Farm Bill Proposal Continues to Move Forward

      More information emerged today regarding a proposal from House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders today detailing their farm policy recommendations to the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee, also known as the Super Committee. The committees have been working together to create and submit a proposal on how to reshape current farm policy and ultimately save $23 billion in mandatory spending over the next 10 years.

      The draft proposal includes the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) for upland cotton producers, which is based on recommendations from the National Cotton Council. STAX allows growers the option to purchase revenue insurance that covers losses exceeding 10 percent of target revenue with a maximum indemnity of 20 percent of target revenue based on 100 percent of planted acres.

      In a news release, the NCC said that this program satisfies trade disputes with Brazil, especially considering the elimination of counter-cyclical payments and adjustments to the level of the upland cotton marketing loan. These cotton program revisions are scheduled to go into effect for the 2013 crop year.

      Grain oilseed, peanut and rice producers will have the option of price loss coverage payments or revenue loss coverage payments through the Ag Risk Coverage program.

      The Southwest Council of Agribusiness lauded the efforts of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) in a letter submitted by the organization earlier this week.

      "Based on our understanding of the Farm Bill package, we believe the decision to provide producers with a meaningful choice between options based on revenue and price to account for the varying risk management needs of all producers and crops is sound, and worthy of support," SWCA President Dee Vaughan said in the letter. "We believe the Farm Bill should provide meaningful price protection under both options to ensure that costly, unbudgeted ad hoc relief is not necessary should markets collapse. We further believe that a good Farm Bill must not arbitrarily limit or preclude access by full-time producers who produce better than 80% of the food and fiber production of this nation and who actually support their families on farm income."

      PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett echoed those sentiments.

      "This process undoubtedly has led to some extremely long hours put in by the leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees on behalf of producers all over this nation, and we truly appreciate their efforts," Verett said. "Although this certainly is a huge step toward a 2012 Farm Bill, it should be noted that this is a proposal to the Super Committee and we urge them to accept the recommendations as part of their overall plan to reduce the federal deficit."

      The deadline for the Super Committee's plan is Nov. 23.


Programs Finalized for Texas Commodity Symposium, Ag Appreciation Luncheon

      Texas Rep. Rick Hardcastle will be the keynote speaker for the eleventh annual Texas Commodity Symposium and Luncheon, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30. Hardcastle will discuss various issues impacting the Texas agricultural industry.

      The 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.

      In addition to Rep. Hardcastle, 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. Texas Rep. Walter "Four" Price of Amarillo will discuss the new agricultural sales tax exemption, and David Schanbacher with the Texas Comptroller's office will talk about endangered species and their economic impact on Texas.

      Other featured topics include updates from the Texas Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with an update on a Conservation Innovation Grant from the North Plains Groundwater District and Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' Water Center. The morning program ends with an expert panel discussing water issues.

      "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."

      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.

      "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 Mary Jane Buerkle at Plains Cotton Growers, (806) 792-4904.