Eight U.S. Cotton Producers Join COTTON USA
Delegation to Latin America July 18-23

Friday, July 30, 2010                                 By Shawn Wade

      Three High Plains cotton producers joined six other producers from across the U.S. Cotton Belt as members of a special COTTON USA delegation that traveled to Central America July 18-23.

      Representing the High Plains of Texas on the delegation were Hereford, Texas cotton producer Frank Bezner, Jr., Brady Mimms of Lorenzo, and Sherry Proctor of Lubbock. Somerville, TN, grower Harris Armour; David Burns of Laurel Hill, NC; David Cochran of Greenville, MS; Charles Meyer of Stratford, CA; and Bill Weaver of Edmondson, AR, rounded out the COTTON USA delegation.

      During the trip the group traveled to Mexico, Honduras and Peru from July 18-23 and met with representatives from the local textile and apparel industries. The purpose of the trip was to reinforce the U.S. cotton industry's commitment to supplying this region with cotton fiber and value added products.

      U.S. cotton fiber and textile trade with Mexico, the CBI Region, and Andean Region totaled about 4.7 million bales in 2008/09. The itinerary included briefings from CCI and Cotton Incorporated; overviews of the Mexican, CBI, Honduran, Andean and Peruvian textile and apparel industries; and tours of COTTON USA licensed mills and a knitting and sewing plant.

      Meetings with the Mexican textile industry in Mexico City covered the cotton textile environment in Mexico and NAFTA, textile trade policy issues within the Western Hemisphere, as well as information sharing between U.S. and Mexican cotton growers.

      For the trade policy discussions, the delegation was joined by the immediate past chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), Mr. Wallace Darneille (who also serves as CCI president), and NCTO president, Cass Johnson. The group also toured a textile mill outside of Mexico City to learn more about how U.S. cotton is processed and to identify ways that U.S. cotton can remain competitive as a supplier.

      In Honduras, the delegation met with leaders of that country's textile and apparel industry. Delegation members learned how the regional free trade agreement has helped the Central American industry grow as a textile and apparel sourcing origin, and as a market for U.S. cotton via yarn and textiles.

      They heard about CCI and Cotton Incorporated's work within the region to facilitate supplies of quality cotton yarn and fabric from the U.S. and downstream sales of finished product from the region. The delegation toured Gildan's knitting and sewing plant near San Pedro Sula, where delegation members witnessed socks being knitted, processed and packaged with the COTTON USA trademark for distribution in the U.S. market.

      The delegation's final stop was Lima, Peru, which gave members an opportunity to see the impact of various Andean Region trade agreements on the business complex and assess the future outlook for U.S. cotton and products in the region.

      Expert presenters briefed the group on Andean Region politics, economy and its textile industry. The Peruvian Cotton Institute presented the current Peruvian cotton crop situation, research developments and outlook. To round out the visit, the delegation visited Topy Top S.A. and Compa–’a Industrial Nuevo Mundo S.A., two of the largest mills in the Andean Region.


NCC Schedules Texas Producer-Ginner
Conferences August 16 & 19

Friday, July 30, 2010                                 By Shawn Wade

      Producers in the High Plains of Texas will get an opportunity to learn more about the structure and activities of the National Cotton Council at a meeting scheduled for Monday, August 16 in the Texas Tech Animal & Food Sciences Building at Texas Tech University.

      The meeting will include presentations from several members of the Senior NCC Staff including: President and CEO Dr. Mark Lange; John Maguire, Senior Vice President of Washington Operations; Dr. Gary Adams, Vice President for Economics and Policy Analysis; Craig Brown, Vice President for Producer Affairs; Harrison Ashley, Vice President for Ginner Services; Bill Norman, Vice President for Technical Services; and Marjory Walker, Director of Communications, Production and AV Services.

      The National Cotton Council has scheduled the meetings to provide producers and ginners with an overview of the Council's structure, programs and industry issues. The meetings are open to all cotton industry firms and agri-businesses.

      Similar meetings to the one in Lubbock are also being held on August 19 in Haskell and San Angelo from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The Haskell and San Angelo meetings will be conducted by sub-groups of the NCC Senior Staff and fall on the heels of the American Cotton Producers (NCC) and Cotton Foundation meetings that are being held in Lubbock that week. The ACP and Cotton Foundation meetings begin August 17 and conclude August 18.

      Lunch will be provided to participants at all three meetings; however, RSVPs are requested so that an accurate estimate of attendees can be tabulated. Producers, ginners and agri-business people who are planning to attend the meetings are encouraged to RSVP their intentions to NCC Member Services staff from their area. To RSVP or for additional information contact any of the following:

¥  Brett Cypert - (325) 895-1841 - bcypert@cotton.org

¥  Susan Everett - (806) 441-7480 -severett@cotton.org

¥  Mike Johnson - (580) 335-1947 - mjohnson@cotton.org

¥  Rick King - (806) 777-1234 - rking@cotton.org





Texas NCC Producer-Ginner Conferences

Dates, times and locations

Monday, August 16: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Lubbock, TX - Texas Tech University Animal & Food Sciences Building, Room 101.
(NW of United Spirit Arena and the intersection of 18th Street and Indiana Ave.)

Thursday, August 19: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Haskell, TX - Haskell Civic Center, 200 South Avenue B

Thursday, August 19: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
San Angelo, TX - Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center, 7887 US Highway 87, North


2008 SURE Sign-up To End September 30;
CRP General Sign-up To Run From Aug 2-27

Friday, July 30, 2010                                 By Shawn Wade

      Earlier this week the USDA Farm Service Agency released a couple of announcements that will be of interest to High Plains cotton producers.

      The first was the announcement that the end date for accepting applications for the 2008 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE) will be September 30, 2010. The second announcement involves the Conservation Reserve Program and the establishment of a new general CRP sign-up beginning August 2, 2010.

      The FSA notice setting the September 30 SURE deadline reveals that the cut-off date coincides with the expiration of spending authority provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA funds were authorized to augment benefits calculated under regular SURE guidelines.

      What the deadline means is that only producers who have filed an application (Form FSA-682) for 2008 SURE benefits on or before September 30, 2010 will be eligible for 2008 SURE payment consideration.

      "To request an appointment to file an application for the 2008 SURE program eligible producers must contact their county office in person before September 30," said Juan M. Garcia, Texas FSA State Executive Director.

      On the CRP front, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced June 26 that a general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will begin on August 2, 2010 and continue through August 27, 2010.

      During the sign-up period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land for CRP's competitive general sign-up at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized USDA to maintain CRP enrollment up to 32 million acres. Jim Miller, Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack during a conference call with reporters. 

      "America's farmers and ranchers play an important role in improving our environment, and for nearly 25 years, CRP has helped this nation build sound conservation practices that preserve the soil, clean our water, and restore habitat for wildlife," said Miller. "Today's announcement will help us create a greener and healthier America, and I encourage all interested farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn how to take advantage of this opportunity."

      To help ensure that interested farmers and ranchers are aware of the sign-up period, USDA has signed partnership agreements with several conservation and wildlife organizations, which will play an active role in USDA's 2010 CRP outreach efforts.

      Additionally, Secretary Vilsack has recorded two public service announcements, which are available to the press and public at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/psa.

      CRP is a voluntary program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to use their environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolling in CRP plant long-term, resource conserving covers in exchange for rental payments, cost-share, and technical assistance.

      CRP protects millions of acres of America's topsoil from erosion and is designed to improve the nation's natural resources base. Participants voluntarily remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production by entering into long-term contracts for 10 to 15 years. In exchange, participants receive annual rental payments and a payment of up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing conservation practices.

      Land not currently enrolled in CRP may be offered in this sign-up provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring in the Fall of 2010, covering about 4.5 million acres, may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this sign-up are scheduled to become effective October 1, 2010.

      FSA implements CRP on behalf of Commodity Credit Corporation. FSA will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) for environmental benefits to be gained from enrolling the land in CRP. The EBI consists of five environmental factors (wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits) and cost. Decisions on the EBI cutoff will be made after the sign-up ends and after analyzing the EBI data of all the offers.

      Those who would have met previous sign-up EBI thresholds are not guaranteed a contract under this sign-up. In addition to the general sign-up, CRP's continuous sign-up program will be ongoing. Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land. For more information, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.