WANTED: Rain and a Farm Bill

Friday, July 27, 2012                           By Mary Jane Buerkle

      With August rapidly approaching, most producers will end the month still waiting for two essential elements of their operations: a good rain and a new farm bill.

      Spotty showers have fallen across the High Plains during the month of July, but rain totals of any consequence for growers certainly have been few and far between. Totals range from 2.5 inches for the month so far in the Hereford area to just more than a tenth of an inch in other parts.

      "We have lots of acreage out there where there was enough moisture to plant and get a decent stand, but the lack of rain has greatly affected dryland acreage," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "Irrigated acreage is faring better for the most part, but rain is still needed to help relieve pressure on irrigation systems."

      Verett noted the possibility of seeing acreage losses this year that exceed the High Plains' long-term average of 18 to 20 percent.

      "Overall, we expect 2012 will be a better year, but not without challenges," Verett said. "We haven't seen intense heat and wind like last year, but the lack of rain certainly could affect yields, especially as we go into peak development over the next few weeks."

      Drought conditions across the nation have prompted members of Congress to demand quick action on farm policy. However, a one-year extension of the current bill could be the more likely, albeit short-term, solution.

      House Agriculture Committee leaders have said they are ready to support an extension, provided they will have the opportunity to negotiate a comprehensive five-year bill in conference with the Senate. But opponents see the potential move as the proverbial "kicking the can down the road."

      PCG will continue to work with the Southwest Council of Agribusiness and the National Cotton Council to gather information regarding the development of the farm bill. The fastest way to receive that information is via e-mail. Those interested in joining the e-mail list should subscribe to PCG Email Services by clicking on the following link: http://www.plainscotton.org/EmailServices/dada/mail.cgi.


If you received a survey from the

National Agricultural Statistics Service in the mail,

please fill it out and return it as soon as possible!

Your response is important in helping ensure the accuracy of

yield and production estimates during the growing season.


Reception Scheduled to Honor

Texas AgriLife Extension Leader Smith

      A reception honoring Dr. Ed Smith, Director of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will be held on Tuesday, August 14, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on the campus of West Texas A&M University in the Ag & Natural Sciences Building. 

      Dr. Smith has been a great leader for Texas AgriLife Extension Service for several years and all are welcome to help celebrate his many years of service and commitment to the people of Texas.



West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute

Annual Conference Set for September 6

      The annual meeting of the West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Scottish Rite Temple - Learning Center, located at 1101 70th Street in Lubbock, (South Loop 289 and Interstate 27).

      This year represents the 60th meeting of WTACI, an unincorporated organization of dealers, industry representatives, agricultural producers, scientists, educators, and agribusiness members who support education and research programs promoting safe and effective use of agricultural chemicals and protection and preservation of the area's natural resources.

      Topics to be discussed at the conference include various aspects of pest identification and management, pesticide application and disposal, research efforts on row crops in the High Plains, and much more.

      The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has approved a total of 6.5 continuing education units (CEU's) in the areas of IPM (1.0), Pesticide Laws and Regs (1.0), Drift Minimization (1.0) and General (3.5). In addition, the WTACI program has been approved for 4.0, 2.0 and 0.5 hours of Pest Management, Crop Management and Professional Development, respectively. A detailed list of presentations and speakers will be available shortly.

      Pre-registration currently is available online at http://wtaci.tamu.edu/onlineregistration.php. Registration forms have been mailed. On-line registration fees are $75 for conference attendees and $300 for a booth and must be completed or postmarked by August 31. On-site registration will begin at 7:00 the day of the conference and will cost $95 for attendees and $325 for booth sponsors.    Lunch will be provided as part of the registration fee.

      Opportunities also exist to contribute to the WTACI Scholarship Fund, which has provided more than $60,000 in scholarships to students majoring in agricultural fields at many Texas universities.

      Contact Jason Woodward at 806-632-0762 or jewoodward@ag.tamu.edu for questions about the program and CEU's. If you have trouble or questions regarding registration contact David Pointer, 806-746-4021 or dlpointer@ag.tamu.edu.



NRCS to Host Local Work Group Meetings

      The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts will host Local Work Group meetings in August and September. The purpose of the public meetings is to receive input from farmers, ranchers, local agencies, organizations, local agricultural leaders, businesses, and other individuals that have an interest in natural resource concerns.

      Area meetings coming up in the next two weeks are as follows:

      August 1 – 9:30 a.m., Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips Admin Board Room, 603 S. Main Street, Stinnett

      August 3 – 9 a.m., Security State Bank, 501 Phelps Avenue, Littlefield

      August 8 – 8:45 a.m., USDA Service Center, 107 W. 11th Street, Quanah

      August 9 – 9:45 a.m., USDA Service Center, 920 Bray Street, Paducah

      August 9 – 8:30 a.m., Crowell State Bank Room, 100 E. Commerence Street, Crowell

      August 9 – 1 p.m., USDA Service Center, 237 S. Main, Follett

      For more information, contact the local USDA-NRCS office in your county, listed under USDA in the Yellow Pages, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.


Want the facts about the U.S. agriculture and farm policy?



FSA County Committee Nomination

Deadline is August 1

      USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass, reminds farmers, ranchers and landowners to nominate farmer and rancher candidates to serve on their local FSA county committee by the August 1, 2012 deadline. 

      Elected county committee members serve a three-year term and are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity, and price support programs, as well as other important federal farm program issues.

      "County committee members are a valuable asset because they are local producers who participate in FSA programs and have a direct connection to farmers and ranchers in the community," Douglass said. "I would like to see a high level of participation in this year's nomination and election process." 

      Producers may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Organizations that represent minority and women farmers and ranchers may also nominate candidates. Nominees must participate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area (LAA) in which the person is a candidate. To become a nominee, eligible individuals must sign form FSA-669A. The form and more information about county committee elections are available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.

      "It is important that the county committee reflects the demographics and agricultural interests of the community these individuals represent," Douglass said. "I strongly encourage all producers, including women, minority and beginning farmers and ranchers to participate in the nomination and election process."

      County committees are comprised of three to five members elected by local producers. All newly elected county committee members and alternates will take office January 1, 2013.

      Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on August 1, 2012.

      For more information about county committees, please contact your local FSA office or visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/.


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Cotton Council International's

Cotton Day Japan 2012 Successful

      CCI Cotton Day Japan 2012 received more than $4 million in equivalent advertising value. This year's Cotton Day in Japan surpassed expectations in both popularity and exposure. CCI Japan recognized three celebrities for their support of cotton and COTTON USA Mark- labeled apparel. Japanese media covered the COTTON USA awards segment of Cotton Day 138 times, including 34 television programs throughout Japan, making more than 144 billion consumer impressions.