Friday, December 23, 2010                       By Shawn Wade

      Rep. Frank Lucas, incoming House Agriculture Committee Chairman for the 112th Congress, has provided Texas agriculture a couple of early Christmas presents.

      The first was the announcement that Rep. Mike Conaway (TX-11) from Midland has been named Chairman of the important General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee.

      The General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee oversees programs and markets related to cotton, cottonseed, wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oilseeds, rice, dry beans, peas, lentils, specialty crops (sugar, peanuts), the Commodity Credit Corporation, and risk management including crop insurance and commodity exchanges.

      In a statement released following the announcement Conaway said, "I am humbled that Chairman-elect Lucas has entrusted me with the job of Chairman of such an important subcommittee. I am greatly looking forward to tackling the job of overseeing commodities and providing protection to ensure that all of America's farmers and ranchers are well-represented."

      In addition to serving on the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Conaway has been reappointed to his Republican leadership position of Deputy Whip and also reappointed to both the House Intelligence and House Armed Services Committees. Renewal of Conaway's current position on the House Ethics Committee is also expected for the 112th Congress.

      The second piece of good news was that Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19) of Lubbock would also continue to serve on the Agriculture panel.

      On his appointment Rep. Neugebauer said, "I am honored to be reappointed to the Agriculture Committee. I look forward to representing the interests of the farmers and ranchers in the 19th District during the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill debate."

      Neugebauer adds that his priorities as a member of the Agriculture Committee are to further improve crop insurance and to maintain a viable safety net for our nation's producers.

      In addition to his post on the Agriculture Committee, Neugebauer will also continue to serve on the House Financial Services Committee, where he will be the new Chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, and on the House Science and Technology Committee in the 112th Congress.

      Neugebauer and Conaway have each served on the House Agriculture Committee since their election to Congress.

      "We are pleased to again have both of this region's Congressmen serving on the House Agriculture Committee," says Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett. "Having them there ensures the High Plains region will continue to have an effective voice and committed partners in the development of future agriculture policy."

      Conaway joins these five other Republican members of the Committee as a subcommittee chairman: Conaway, General Farm Commodities and Risk Management; Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit; Rep. Tom Rooney (FL), Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry; Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH), Nutrition and Horticulture; and, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (IL), Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture.

      Republican members of the Committee, in order of seniority, are: Frank D. Lucas (OK), Chairman-elect; Bob Goodlatte (VA), Vice Chairman-elect; Timothy V. Johnson (IL); Steve King (IA); Randy Neugebauer (TX); K. Michael Conaway (TX); Jeff Fortenberry (NE); Jean Schmidt (OH); Glenn Thompson (PA); Tom Rooney (FL); Rick Crawford (AR); Scott DesJarlais (TN); Renee Elmers (NC); Stephen Fincher (TN); Bob Gibbs (OH); Chris Gibson (NY); Vicky Hartzler (MO); Tim Huelskamp (KS); Randy Hultgren (IL); Reid Ribble (WI); Martha Roby (AL); Bobby Schilling (IL); Austin Scott (GA); Steve Southerland (FL); Marlin Stutzman (IN); and Scott Tipton (CO).



      The National Cotton Council's annual survey of 2011 planting intentions was recently distributed to upland and extra-long staple (ELS) cotton producers across the Cotton Belt.

      The NCC survey, conducted each year to aid with industry planning and policy deliberations, provides the basis for the economic outlook that will be presented to delegates during the NCC Annual Meeting in early February.

      Survey results will be presented during the Joint Meeting of Program Committees on Saturday morning, February 5, 2011.

      To enhance the survey's accuracy, producers are encouraged to respond by the January 18, 2011 deadline.

      The 2011 survey was distributed through a combination of regular mail and email with the intent of reaching all cotton farms across the Belt. Growers who did not receive a survey may contact the NCC via email at for survey instructions and participate.


2009 SURE SIGN-UP TO BEGIN JAN. 10, 2011

      Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that sign-up for the 2009 crop year Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program will begin on January 10, 2011.

      To be eligible for SURE, a farm must have: 1) at least a 10% production loss on a crop of economic significance; 2) a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for all economically significant crops; and 3) been physically located in a county that was declared a primary disaster county by the Agriculture Secretary under a Secretarial Disaster Designation or in a contiguous county.

      Producers in counties that do not qualify through a disaster declaration may still be eligible if the actual production on the farm is less than 50% of the normal production on the farm due to a natural disaster.