Producers Prepare for 2013 Crop; PCG

Continues Work on State and Federal Issues

Friday, April 12, 2013                      By Mary Jane Buerkle

      One month from now, cotton planting on the High Plains will be in full force, and producers around the area are making preparations to plant somewhere between 3.7 and 4 million acres of cotton, according to PCG estimates. This would be a significant portion of the 5.5 million acres expected to be planted statewide.

      In some areas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents report near-normal planting intentions. Late seed bookings could cause a bit of a bottleneck closer to planting time, so producers should take delivery now, seed representatives said.

      At this point, rainfall is the biggest factor going into the 2013 crop. Late freezes have impacted the wheat crop, and experts at PCG's Advisory Group meeting today said that several producers were planning to harvest their wheat for hay and plant cotton. Moisture-wise, several portions of the PCG service area are in fairly decent shape, at least compared to the past two years. However, a good rain would give irrigated producers a break from pre-watering and allow dryland producers a good start.

      On the weed resistance front, experts report that many producers are going back to applying preplant herbicides, attempting to stave off any breakouts of resistant weeds.

      "Producers are really paying attention to this resistance issue," Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Kerry Siders said. "We hope this issue will be fairly short-lived."

      Cotton markets have slipped some over the past week, with December futures at press time at about 85 cents. However, with an insurance price of 83 cents and grain prices lower than a few months ago, the relative "security" of cotton has tipped the balance in favor of the fiber crop.

      PCG continues to monitor issues at the federal and state level. The House and Senate Ag Committees should begin their Farm Bill markups within the next few weeks. The American Farm Bureau Federation released their proposal for a Farm Bill earlier this week.

      "Although the cotton industry certainly shares their goals of helping reduce the federal budget deficit and providing an adequate safety net for producers, it ignores the two years of work by the cotton industry to reach a negotiated settlement on the Brazil WTO case," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "It is not good for cotton producers."

      Water is the primary state issue at hand for PCG, and Senate Bill 302 has passed the Senate and been sent to the House. It is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday (April 16). PCG is opposed to SB 302 and its House companion bill, HB 3535. Based on PCG analysis, the bill weakens local control of groundwater conservation districts.           


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Crop Insurance Industry Releases

"Crop Insurance: Just the Facts"

Friday, April 12, 2013                         From Farm Policy Facts

      As crop insurers prepare for the Farm Bill and funding deliberations in the future, National Crop Insurance Services has released a detailed question-and-answer resource laying out the facts about crop insurance and dispelling some of the most common arguments against crop insurance put forth by its critics.

      "Crop insurance is the single most important risk management tool available to farmers today, and the public needs to understand why it is so valuable, how it benefits taxpayers and how it helps maintain a stable agriculture for the benefit of consumers," said Tom Zacharias, president of NCIS.

      "Crop Insurance: Just the Facts" is housed in a new tab on the Crop Insurance Keeps America Growing website page "About Crop Insurance" where it will be a continuously updated, convenient and accurate resource for industry, farmers and consumers. The information can be directly accessed at

      "This resource will provide a much-needed explanation on the value and need for crop insurance," Zacharias said.

      The series covers important topics such as how crop insurance benefits the public, economics of the industry, the globalization of risk management, benefits to producers, and many other important issues.

      Zacharias noted that when it comes to the mechanics of crop insurance policies, why farmers spent more than $4.1 billion out of their own pockets last year purchasing it, and why it is the risk management tool of the future, there is a lot of misinformation and misrepresentation about the program. "Crop Insurance: Just the Facts," lays out the details and provides a balanced and reasoned perspective," he said.



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

      April 17 – Pesticide Applicator Training and Pesticide Handler (Green Card) Training, Brownfield - Contact Chris Bishop, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-637-4060.

      April 25 - Cattle and Wildlife Meeting, Oldham County Barn, Vega - Contact Michael Wilkes, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-267-2692.

      April 26 - Grape Day, Plains - Contact J.W. Wagner, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-456-2263.

      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.