USDA Extends Census Deadline,

Reminds Producers It's Not Too Late

      Farmers and ranchers across the country are heeding the call to have their voices heard and their farms represented in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. With 1.4 million Census forms returned, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is thanking everyone for speaking up for their communities, their industry and their future by sending in their Census form. For those who missed the deadline, USDA reminds producers that their farm is important and needs to be counted. As a result, Census forms are still being accepted.

      "Information from the Census of Agriculture helps USDA monitor trends and better understand the needs in agriculture," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Providing industry stakeholders, community leaders, lawmakers and individual farm operators with the most comprehensive and accurate U.S. agricultural reports, we all help ensure the tools are available to make informed, sound decisions to protect the future of American agriculture." 

      Conducted every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. It looks at land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. The deadline for submitting Census forms was February 4, and many farmers and ranchers have responded. However, those who did not respond by the original due date will receive another copy of the form in the mail to give them another opportunity.

      "Accurate and comprehensive information from all farmers and ranchers is important so that the Census can provide a true picture of U.S. agriculture today and help everyone plan appropriately for future," said Vilsack. "This level of information is only gathered and released once every five years, so we need the participation of every producer to ensure the agricultural industry and rural America receive the representation that will provide them with the most benefit and value."

      Farmers and ranchers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

      For more information about the Census, including helpful tips on completing your Census form, visit or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828). The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility.


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


NCC Survey Projects 27 Percent Decline

in Upland Cotton Acreage Nationwide

Saturday, February 9, 2013 From the National Cotton Council

      U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 9.01 million acres of cotton this spring, down 26.8 percent from 2012, according to the National Cotton Council's 30th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey. (see table at

      Upland cotton intentions are 8.81 million acres, down 27.0 percent from 2012, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 203,000 acres represent a 15.0 percent decline. The survey results were announced today at the NCC's 2013 Annual Meeting being held February 8-10 in Memphis.

      Assuming slightly above-average abandonment in the Southwest region due to the dry conditions and all other states set at historical averages, total upland and ELS harvested area would be 7.65 million acres, which is 15.2 percent below planted area. Applying state-level yield assumptions to projected harvested acres generates a cotton crop of 12.86 million bales, compared with 2012's total production of 17.01 million bales.

      NCC Vice President Gary Adams said that, "Planted acreage is just one variable determining final production. Weather is often a more significant determinant, particularly weather developments in the southwestern U.S. With this in mind, we could see the U.S. crop ranging from a low of 9.5 million bales to a high of 17.0 million bales. "

      The NCC survey, mailed in mid-December 2012 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked producers for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2012 and the acres planned for the coming season.  Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

      Adams noted, "Projections by market watchers have been calling for reduced acreage in 2013, and the NCC survey agrees with those expectations.  Cotton farmers are responding to market signals. Relative prices of cotton and competing crops have been the primary factor influencing U.S. acreage."

      Survey respondents throughout the Southeast indicated a decline of 18.5 percent, lowering the regional total to 2.24 million acres. Respondents indicating a decline in cotton acreage are shifting to corn and soybeans, with soybeans more heavily favored as the alternative. Those planting more acres of cotton indicated fewer acres in the "Other Crops" category, which are peanuts in this region.   

      In the Mid-South, survey results show that growers intend to plant 1.00 million acres, which is half of last year's total. The decline in cotton acres is consistent with relative returns for cotton and competing crops based on current futures markets.

      Adams stated, "Based on USDA costs of production and trend yields, the shortfall between cotton net returns and returns for corn and soybeans is substantially larger than in 2009 – the most recent low in acreage."

      Survey responses said that corn accounts for slightly more than half of the planned decline. Soybeans account for the remainder of the decline in acres, with many of the soybeans being double-cropped with wheat.  

      Southwest growers are indicating total upland acres of 5.23 million, down 24.4 percent from last year. The respondents planting less cotton said they intend to move those acres into grain sorghum, wheat and corn, in that order. The survey indicated that some producers are planning to increase cotton, with some of those acres coming from grains but the larger reason underlying the increase appears to be weather. Growers unable to plant last year due to drought conditions are expecting to sow more acres in 2013.  

      In the West, a 12.2 percent reduction is expected with the regional total at 341,000 acres, and the vast majority of those acres moving into specialty crops. For ELS cotton, U.S. acreage is pegged at 203,000 acres, down 15 percent. As is the case of upland cotton, ELS prices down from year-earlier levels are inducing a shift to other crops. (see table at    Adams reminded NCC delegates that the expectations are a snapshot of intentions based on market conditions at the time of the survey. Actual plantings will be influenced by changing market conditions and weather.


National Ag Day Expands Celebration for

40th Anniversary

      In recognition of the 40th Anniversary of National Agriculture Day, March 19, 2013, the Agriculture Council of America has announced a full two-day lineup of high-profile events in the nation's Capitol.

      "This is undoubtedly the most important Ag Day program in our history," said Jenny Pickett, President, Agriculture Council of America. "Our goal is to ensure the eyes of the nation are on the contributions American agriculture makes not just here in the United States, but also around the world. That's the message we're taking to the Hill, and the message that will be carried through communities across America."

      2013 events include:

      March 18, 2013

       Farm to Fork Politics: An insider's look at the year ahead for food and agriculture—A panel discussion moderated by Sara Wyant of Agri-Pulse and featuring J.B. Penn, Chief Economist, John Deere; Dr. Keith Collins, former Chief Economist, USDA; and B. Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of the Research and Information Services Division, National Restaurant Association. Hart Senate Office Building Room 902, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

       Agri-Pulse Reception follows in the same room. No charge to attend reception.

      March 19, 2013

       USFRA Food Dialogues: The Next Generation of Food & Farming—A special event featuring young influencers exploring food trends and advancements in modern agriculture. Location TBA, 9:30–11:00 a.m.

       Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon—A luncheon emceed by legendary agricultural broadcaster Orion Samuelson and featuring the Outstanding Young Farmer honorees and members of Congress. Cannon Caucus Room, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. FREE OF CHARGE

       Celebration of Ag Dinner—This event will feature the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, and honor the winners of the Ag Day essay, video essay and poster contests. USDA Whitten Patio, 5:00 p.m. Tickets: $150/person or $1,500 for reserved table of 10

      Complete details and registration information can be found at

      National Ag Day is made possible by a number of partnering organizations and sponsors. 2013 Partners include John Deere, Successful Farming, DTN/The Progressive Farmer, Farm Progress, AgHub, CHS, U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council. A complete listing can be found at




PCG's 56th Annual Meeting

Friday, April 5

Lubbock Memorial Civic Center

9 a.m.-Noon


More information coming soon!


Upcoming Area Ag Conferences

      NOTE: A complete list, along with program agendas when made available, can be found on the Plains Cotton Growers website at

      February 26 - Irrigation Management Meeting, Groom - Contact Jody Bradford, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-537-3882.

      February 26 - Pre-Watering Irrigation/Weed Control Meeting, Lamesa - Contact Gary Roschetzky, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-872-3444.

      February 26 - Ag Conference, Pampa Annex - Contact Brandon McGinty, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-669-8033.

      February 27 - Turkey/Quitaque Ag Producers Meeting, Turkey - Contact Nathan Carr, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-823-2522.

      February 28 - Sandyland Ag Conference, Seminole Civic Building - Contact Terry Millican, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 432-758-4006.

      February 28 - Irrigation Strategy Workshop, Stratford - Contact Marcel Fischbacher, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-935-2594.

      If you have another conference to add to this list, or if you have an agenda you'd like to link, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904.