Crop Insurance, Farm Policy Key for

Producers in Early 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012                     By Mary Jane Buerkle

      As the 2012 crop year swiftly approaches, so does the time for scheduling visits with insurance agents and the Farm Service Agency office, and pondering what may lie ahead.

      Crop insurance played a major role for producers in 2011 and could do so again in 2012. One of the ways cotton producers could augment their 2011 insurance protection was through the addition of the Cottonseed (Pilot) Endorsement, which was available to cotton producers nationwide last year and allowed cottonseed to be insured for the first time.

      More than 54 percent of all cotton lint policies sold in Texas in 2011 incorporated the new Cottonseed Endorsement Program, and it is expected that even more producers will add this option to their risk management strategy in 2012.

      Under the endorsement cottonseed is insured against yield losses that might occur during the growing season. There is NO revenue component attached to this program.

      The national cottonseed price for 2012 has been set at 11 cents per pound, or $220/ton. This is two cents higher per pound than the 2011 price.

      On the Texas High Plains, March 15 is the federal crop insurance sales closing date for initiating or cancelling insurance coverage. The projected price for cotton lint in 2012 will be set in early March, and that price is calculated using the average closing price of the December '12 contract for the month of February. As of today, that is trading at about 94 cents.

      "We're hopeful that the market will hold up," PCG's Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "Although current market prices are a far cry from last year's $1.23, we hope that the increase on the cottonseed side will help offset that difference somewhat."

      Signups are under way for the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program in this last year of the 2008 Farm Bill. The 2012 DCP signup deadline is June 1. Growers should note that for the 2012 DCP, advance direct payments are not authorized. For more information or to sign up, please contact your local Farm Service Agency office.

      Looking ahead, the future of the 2012 Farm Bill remains uncertain at this point, and farm policy experts say that odds are about 50/50 for enacting a new farm law this year. Although an election year isn't the prime time for renewing major farm legislation, House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) said in an article from DTN/Progressive Farmer earlier this week, that if the opportunity came up to finish a farm bill this year, he and Senate Ag Committee Chairperson Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) would "move heaven and earth to get it done."


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Commerce: No Solution to

LightSquared's Interference

Friday, January 27, 2012   From the National Cotton Council

      The Commerce Dept.'s National Telecommunications and Information Administration said there is "no feasible solution to the interference problems posed by LightSquared Inc.'s proposed nationwide mobile broadband network."

      LightSquared proposed to offer high-speed wireless internet service on a wholesale basis to as many as 260 million people on airwaves formerly reserved mainly for satellites. However, testing consistently has concluded that the proposed network could interfere with GPS operations.

      In January '10, the Federal Communications Commission gave LightSquared preliminary approval to begin rolling out its network, but said it would withhold final approval until all interference issues are resolved. Since then, the company and the FCC have had intense criticism from Congressional members, GPS device manufacturers, government agencies and corporations that rely on GPS technology. Their primary concern is that LightSquared's network requires the company to deploy significantly more terrestrial base stations, which emit much higher power and create substantial interference with GPS operations.

      LightSquared has proposed moving operations to a different set of frequencies and to lower the power levels of its network transmissions but the latest round of testing has concluded that the interference is not mitigated.

      "No additional testing is warranted at this time," the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation & Timing, an inter-agency body that advises federal departments and agencies on matters concerning GPS, said in a letter to NTIA, which manages the government's use of radio spectrum.

      Testing requested by NTIA has found that LightSquared's transmissions caused harmful interference to the majority of GPS receivers, including those used for aviation. Rick Kaplan, the chief of the FCC's Competition Bureau, said the agency will withhold final approval of LightSquared's network build-out until all testing is completed and the NTIA has reached its conclusions. The FCC manages all commercial and public radio spectrum in the United States, while the NTIA manages the federal government's use of the spectrum.

      "We will do nothing to harm GPS in any way whatsoever," Kaplan said. "It's obviously an essential service to our national defense and our economy."

      The National Cotton Council is an active participant in a coalition composed of commodity and general farm organizations working with farm equipment and GPS manufacturers to ensure GPS services and precision agriculture are not adversely affected by LightSquared.


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Area Ag Conferences Scheduled

The following area ag conferences have been scheduled for February:

February 6 Grain Sorghum Conference, Claude Contact Whitney White, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-226-3021.

February 6 Seed Variety Selection and Economics, Farwell Community Center Contact Benji Henderson, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-481-3619.

February 7 Cotton Conference, Hereford Contact Rick Auckerman, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-364-3573.

February 8 SW Farm & Ranch Classic, Lubbock Memorial Civic Center - Contact Mark Brown, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-775-1680.

February 9 South Plains Ag Conference, Brownfield Contact Chris Bishop, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-637-4060.

February 9 Crop Producers Conference, Dalhart Consumers Coop Contact Michael Bragg, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-244-4434.

February 10 Swisher/Hale County Ag Day, Plainview Contact David Graf, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-995-3726.   February 13 Irrigation Meeting, Panhandle Contact Jody Bradford, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-537-3882.

February 23 Range Workshop, Lipscomb County Contact J.R. Sprague, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-862-4601.

February 27 Irrigation Strategies, Moore County Contact Marcel Fischbacher, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-935-2594.

February 28 Sandyland Ag Conference, Seminole Contact Terry Millican, County Extension Agent-AG, 432-758-4006.

February 29 Gray County Ag Conference, Pampa Contact Brandon McGinty, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-669-8033.

February 29 Ag Production Meeting, Turkey Contact Josh Brooks, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-259-3015.

      If you have another conference to add to this list, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904 and ask for Mary Jane Buerkle or email A complete conference list is at



CCI Promotes U.S. Cotton and COTTON USA

at Heimtextil 2012

      Cotton Council International's COTTON USA pavilion at Heimtextil 2012 attracted international visitors from all stages of the cotton supply chain. The U.S. cotton pavilion featured products from 15 COTTON USA licensees and provided meeting space for other U.S. cotton supply chain representatives to conduct business.

      Heimtextil the largest international trade fair for home and contract textiles, with 2,634 exhibitors from 61 countries offered prime opportunities for the U.S. cotton industry to promote U.S. cotton and to connect with top-level executives in the global cotton supply chain. With CCI, Supima and Cotton Incorporated represented at the COTTON USA pavilion, it functioned as a meeting and information point for all segments of the cotton industry. Visitors found a comprehensive range of information on U.S. cotton at the stand. Additionally, the "Trend Colors to Go" forecast by Cotton Incorporated gave visitors the opportunity to collect trend color samples for spring/summer 2013.

      COTTON USA staff helped identify new business contacts for manufacturers seeking cotton and cotton yarn suppliers. Meetings were conducted with cotton merchants, mills, manufacturers, brands, retailers, cotton and textile organizations and the press. The number of decision-makers and quality of the contacts available reinforced and generated new business contacts for all three U.S. cotton organizations and COTTON USA licensees.

      The organizer of Heimtextil, reported approximately 70,000 visitors from 136 countries. The largest percentage of visitors came from Germany, Italy, Turkey, China, Great Britain, the United States, France, Spain, the Russian Federation, The Netherlands and Poland. More than 64.2 percent of visitors came from outside Germany.

      During Heimtextil, CCI also participated in the international Discover Natural Fibers Initiative and the International Textile Manufacturers Federation Home Textiles Committee meetings held at the show. The DNFI is a coalition between CCI and other international natural fiber organizations to increase awareness of natural fibers, including cotton.