ACRE Program Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday in Lubbock

Friday, May 24, 2013                           From AgriLife TODAY

      The federally funded ACRE program might be a viable option for West Texas producers seeking to recoup drought-related losses to this year's crop, experts say, but decisions must be made quickly with June 3 the sign-up deadline.

      Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency to conduct three educational meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 28 and 29, to help producers decide whether ACRE, the acronym for the Average Crop Revenue Election program, is right for them.

      The first meeting, a "brown bag seminar," will be held at noon Tuesday, May 28, in Lubbock at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock located on U.S. Highway 1294 about a half mile east of Interstate 27 just north of the Lubbock Airport.

      The second and third meetings will be on Wednesday, May 29. Producers can choose between an 8 a.m. meeting at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo, 7887 N. U.S. Highway 87, or a 1 p.m. meeting at the Roscoe Co-Op Gin in Roscoe.

      "I have received numerous calls and emailed questions about ACRE," AgriLife Extension Economist Bill Thompson of San Angelo said. "While ACRE may not have appealed to many cotton producers in the past, the relatively low cost of signing up for this single crop year may make it worth looking into for both cotton and wheat producers this time around."

      Thompson said there is a lot of speculation and some confusion regarding the program.

      "Most of our producers have not been involved with ACRE, but the recent extension of parts of the 2008 Farm Bill through September 2013 has given them the opportunity to again consider signing up for the program," he said.

      Thompson said the program provides payments when the state revenue and individual farm revenue drop below calculated guarantee levels. He said relatively few farmers participated in ACRE because the sign-up was binding for the remainder of the 2008 farm bill. This year there is a higher probability of an ACRE payment, and "we won't be tied to the program past the 2013 crop year."

      "This rare late sign-up due to the Farm Bill extension, gives wheat producers a pretty good idea as to whether or not their own revenue will fall below ACRE's benchmark, which would leave just the statewide estimates in question," Thompson said.

      There will be no charge for the meetings, and Thompson said the formal trainings would be short. He added that agency personnel would stay as long as possible to run the numbers for anyone interested.

      To learn more about ACRE and to view spreadsheets and hypothetical calculations, information is available at



Planting, Policy, Precipitation Activity Mark

Busy Week for High Plains Cotton

Friday, May 24, 2013                           By Mary Jane Buerkle

      It's been an eventful week for the cotton industry, with activity increasing everywhere from cotton fields across the High Plains to the floor of the United States Senate.

      Producers have been planting cotton at a more rapid pace over the last week after cool spring temperatures delayed progress by as much as two weeks. Some counties report planting progress at more than 50 percent, and numbers will rise significantly over the next week as northern and western counties in the PCG service area face their May 31 final plant date for federal crop insurance purposes. The central part of the region has until June 5, and southern portions of the area have until June 10. Some areas south and east of the Caprock have until June 20 to finish planting.

      Moisture remains an issue across the region, but spotty rains have benefited some fields. On Thursday evening, May 23, showers and thunderstorms brought much-needed precipitation to areas south and east of Lubbock, along with some damage, unfortunately. Although more is expected over the weekend, the good, slow, general rain that would be most beneficial continues to elude the High Plains.

      As the drought lingers, so do Farm Bill negotiations, although the Senate continued their swift handling of the bill this week as amendments moved across the floor. For the most part, the Senate has heeded the original recommendations of their Ag Committee and defeated harmful amendments, but unfortunately the Durbin/Coburn Amendment #953, which would reduce premium support if adjusted gross income is more than $750,000, passed 59-33. PCG, along with the National Cotton Council and the Southwest Council of Agribusiness, actively opposed this amendment.

      "We greatly appreciate everyone who has contacted our Senators in this process, and your support has been beneficial in keeping this vital piece of legislation intact with most of the harmful amendments being deflected so far," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "That being said, we still have work to do after the Memorial Day recess when the debate resumes and more harmful amendments come up for consideration."

      One of those harmful amendments has been offered by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Amendment #1083 would prohibit mandatory or compulsory checkoff programs.

      "Checkoff programs are not taxes; they are producer-funded and established by referendum where the producers get to choose whether or not they want to continue the program," Verett said. "If it were not for these programs, we would not be able to conduct the research and promotion activities that have advanced agriculture by leaps and bounds."

      The Senate will not vote again until June 3. The House is expected to begin their floor debate of the farm bill in mid-June.