High Plains Harvest Continues to Progress

Friday, October 28, 2011              by Mary Jane Buerkle

      The High Plains cotton harvest is moving along, although progress is all over the board, depending on the area.

      Some gins report being about halfway done for the season, while others are just starting. According to accounts from industry experts at PCG's Friday morning meeting today, central parts of the High Plains are closer to completion than areas to the north and south, where ginning is just getting under way.

      For example, Leighton Stovall at Moore County Gin in Dumas reports that they have ginned about 9,300 bales so far, and expect about 105,000 for the year. But Paul Wilson at United Cotton Growers Co-op in Hockley County reports that they have about 21,000 bales ginned and turned in, and that's about half of what they expect to produce for the year. Some gins to the south are just beginning to run.

      Moisture this week proved to be welcome, as the rain and snow fell slowly but moved out quickly, allowing for a quick dry-out so producers could resume harvest. Areas in the northern Panhandle and northwest of Lubbock saw the most precipitation, with McLean recording 1.82", Silverton at 1.84", and Dimmitt at 1.22", according to the West Texas Mesonet. Precipitation totals were lower further south in the PCG service area, but any precipitation was certainly well received.

      One issue reported by several producers is difficulty in defoliation. Many say that multiple rounds of defoliant have achieved less-than-desirable results, delaying harvest.

      However, some producers have chosen to simply wait on a killing freeze. Temperatures have dipped into the 20s north of Lubbock, but areas to the south have, for the most part, remained right at or just above the freezing mark.

      Cotton quality remains relatively stable with a slight increase in staple length over the past week. A summary is as follows:

2011 High Plains Cotton Quality Summary


Current Week:









21+ - 89.7%

31 2.5%





21+ - 91.3%

31 3.1%




















Season Totals To Date:









21+ - 85.2%

31 1.5%





21+ - 89.0%

31 2.3%


















Source: USDA AMS


Eleventh Annual Texas Commodity

Symposium Program Announced

      The eleventh annual Texas Commodity Symposium will be held Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Amarillo in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room at the Amarillo Civic Center. The free event will begin at 9:30 a.m.

      The symposium, which is hosted by the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Peanut Producers Board and Texas Wheat Producers Association, will conclude with the annual Ag Appreciation Luncheon, presented by the Texas Commodity Symposium and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Ag Council.

      "We're excited to offer attendees an interesting program this year that addresses issues that will not only affect the agricultural industry, but also everyone in the West Texas region," CPAT Executive Vice President David Gibson said. "We encourage producers and those in agribusiness alike to attend the 2011 Texas Commodity Symposium."

      This year's Symposium will examine a variety of issues that impact producers and the agribusiness sector. Featured topics include water, weather, agricultural policy, and program updates from NRCS and FSA.

      Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, will discuss the current drought situation and projections for 2012. Tom Sell with Combest, Sell and Associates will update attendees on current developments in farm policy. The morning program will end with a panel of experts discussing water issues.

      "This is a great opportunity to hear a diverse group of speakers addressing the main issues affecting agriculture on the Texas High Plains," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said.

      For more information, please contact Stephanie Pruitt, CPAT communications director, at 1-800-647-CORN (2676) or stephanie@texascorn.org.


PCG Reminds Producers to Obtain Ag/Timber

Registration Number for Sales Tax Exemptions

      The Texas Comptroller's Office has launched a new webpage, http://www.getreadytexas.org, to provide information for the agricultural and timber industries as the state implements House Bill 268, which requires commercial producers to have an Ag/Timber Registration Number for sales tax exemptions on eligible purchases beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

      Those wishing to claim ag/timber sales tax exemptions must ensure that they have a registration number, which also has to be included on Form 01-924, the Texas Agricultural Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification. The purchaser must provide that form to the merchant when claiming a sales tax exemption on qualifying items.    Please note that electric service providers also will need the number and a new exemption certificate.

      Those registering online will obtain the number immediately and the application will take about 10 minutes to complete. If you prefer to apply for your registration number via a paper application, you can do one of the following: download the paper application from http://www.getreadytexas.org; call the Comptroller's Fax on Demand service at 1-800-531-1441 to have the paper application faxed to you; or call 1-800-252-5555 to request that a copy of the application be mailed to you. The Comptroller's office notes that many retailers also have copies of the application.

      "This slight change in the way ag and timber sales tax exemptions are administered will be extremely beneficial to producers as it will help eliminate the fraudulent use of sales tax exemptions and protect our ability to correctly utilize those exemptions in the agricultural industry," Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "Once implemented, the process of claiming agricultural sales tax exemptions on eligible purchases will be more seamless and easier than ever."


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USDA Announces Disaster Assistance

Sign-up for 2010 Crop Losses

      USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass recently announced that the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program enrollment for 2010 crop year losses begins November 14, 2011.

      An updated version of the SURE benefit estimator from the Texas AgriLife Extension service is available for download at http://www.plainscotton.org. More information is available at http://southplainsprofit.tamu.edu/.

      "Producers across the state experienced several natural disasters during the 2010 crop year that caused hardship and financial losses to many agricultural operations," said Douglass. "The SURE program provides assistance to producers when disaster strikes, so I strongly encourage producers with 2010 crop losses to contact their local FSA office to learn more about the program," he said.

      To qualify for a SURE payment, the producer's operation must be located in a county that was declared a disaster for 2010 and have at least a 10 percent production loss that affects one crop of economic significance. Producers with agricultural operations located outside a disaster county are eligible for SURE benefits if they had a production loss greater or equal to 50 percent of the normal production on the farm.

      The following counties in the PCG service area received a disaster designation during 2010:  Borden, Crosby, Dallam, Dawson, Floyd, Garza, Hale, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Howard, Hutchinson, Lamb, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Moore, Ochiltree, Roberts, Sherman, and Terry.

      To meet program eligibility requirements, producers must have obtained a policy or plan of insurance for all insurable crops through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation and obtained Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage on non-insurable crops, if available, from FSA. Eligible farmers and ranchers who meet the definition of a socially disadvantaged, limited resource or beginning farmer or rancher do not have to meet this requirement. Forage crops intended for grazing are not eligible for SURE benefits.

      For more information on SURE program eligibility requirements contact your local FSA office or visit the website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/sure


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