Drought Conditions Expected to Linger

Lubbock, July 8, 2011                        by Mary Jane Buerkle   

      Thanks mostly to La Nia, the last nine months have been the driest ever in the southern central United States since records began in 1895, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service.

      And unfortunately, NOAA/NWS experts said at a Thursday workshop in Austin, these conditions are not likely to improve drastically anytime soon, although some alleviation is forecasted.

      In many locations, including West Texas, it would take 1½ times to twice the average seasonal precipitation needed over the next three months to end the drought, NOAA/NWS Meteorologist Dan Collins said, and there is a five percent or less chance of the drought ending in three or even six months in West Texas.

      Ninety-one percent of Texas is in extreme to exceptional drought, NOAA/NWS said, and the Climate Forecast System indicates that there is a chance that La Nia could even re-emerge and extend the drought. NOAA's Klaus Wolter said that this winter could be dry with a La Nia rebound, which is more likely than not.

      The drought has brought unprecedented consequences to the cotton crop. For the first time ever, the High Plains is looking at a near 100 percent abandonment rate on dryland cotton. Some producers are shifting water from other crops to cotton, trying to salvage what they can of the 2011 irrigated crop, and making decisions that previous generations have not faced. The overall impact of the drought undoubtedly will be staggering across the agricultural industry, experts say.

      Bob Rose with the Lower Colorado River Authority, which covers an area of Central Texas, said that if the drought continues through the winter, that they could begin curtailing agricultural use in Spring 2012 for the first time in their 77-year history.

      Stay updated on drought conditions by visiting http://www.drought.gov or http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.


Cotton Risk-Sharing Programs Help

Ease Sting Of Drought Losses

Lubbock, July 8, 2011                     by Shawn Wade

      Drought conditions could eventually account for more than 2 million lost cotton acres on the Texas High Plains region alone. Those conditions have cotton producers across the region plunging headfirst into the claims settlement process for both federal crop insurance and industry sponsored risk-sharing and drought relief programs.

      In order to successfully navigate the various claims processes from start to finish, cotton growers rely on crop insurance professionals, USDA Farm Service Agency employees and cotton industry representatives to help them gather all the necessary paperwork to complete and submit claim forms before applicable deadlines.

      With most of the initial work done in regard to filing claims and getting acreage appraised under the federal crop insurance program, many growers are now beginning to get themselves organized and preparing their claim requests under current industry risk-sharing programs that provide various levels of rebates on biotechnology trait fees and, in certain cases, cotton planting seed or chemical expenditures.

      Plains Cotton Growers has worked to gather copies of each company's risk-sharing program literature in order to make the information available to producers on the PCG website. Program documentation currently is available from All-Tex Seed, Americot/NexGen, Monsanto, Deltapine Cottonseed, Bayer CropScience/FiberMax, and Phytogen.

      To view the available program documents, or to download claim forms when provided, please go to this location on our website: http://www.plainscotton.org/seeddroughtrelief11.html

      While most of the programs operate in very similar ways, there are some differences among the various company offerings. Most of these differences are found in the deadlines for submitting claims and growers are advised to contact their cottonseed distributor or company sales representative to verify when they need to have their claims submitted and what documentation will be needed to support the claim.

      Since most of the seed and technology companies that serve growers in the High Plains region have similar drought relief and crop loss assistance programs the following information is provided to serve as a general overview of the risk-sharing programs available to dryland and irrigated growers who have lost crops to drought this season.

      In the case of dryland cotton, growers who lose acreage due to drought and qualify for participation in the program's offered by their seed and technology provider may be eligible to receive refunds equal to 100 percent of biotechnology trait fees from Monsanto, Phytogen and Bayer CropScience. In addition to the trait rebates, dryland growers may also qualify for partial refunds of cotton planting seed expenditures equal to 50 percent of the initial cost of the cotton planting seed purchased and planted on the lost acreage.

      Irrigated growers who have suffered early crop losses, or who incur a catastrophic crop loss prior to the dates specified by the various trait providers, may be eligible for refunds equal to 100 percent of the biotechnology trait fees paid on the lost acreage. Details of the various crop loss programs vary by biotechnology provider and growers are encouraged to contact their local seed distributor or their company sales representative to verify dates and other program details.



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PCG Board of Directors To Meet July 13

      Members of the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. Board of Directors will gather in Lubbock on Wednesday, July 13, for the group's first quarterly meeting of the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m.

      One of the primary items of business for the PCG Board at this meeting will be consideration and approval of a new FY2011-2012 PCG Operating Budget.

      The Board also will hear a cotton market report from Lubbock Cotton Exchange President Arwin Johnson with Queensland Cotton; a National Cotton Council update from Craig Brown, vice president of producer affairs for the NCC; a water policy update from Jim Conkwright, manager of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1; and a review of the upcoming NCC, Cotton Incorporated and Cotton Board caucuses to select High Plains representatives to serve in industry leadership positions.


Cotton Industry Success Depends On Dedication

And Service Of Volunteer Leaders

Lubbock, July 8, 2011                         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," Verett said. "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."


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