Plains Cotton Growers Submits Comments

Regarding Potential FMCSA Regulations

Lubbock, August 5, 2011                         by Mary Jane Buerkle

      Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., along with the National Cotton Council and Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, U.S. Senators and numerous others, recently submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding potential regulations on operators of certain farm vehicles and off-road agricultural equipment.

      The FMCSA requested public comment on three issues, according to a notice in the Federal Register (which can be accessed on PCG's website, http://www.plainscotton.org):

1.     "The distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce in making the determination whether certain transportation by commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), within the boundaries of a single state, is subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)

2.     "The relevance of the distinction between direct and indirect compensation in deciding whether certain farm vehicle drivers working under a crop share arrangement are subject to the Agency's CDL regulations

3.     "The determination whether certain off-road farm equipment and implements of husbandry operated on public roads for limited distances should be considered CMVs and subject to the Agency's vehicle safety regulations"

      "If these proposed regulations were to become law, it would be extremely detrimental to agriculture and to our economy, " PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said in the letter. "We believe that individual states are the best equipped to maintain existing exemptions, waivers and exclusions for farmers and farm vehicles, and should continue to be granted the flexibility and authority to do so as they have for more than 25 years."

      The NCC, PCCA and several U.S. Senators also expressed concerns in their comments.

      The FMCSA is simply trying to balance safety with a viable transportation system that keeps America competitive, FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in an opinion editorial on the FMCSA's website (a link to that website also is accessible at http://www.plainscotton.org).

      "We're well aware of the concern within the agricultural community regarding these three issues," Ferro said in the editorial. "The comment period is an opportunity to bring those concerns to the table. We're eager for input and ideas about how we can achieve our safety mission without tying America's farmers down with unnecessary burdens."

      The comment period was originally supposed to end on June 30, 2011, but was extended to August 1.

 

 

Agricultural Chemicals Conference

Scheduled for September

Lubbock, August 5, 2011                         by Mary Jane Buerkle

      The West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute will host the 59th annual Agricultural Chemicals Conference on Wednesday, September 14, at the Scottish Rite Learning Center, located at 1101 70th Street in Lubbock. Registration begins at 7 a.m., and the program begins at 7:50 a.m.

      More than 300 producers, chemical dealers and people in the agribusiness community are expected to attend the conference, which will feature a water policy update, a federal legislative/regulatory update, and discussions on issues in various crops and in irrigation. At lunch, WTACI will present scholarships and awards to students and individuals in the agricultural industry. Since 2001, WTACI has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships.

      Participants can earn up to 4.5 continuing education units from the Texas Department of Agriculture and up to 6.5 CCA CEUs. CEUs from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture are still pending.

      Conference registration is $95/person the day of the conference, but participants can save by pre-registering at a rate of $75/person. Pre-registration must be completed online or postmarked by September 1. Lunch is included.

      Online registration is at http://wtaci.tamu.edu, or participants can fill out a form available at that website. Some also may receive the form in the mail.

      For more information, contact WTACI President Terry Campbell at Americot, Inc., (806) 793-1431; Vice President David Kerns, Ph.D., at the TAMUS Research and Extension Center at (806) 746-4045; or visit the WTACI website at http://wtaci.tamu.edu.

      WTACI is an unincorporated organization of dealers, industry representatives, agricultural producers, scientists, educators, and agribusiness members who support education and research programs promoting safe and effective use of agricultural chemicals and protection and preservation of the area's natural resources.

 

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Lubbock Hosts 31st Session of

Texas International Cotton School

      The 31st session of the Texas International Cotton School (TICS) will be held August 8-19 at the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute in Lubbock. This educational course on cotton and textiles integrates experience, knowledge and future developments affecting global markets.

      The Texas International Cotton School is sponsored and managed by the Lubbock Cotton Exchange in coordination with the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute of Texas Tech University. It is uniquely structured to provide, in a short period of time, an integrated understanding of the U.S. cotton industry and how it interacts with the global cotton/textile complex.

      The TICS session unites professionals from around the world to interact with top cotton experts. Graduates of the intensive two-week program understand U.S. cotton production, processing and marketing systems, see the latest machinery and equipment and make valuable business contacts.

      The hands-on session also covers all phases of production, harvesting, ginning, classing and testing. Approximately 30 guest experts from the United States and international organizations provide instruction and engage in discussion with students.

      For more information about the Texas International Cotton School, call 806-763-4646, email lce@suddenlinkmail.com or visit http://www.texasintlcottonschool.com.