the membership of Plains Cotton Growers has proven to be fertile ground for leaders within our industry," says Verett. "Our industry owes much to the dedicated men and women who step forward to serve their fellow producers. We look forward to extending that tradition of leadership in the years ahead."

Editor's Note: The Cotton Board seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all those who qualify for nomination and appointment to the Cotton Board regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, socio-economic status, religion or sexual orientation.


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