USDA Announces Cotton Board Appointments

Friday, December 30, 2011                   From the Cotton Board


      MEMPHIS, TN Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the appointment of 19 members and 19 alternates and one consumer advisor to the Cotton Board. All appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning Jan 1, 2012, and ending Dec. 31, 2014. In addition, Vilsack appointed one alternate to fill a vacant importer position with a term ending on Dec. 31, 2012.

      As a result of the Secretarial appointments, the following leadership positions of the Cotton Board are vacant and will have to be filled at the Cotton Board's March 2012 meeting: Secretary of the Cotton Board (slated to be Cotton Board Chairman in 2013); Chairman of the Cotton Board Operations Committee; and Chairman of the Cotton Board Agricultural Research Committee.

      Cotton Board Chairman John Clark, importer from California, welcomed the new appointees to the Cotton Board, but added, "It is unfortunate that so many of our current leaders were not reappointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. I will reconvene the Nominations Committee prior to the Cotton Board's March meeting and also advise the affected committees they must hold new elections for chairman."

      Re-appointed producer members are: John J. Baxter, Watson, Ark.; George G. LaCour, Morganza, La. (formerly an alternate); David M. Grant, Garysburg, N.C.; Tom M. Hegi, Petersburg, Texas (formerly an alternate); John R. Dunlap, Floydada, Texas (formerly an alternate).

      Re-appointed producer alternate members are: Steve Cantu, Tranquility, Calif.; Tom J. Gary, Greenwood, Miss. (formerly a member); Jerry L. Hamill, Enfield, N.C.

      Re-appointed importer members are: Rafael A. Hernandez, Highland Village, Texas (formerly an alternate); Carlos F. J. Moore, Naples, Fla.; Maureen E. Gray, New York, N.Y.; and Deborah M. Gregg, Irvine, Calif.

      Re-appointed importer alternate members are: Courtney S. Okeefe, Easton, Conn.; and Flora J. Wong, Mercer Island, Wash.

      The newly appointed producer members are: Marty E. White, Jonesboro, Ark.; John E. Pucheu, Tranquility, Calif.; James C. Robertson, Jr., Indianola, Miss.

      The newly appointed producer alternate members are: Richard B. Bransford, Lonoke, Ark.; Kenneth D. Qualls, Lake City, Ark.; William B. Guthrie, Newellton, La.; Bryan K. Patterson, Amherst, Texas; Sigifredo Valverde, Shallowater, Texas.

      The newly appointed importer members are: William E. May, Memphis, Tenn.

      The newly appointed importer alternate members are: Daniel M. Feibus, Carencro, La.; George R. Perkins III, Sanford, N.C.; and Kenneth R. Mangone, Fairview, Texas.

      The vacant importer alternate position was filled by: Catherine B. Allen, Athens, Tenn.

      The newly appointed consumer advisor is: Marshall Cohen, East Moriches, N.Y.

      The cotton research and promotion program is designed to advance the position of cotton in the marketplace. It is funded by assessments on all domestically produced cotton and imports of foreign-produced cotton and cotton-containing products, and is authorized by the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees operations of the Board.

      About the Cotton Board: The Cotton Board administers and oversees the Cotton Research & Promotion Program conducted by Cotton Incorporated and funded by America's cotton producers and importers. The Program works to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton. For more information about the Cotton Board, visit


Can't go to the Beltwide? We'll post updates!


PCG Celebrates Accomplishments in 2011


Here at Plains Cotton Growers, we are the collective voice of the High Plains cotton producer. For more than 50 years, we've been tackling the tough issues facing cotton growers and bringing needed economic relief through beneficial legislative and regulatory changes.  We identify producer leadership for the National Cotton Council, American Cotton Producers, the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated so as to ensure our growers' seat at the table. We've built relationships and coalitions, such as the Southwest Council of Agribusiness, that advance our goals and open the door to success.

      Below are just a few examples of what your investment has enabled us to accomplish in 2011. We strive every day to make the absolute best use of your dollars to advance our goals for the High Plains cotton industry.


Crop Insurance

      The 2011 growing season brought several changes to the Federal Crop Insurance program as the USDA Risk Management Agency implemented the new Combo Policy for Cotton and several other crops. The purpose of the Combo Policy was to streamline the coverage options for producers and align rating and pricing components for each policy to improve and simplify the insurance process for producers. As a result of these changes, however, several inconsistencies were identified within different parts of the new rules for cotton that threatened to reduce coverage to producers or prevent them from obtaining any coverage at all.


Dryland Cotton Planted into a Small Grain Cover Crop

      The Issue: Drought conditions in 2011 caused problems for cotton producers who planned to utilize a small grain as a cover crop in their cotton production systems.

      The Process: PCG staff worked closely with the USDA RMA Regional Offices in Kansas City and Oklahoma City to ensure that growers, who intended the small grain to be used as a cover crop and attempted termination in timely manner, were determined to have complied with the termination rules and were able to plant and insure dryland cotton in 2011.

      The result: USDA RMA rewrote the rules to clearly differentiate a small grain planted as a cover crop, restore the previous standard for termination of small grain cover crops and protect the ability of growers to insure dryland cotton.


FSA Planting Pattern Rules

      The Issue: Early in the 2011 season an issue involving growers who planted cotton in a "30 inch-50 inch" row configuration was identified. In a nutshell, the issue involved USDA Farm Service Agency calculations, which reduced the percentage of acres considered planted to the crop under this configuration by 25 percent.

      The Process: PCG worked to explain the adverse impact FSA's calculation had on producers through the reduced number of acres that would be considered insured as well as the adverse impact it would have on the Federal Crop Insurance program.

      The Result: USDA FSA issued a specific exemption for Texas that would allow growers planting in a 30 inch-50 inch configuration to be able to certify their acreage as solid planted for irrigated and dryland production practices.


Cottonseed (Pilot) Endorsement

      The 2011 crop year was the first that cotton producers could select additional coverage for cottonseed through the Federal Crop Insurance program. The Cottonseed (Pilot) Endorsement was developed by PCG in 2008-2009 as a mechanism to extend risk protection to a producer's cottonseed.

      In its first year of availability, the Cottonseed Endorsement was added to more than 30 percent of the Cotton Lint policies that were sold nationally in 2011. In Texas, more than 45 percent of all cotton lint policies sold incorporated the new Cottonseed Endorsement. Texas producers purchased almost 80 percent of all of the Cottonseed Endorsements reported as sold by USDA RMA.

      In Texas, the Cottonseed Endorsement provided an estimated $208 million of additional cottonseed coverage and $112 million in additional cottonseed insurance indemnity payments paid to Texas producers who suffered losses in 2011.

      On the High Plains, the Cottonseed Endorsement provided an estimated $125 million of additional cottonseed coverage and $69.2 million in cottonseed related insurance indemnity payments in 2011.

2012 Farm Bill

      For months, Plains Cotton Growers staff has been communicating with legislators on Capitol Hill regarding the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. Our relationship with the Southwest Council of Agribusiness and Combest, Sell & Associates has enabled us to be on the front lines to help ensure a strong agriculture safety net and effective risk management programs for cotton producers. You can rest assured that we will continue to be diligent in our efforts even as negotiations stretch into 2012.