U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Host

Town Hall in Lubbock June 14

Friday, June 7, 2013                            By Mary Jane Buerkle

      The agriculture sector has a unique opportunity to talk directly with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he hosts a town hall meeting in Lubbock from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Friday, June 14, at the Museum of Texas Tech University – Helen DeVitt Jones Sculpture Court, located at 3301 Fourth Street in Lubbock. Participants are asked to enter through the west doors, which will open at 9:15 a.m.

      "Having Secretary Vilsack in Lubbock is an honor and a privilege, especially at a critical time during which we are trying to get a five-year farm bill passed," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "He truly has an interest in the High Plains, particularly our drought issues, and we look forward to sharing our concerns with him on a variety of fronts."

      There is no cost to attend, but space is limited and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP to Brenda Carlson at brenda.carlson@tx.usda.gov with your full name, organization, email address, and phone number. For questions, call Carlson at (979) 680-5213.


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Welcome Rainfall Accompanied by Hail, Wind

Friday, June 7, 2013                            By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Over the past several days, the sweet sound of rain has lifted many a spirit, but the precipitation unfortunately has come at a price for some producers.

      Violent storms passing over the region brought heavy downpours, winds in excess of 80 mph and large hail that damaged or destroyed cotton, overturned center pivots, and caused structural damage in several High Plains counties. Total acreage affected is not known at this point.

      The first round of strong storms was on May 28, where a couple of large complexes moved from southwest to northeast through the northern portions of the PCG service area. The more recent storm on Wednesday evening began in New Mexico and moved to the southeast before taking a slight turn eastward. The line itself was about 120 miles long.

      Wind was the primary factor in the second storm, as the West Texas Mesonet clocked winds of more than 60 mph at 23 stations between about 8:30 p.m. and 12:10 a.m. as the line of storms swept through the region. The highest wind gust was 84.3 mph, recorded at the station near Wolfforth at 10:25 p.m. Mesonet sites at Slaton and Reese Center also recorded gusts above 80 mph.

      The West Texas Mesonet shows precipitation totals of more than an inch in many areas, but several attending PCG's Advisory Group meeting on Friday noted that the wind probably interfered with the amount of rain actually being recorded. Rainfall amounts reported to PCG ranged anywhere from a trace all the way up to five inches in an isolated part of northern Floyd County. Some counties in the southern and southwestern portions of the PCG service area unfortunately did not receive any rain, but lost cotton acreage due to the fierce wind.

      Time will tell how or even if some of the damaged cotton will recover. One thing Extension agents noted is that thrips are still out and moving around, and recovering cotton is very susceptible to thrips pressure, so producers should be watching for that possibility.   

      PCG will publish an article in next week's Cotton News detailing options for producers affected by these storms.


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Cotton Industry Seeks Volunteer Leaders

Friday, June 7, 2013                               By Shawn Wade

      The success of the High Plains cotton industry, like any group effort, is directly tied to the willingness of qualified individuals to volunteer to serve in various leadership positions. To identify these volunteers, the High Plains cotton industry caucuses each year with other cotton groups within Texas to identify producers interested in serving as a volunteer leader.

      PCG encourages all qualified individuals interested in representing the High Plains as a representative to the Cotton Board, National Cotton Council, or Cotton Incorporated to contact PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett for more information.

      Each year, a variety of volunteer positions within the NCC and Cotton Incorporated are filled directly through the industry's caucus process. In addition to naming representatives to the NCC and Cotton Incorporated, PCG and the Texas cotton industry also work together to identify and nominate qualified individuals to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for possible appointment as a Member or Alternate on the Cotton Board.

      Qualified individuals interested in serving on the Cotton Board, which oversees the highly successful U.S. Cotton Research & Promotion Program, also are encouraged to contact Verett at the PCG office in Lubbock to request additional information. PCG's telephone number is 806-792-4904.

      To be a qualified producer nominee for the Cotton Board, an individual should be actively engaged in cotton production at the time of nomination, be committed to the mission of the Cotton Board and the Cotton Research and Promotion Program, and have demonstrated leadership skills and experience.

      "Whether it is a nomination to serve on the Cotton Board or appointment to a leadership position within the National Cotton Council or Cotton Incorporated, the membership of Plains Cotton Growers has proven to be fertile ground for leaders within our industry," Verett said. "Our industry owes much to the dedicated men and women who step forward to serve their fellow producers. We look forward to extending that tradition of leadership in the years ahead."

      Editor's Note: The Cotton Board seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all those who qualify for nomination and appointment to the Cotton Board regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, socio-economic status, religion or sexual orientation.