SWCA President Dee Vaughan Testifies

at Farm Bill Field Hearing in Kansas

Friday, April 20, 2012                          By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Dumas producer Dee Vaughan, president of the Southwest Council of Agribusiness (http://www.southwest-council.org) and PCG board member, testified today before a panel of House Agriculture Committee members regarding the development of the 2012 Farm Bill.

      Vaughan joined nine other grower witnesses in Dodge City, KS, at a Farm Bill Field Hearing, all of whom urged Committee members U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), and House Ag Committee Chairman, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) to protect crop insurance.

      "I want to add my voice to the chorus and say, whatever you do, please do nothing to harm crop insurance," Vaughan said. "Proposals to link conservation compliance and to impose a pay limit on crop insurance are thinly veiled attempts to kill insurance for farmers. Period."

      In his testimony, Vaughan thanked the Committee for their focus on price protection, and encouraged the Committee to continue on that path.

      "Plain and simple, a collapse in commodity prices is what keeps me up at night, and that is the risk I think this farm bill should address," Vaughan said. "Happily, this approach is also the most cost-efficient.

      "If Washington is truly serious about saving taxpayer dollars and about less government intervention, price-based protection in a Farm Bill, as a compliment to crop insurance, is the way to do it," Vaughan testified.

      Colorado City grower and former National Cotton Council chairman Woody Anderson participated as a witness in the second half of the hearing. He said that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to the 2012 Farm Bill would not adequately address all aspects of production agriculture.

      Anderson noted that although commodity prices are higher than average, so are input costs, resulting in thinner profit margins.

      "When coupled with increasingly unpredictable weather, the risk of producing a crop has never been greater," Anderson said in his testimony.

      The Kansas hearing was the last of the field hearings for the Committee, and another series of hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill will begin next week in Washington, D.C.

      "It's important to consider a variety of perspectives when writing comprehensive legislation," Committee Chairman Lucas said in a news release. "We are continuing our efforts to gather as much information as possible so we can write sound and effective farm policy that works for all of agriculture. We have reviewed spending trends and have heard from our producers on the ground. Now it's time for national agricultural leaders and stakeholders to present their views on farm policy."


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NOAA to Host Drought Forum in Lubbock

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its regional partners in the Southern Great Plains will host a one-day drought outlook and assessment forum in Lubbock on Thursday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the International Cultural Center on the campus of Texas Tech University.

      The forum will bring together a range of weather and climate information providers, along with representatives from a broad cross-section of management and user communities in western Texas, eastern New Mexico, and surrounding areas to (a) assess the current drought status, its historic nature, and the short- and long-term weather and climate outlooks for possible relief; (b) identify key impacts from the drought on a range of physical and socioeconomic systems; and (c) discuss the use of climate information, products, and services in response to this and previous droughts, and identify opportunities for improved response efforts in the future.

      PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett will participate as part of a management panel on drought impacts in the region.

      A catered lunch and refreshments will be provided. A draft agenda and additional meeting information will be posted and updated on the workshop webpage at http://www.drought.gov (choose the "Southern Plains" region from the drop-down menu at top left).


If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Toni Parham at toni.parham@noaa.gov by Monday, April 23.


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      Communication is one of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.'s primary services, and a key element in PCG's communications strategy recently underwent some positive changes.

      PCG Email Services now will be administered through a different program which will allow subscribers to manage their profiles and have more control over which lists they join.

      If you already were on the email list, you should have received an email asking you to re-subscribe. Another way to subscribe to the email list is by clicking here: http://www.plainscotton.org/EmailServices/dada/mail.cgi

      If you have any questions, please contact Mary Jane Buerkle at PCG, 806-792-4904, or maryjane@plainscotton.org.