SWCA, Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Team Up for Beneficial Fly-In Event
Friday, March 22, 2013 By Mary Jane Buerkle
Thirty-six members of the Southwest Council of Agribusiness and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association converged on Washington, DC, this past week for their annual fly-in event, designed to raise awareness of issues facing agriculture.
The agenda for the week was packed with more than 75 meetings with leaders and staff members from various federal agencies and Congressional offices, including USDA Chief of Staff Krysta Harden and Assistant Secretary Brian Baenig; RMA Administrator Brandon Willis; FSA Administrator Juan Garcia; EPA Agriculture Advisor Sarah Bittleman; meetings with 36 members of the Senate and the House including the Chairman and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Ag Committees, and 33 meetings with key agriculture staffers.
The meetings centered around five key points:
1. Congress Must Pass a 5-year Farm Bill.
2. Congress Must Protect and Strengthen Crop Insurance.
3. The Farm Bill Must Include a Strong Commodity Title.
4. The Farm Bill must not place new regulations on farmers.
5. The Farm Bill must support livestock producers – bring COOL into WTO compliance and avoid disrupting livestock markets.
The groups also highlighted their support of H.R. 935 (Gibbs) and S. 175 (Roberts) to address duplicative pesticide permitting requirements and H.R. 311 (Crawford) and S. 496 (Pryor), which is the FUELS Act to clarify EPA's spill prevention requirements.
They voiced their opposition to adding conservation compliance to federal crop insurance, means testing or pay limiting crop insurance, and S. 446 (Flake) and H.R. 943 (Duncan) which eliminate revenue insurance and are seen by SWCA and MCGA as thinly veiled attempts to eliminate all federal crop insurance.
"It is vital that PCG participate in groups like the Southwest Council of Agribusiness so that we can have a stronger voice for agriculture," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "This is a critical time on the legislative front, and we've had an excellent opportunity this week to get face time with key leaders, but it can't end there."
Nomination Deadline Approaching for
NCC Emerging Leaders Program
Those interested in nominating candidates for the National Cotton Council's newly launched Emerging Leaders Program should have names to Plains Cotton Growers no later than 5 p.m. Monday, April 1. If you are interested in participating, or know someone who would be a good candidate, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904.
The program is an effort aimed at ensuring the U.S. cotton industry benefits from a continuity of sound leadership. Sponsored by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto, the program not only will provide participants with an in-depth look at the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the business and political arenas in which it operates but give them intense professional development training, including communication skills improvement.
"We are grateful to Monsanto for agreeing to provide financial support for this important endeavor," NCC Chairman Chuck Coley said. "This program will help identify and train those who are committed to taking on the challenges of guiding this great industry in the future. The Council relies on highly effective industry leadership to communicate cotton policy and issues to Congress, the media and other agricultural groups. That's why we need industry members who are willing to step up and assume greater responsibilities."
Among Emerging Leaders Program objectives will be to help participants gain a better understanding of: 1) the NCC's role, including its programs, policy development and implementation process; 2) Cotton Council International's role in developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products; 3) the broad spectrum of issues that affect U.S. cotton's economic well-being; and 4) the U.S. political process. The program also will encourage participants to increase their involvement in these and other NCC activities.
This leadership initiative also will focus on helping participants improve their communications skills, including presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.
Each class will consist of eight to 10 industry members and class members will participate in three sessions during the year.
The first session will provide a NCC orientation, professional development/communication skills and a briefing on agribusiness. The second session will enable participants to see policy development at the NCC's Annual Meeting while the third session in Washington, D.C., will focus on policy implementation and international market development.
There is no age limit for program candidates whose primary livelihood must be derived from at least one of the seven raw cotton industry segments. Nominations will be made by one of the following: a certified interest organization, NCC officer or NCC director. Selections will be made by the NCC chairman in consultation with the NCC President's office and NCC Member Services.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 By Beck Barnes, Cotton Grower
In early March, Monsanto unveiled its plans to introduce triple-mode-of-action herbicide tolerant technology into the cotton market. The company hopes to introduce the technology, known as Bollgard II XtendFlex, into cotton by the 2015 growing season. This timeline is contingent, however, on federal registration of the technology and its accompanying herbicide products.
As part of the approval process for any new agriculture technology, USDA considers public input in its decision making. The federal group values input from the various voices of rural America and others in the agriculture community when, in this case, weighing whether or not to deregulate cotton that is tolerant to dicamba and glufosinate, in addition to glyphosate.
Monsanto is encouraging cotton producers and other agriculture professionals to take part in this process, in hopes that they will voice their support of the new technology.
"Part of this deregulation process is a public comment period, where USDA opens a website where interested folks could go online and state their case of support for the technology, and why its valuable to them, and why they want to see deregulation of that technology to be available for commercial sale," says Jordan Iverson, Monsanto cotton traits marketing manager.
Cotton industry professionals and weed experts have voiced their opinion that a new mode of action, such as dicamba tolerant technology, is needed in cotton production to protect against the further development of herbicide resistance.
Monsanto has developed a website to assist those interested in participating in the public comment process. Those interested are encouraged to visit www.roundupreadyplus.com/supportdicamba/cotton to develop a comment and find out more about comment submission.
The deadline for all comments to be received is April 29, 2013.
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 http://www.plainscotton.org/agconferences.html
March 25 - Beef Cattle Short Course, Post - Contact Greg Jones, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-495-4400.
March 26 - Rebuilding the Cow Herd, Rita Blanca Coliseum, Dalhart - Contact Mike Bragg, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-244-4434.
March 26 - Business Expo, Mallet Center, Levelland - Contact Kerry Siders, Extension Agent-IPM, for more information at 806-894-3159.
March 27 - Pre-Plant Cotton Update, Tahoka - Contact Bryan Reynolds, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-561-4562.
March 28 - Beef Issues Meeting, Clarendon - Contact Leonard Haynes, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-874-2141.
March 29 - Prepping for Peanut Workshop, Brownfield - Contact Chris Bishop, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-637-4060.
April 1 - iPad Training, Muleshoe - Contact Curtis Preston, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-272-4584.
April 3 - Rolling Plains Ag Conference, Scurry County Coliseum, Snyder - Contact Greg Gruben, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 325-573-5423.
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.