Senate Passes Farm Bill

Friday, June 22, 2012                        By Mary Jane Buerkle

      With a vote of 64-35, the U.S. Senate adopted their version of a five-year Farm Bill on Thursday.

      The bill, considered to be a major overhaul of farm policy, saves $24 billion over ten years. The bill cuts direct payments and puts more of an emphasis on crop insurance instead.

      However, concerns in the Senate bill still will loom as the House begins their development of a farm bill in mid-July. Several amendments passed during Senate consideration, including the Coburn-Durbin amendment, #2439, that would impose a first-ever AGI means testing on crop insurance; the Chambless amendment #2438 that would impose conservation compliance regulations on crop insurance; and the Grassley amendment #2167 that would impose a $75,000 pay limit on marketing loans.

      "We've said all along that we knew this was not going to be a perfect bill," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "We still have some serious concerns about the harm done to crop insurance, and there still is no real price protection in this bill for cotton."

      Verett noted his appreciation for the Senate moving swiftly on the legislation.

      "Now, we have an opportunity to work with the House as they develop their farm bill, and we ultimately hope to have a bill in place by the end of September," Verett said. "PCG pledges to do all we can to ensure that we remain at the table in these negotiations."


Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership

Program Names Class XIII

      West Texas commodity organizations are well represented in the newly announced Class XIII of the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program.

      PCG's Mary Jane Buerkle, Lindsay Kennedy with the National Sorghum Producers, Kody Bessent with the Texas Wheat Producers Board and Brady Miller with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association all were selected for this year's class.

      Others selected from West Texas are Jason Avent with Avent Land Management in Canyon; Bryan Clift with Clift Land Brokers in Amarillo; Casey Cook with Great Plains Ag Credit in Amarillo; Shelley Heinrich with Heinrich Brothers Farms in Lubbock; Timothy Heath Hill with Thoreson Farms in Gruver; Kelly Kettner with Kelly & Deborah Kettner Farm in Muleshoe; Robert Wade King with Underwood Law Firm in Amarillo; Joe Osterkamp with Stonegate Farms in Muleshoe; and Eric Wanjura with Farmers Cooperative Compress in Lubbock.

      The two-year program, led by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, is an intensive study of agriculture worldwide which equips people in the agriculture industry to become leaders in their fields. The course focuses on international communications, ecology, government, policy, economics, social issues and education opportunities.

      Participants, who represent 19 communities across Texas, will begin in College Station on July 10 with sessions on team dynamics and agricultural research tours. In the next two years, the group will visit all regions of the state as well as Washington D.C., Maryland, New York, California and Brazil.

      Class members from the rest of the state include Debra Barrett, Edroy; Linda Galayda, Elkhart; Brandon Grooms, Stephenville; Sally Oglesby Harris, Ozona; Brant Mettler, McKinney; Jon Mixson, Corpus Christi; Kevin Proctor, Ben Wheeler; Jeremy Seiger, Red Oak; Mark Slavens, The Woodlands; Kelley Sullivan, Houston; Mathew Tyler, Malakoff; Brodrey Chase Tyndell, Rosenberg; and Jesse Womack, Austin.

      For more information about TALL, see


Cotton Industry Seeks Volunteer Leaders

Friday, June 22, 2012                          By Shawn Wade

      The success of the High Plains cotton industry, like any group effort, is directly tied to the willingness of qualified individuals to volunteer to serve in various leadership positions. To identify these volunteers, the High Plains cotton industry caucuses each year with other cotton groups within Texas to identify producers interested in serving as a volunteer leader.

      In preparation for this year's caucus, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., encourages all qualified individuals interested in representing the High Plains as a representative to the Cotton Board, National Cotton Council of America (NCC) or Cotton Incorporated to contact PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett to request additional information and learn more about the opportunities that exist for volunteer service.

      PCG officials note that each year a variety of volunteer positions within the NCC and Cotton Incorporated are filled directly through the industry's caucus process.

      In addition to naming representatives to the NCC and Cotton Incorporated, PCG and the Texas cotton industry also work together to identify and nominate qualified individuals to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for possible appointment as a Member or Alternate on the Cotton Board.

      Qualified individuals interested in serving on the Cotton Board, which oversees the highly successful U.S. Cotton Research & Promotion Program, are also encouraged to contact Verett at the PCG office in Lubbock, Texas to request additional information. PCG's telephone number is 806-792-4904.

      To be a qualified producer nominee for the Cotton Board an individual should be actively engaged in cotton production at the time of nomination, be committed to the mission of the Cotton Board and the Cotton Research and Promotion Program and have demonstrated leadership skills and experience.


Editor's Note: The Cotton Board seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all those who qualify for nomination and appointment to the Cotton Board regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, socio-economic status, religion or sexual orientation.


2012 Upland Cotton Loan Chart Now Available

Friday, June 22, 2012                                By Shawn Wade

      The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency released the 2012-crop Upland Cotton Loan Premium and Discount tables in early April and incorporated several changes supported by the cotton industry.

      As has been the case for several years, changes to the 2012 premiums and discounts tables occurred in a very narrow range. The simplest way to describe the impact of the new loan charts is to say that higher quality cotton will be worth slightly more and cotton of lower quality will be worth a little less on the loan chart.

      The first thing that will gain notice in the new chart is the revised groupings for Staple lengths below one inch, the addition of a separate column for Staple 37, and a new column of Staple lengths 38 and longer.

      The changes for Staple length, not surprisingly, provide deeper discounts for Staple 30 and 31 cottons, which get the discounts previously reserved for Staple lengths 26-29 due to the expansion of the short staple groups to include all lengths between 26 and 31.

      With the new groupings cotton Staple 26-29 will be discounted 10-85 points less than 2011, while 30 and 31 Staple cotton will be discounted 35-120 points more than in 2011.

      At the upper end, Staple 37 cotton maintains a premium comparable to previous years, while Staple 38 and longer will see a slight additional premium bump in 2012. In general Staple 32, 33 and 34 cotton will see zero to 25 points of additional discount; Staple 35 and longer cotton will see additional premiums ranging from zero to 50 points depending on the corresponding Color and Leaf grades.

      Unlike some of the changes applied to lower Color/Leaf/Staple combinations, changes in the premiums and discounts for Bark and Extraneous matter, Micronaire, Strength, and Length Uniformity were mostly minor, but do include revised ranges for Strength and Length Uniformity readings.

      In general Strength discounts will become slightly less stringent and discounts applicable to Length Uniformity will be slightly more stringent.

      In the Micronaire table base readings between 3.5 and 4.9 will be valued the same as they were in 2011, but readings below 3.4 and above 4.9 will see discounts increase by 5-20 points.

      The table below provides comparisons between 2011 and 2012 loan values for White Grades 11-41 and Light Spot grades 12-42, Staple 33 through 38.

      Complete 2012 Loan Premium and Discount tables and loan charts with calculated values based on the 2012 schedule of premiums and discounts will be posted on the Plains Cotton Growers website at: A comparison chart can be found at