NCC Stresses Importance of Effective STAX

Friday, April 12, 2013        From the National Cotton Council

      In a statement distributed to news media, the National Cotton Council says farm policy should maintain the underlying structure of the shallow loss crop insurance product known as the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX).

      The statement noted that the U.S. agricultural sector faces the difficult task of developing new policies that will meet the necessary budget constraints. Furthermore, the U.S. cotton industry also must devise policy that will resolve the World Trade Organization dispute with Brazil. To achieve that objective, two years ago, cotton industry leaders proposed a voluntary, shallow loss crop insurance product known as STAX. The product, when considered by the House and Senate agriculture committees during the 2012 debate, was slightly modified. However, the underlying structure remains: a shallow loss area-wide revenue insurance product that serves as a replacement to upland cotton's direct and counter-cyclical program (DCP) because the target price provisions of the program were found objectionable by a WTO panel.

      The U.S. cotton industry first defended STAX from some U.S. commodity and farm organizations which opposed shallow loss revenue insurance products, in part, arguing that shallow loss plans distorted plantings and encouraged risky behavior. Subsequent analysis has not substantiated either of these concerns. The NCC offered STAX as a replacement for current upland cotton policy only. In keeping with longstanding tradition, the NCC made no recommendations regarding policies for other crops.

      Since 2010, under the provisions of the Framework Agreement, the governments of Brazil and the United States have held consultative meetings on the GSM-102 export credit program and cotton portions of the WTO dispute. These discussions intensified as Congress began to consider multi-year farm legislation. 

      Brazilian officials have consistently and publicly stated that target price or reference price provisions are the most objectionable of all policy options. In order to provide an equitable option for cotton in the absence of a target price, it is essential that the STAX crop insurance product include an 80 percent premium subsidy, the harvest price option and the protection factor. Each of these options has a successful track record in existing insurance products. The cotton industry's proposal was designed to be as consistent as possible with existing products. Further, STAX should be made available to cotton growers independent of any underlying coverage. Given cotton's unique situation, it should have some policy differentiation if prices were to weaken and other row crops have an option for target price protection.


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USDA Announces 2013 Cotton Loan

Rate Differentials

Monday, April 15, 2013 From the USDA Farm Service Agency

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency has announced the 2013 crop loan rate differentials for upland and extra long staple cotton. The tables of these loan rate differentials are available on the FSA Price Support Division website at

      These differentials, also referred to as loan rate premiums and discounts, have been calculated based upon market valuations of various cotton quality factors for the prior three years. This calculation procedure is identical to that used in past years. The Commodity Credit Corporation adjusts cotton loan rates by these differentials so that cotton loan values reflect the differences in market prices for color, staple length, leaf, extraneous matter, micronaire, length uniformity and strength.

      The 2013-crop differential schedules are applied to loan rates of 52.00 cents per pound for the base grade of upland cotton and 79.77 cents per pound for ELS cotton. The loan rate provided to an individual cotton bale is based on the quality of each individual bale as determined by Agricultural Marketing Service classing measurements.

      Further program information is available from Scott Sanford at (202) 720-3392 or by email at



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Texas Cotton Producers Inc. honored with

AgriLife Extension Partnership Award

Friday, April 9, 2013          By Steve Byrns, AgriLife TODAY

      The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service today paid tribute to one of its staunchest industry supporters.

      Texas Cotton Producers Inc. was presented with the Extension Partnership Award during its April 9 board of directors meeting and "Cotton Day at the Capitol" event in Austin.

      "We confer the award in tribute to this organization's long-time engagement with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service," said Dr. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director at College Station. "The support of the board members and their predecessors has significantly enhanced the outreach and impact of our educational programs, as well as the recognition of AgriLife Extension educators."

      Texas Cotton Producers Inc., headquartered in Austin, consists of nine certified cotton producer organizations that represent Texas growers on the state and national levels.

      The organization has worked on a number of endeavors in concert with AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and others to promote the interests of Texas cotton growers. These efforts included formation of the statewide integrated pest management program, Texas Pest Management Association, Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program and Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.

      In addition, Cotton Incorporated's Texas state support committee relies on Texas Cotton Producers to oversee an average $1.25 million annually for research and education projects, including funds that support the efforts of AgriLife Extension specialists, county agents and integrated pest management agents, as well as AgriLife Extension's Premier Cotton Educator Program, Master Marketer Program, and Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program.

      Young people across the state, likewise, benefit through support from Texas Cotton Producers, Inc. for 4-H projects, career days and college scholarships to Texas A&M and Texas Tech universities.

      "Texas Cotton Producers Inc. has demonstrated an enduring commitment to Extension education, as well as the teaching and research of Texas A&M AgriLife," Steele said. "We deeply appreciate their support."

      Board chairman Doyle Schniers of San Angelo accepted the award.  The nine member organizations are: Blackland Cotton and Grain Producers Association, Cotton and Grain Producers of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, El Paso Valley Cotton Association, Plains Cotton Growers, Rolling Plains Cotton Growers, St. Lawrence Cotton Growers Association, South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association and the Trans-Pecos Cotton Association.

      Since 1999, the AgriLife Extension Partnership Award has recognized vital alliances with agencies, organizations and others outside the Texas A&M University System whose support and collaboration has significantly enhanced the outreach and impact of Extension education for the people of Texas.



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 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.



Behind Door Number Nine: Hayden Panettiere

Latest Cotton Commercial Highlights Product Range & Media Integration

Friday, April 12, 2013                    From The Cotton Board

      Since the 2009 re-launch of The Fabric Of Our Lives¨ campaign from Cotton Incorporated, television and Internet viewers have become accustomed to the signature closet-door framing device. The doors of the ninth commercial in the campaign open to reveal Hayden Panettiere as the latest face, form and voice to promote cotton's role as a versatile textile fiber. The commercials will begin airing as thirty- and fifteen-second spots on television and select Internet outlets beginning April 15, 2013; and will be supported by digital assets linking consumers to a wide range of cotton fashion at a range of price points.

      "For this commercial we wanted a celebrity with an all-American, girl-next-door quality," says Ric Hendee, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Cotton Incorporated. "Hayden had the look and the country cross-over sound we were looking for."

      The criteria was strategic, building on the celebration of American style theme of the 2012 commercials that culminated in the second Cotton's 24Hour Runway Show in South Beach, Miami this past March. "The commercial celebrates American style and American originals like country music, cotton denim, and, of course, U.S. cotton growers who are the number-one exporters of cotton to the global textile industry," adds Hendee.

      Supporting the commercials are a series of related digital assets on the campaign Web site, There, visitors can explore Hayden's Closet to learn more about her individual style, and to link directly to online retailers with comparable apparel at a range of price points. Within the Closet environment is a new feature underscoring cotton's appropriateness for any occasion.

      Ten occasion themed options - such as Day To Night, At The Office, Outdoor, and Showstopper - present ensemble options and link directly to retailers selling the items. Related to this is another new feature in which a Cotton Incorporated trend forecaster curates accessory options for the themed looks; again, directing the consumer to an online shopping venue.

      "The campaign gets refreshed each year with new talent and new supporting assets that are designed to remind consumers cotton is the fabric of our lives," concludes Hendee.

      The commercial and related digital assets were conceived and executed by DDB New York, the agency of record for Cotton Incorporated.