Plains Cotton Growers Disappointed in
House Farm Bill Failure
Friday, June 21, 2013 By Mary Jane Buerkle
Cotton growers across the High Plains expressed disappointment in the House of Representatives' rejection on Thursday of H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (FARRM).
"This legislative package adequately met the needs of cotton producers across the Cotton Belt, and was the best we could have expected in this budgetary climate," Plains Cotton Growers President Craig Heinrich, a cotton grower from Slaton, Texas, said. "This bill saved money, reformed and streamlined programs, and gave farmers assurance that they could continue to grow food and fiber to feed and clothe this nation and the world, and it is a shame that it could not make it to conference where some key differences could have been resolved."
PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett expressed appreciation to the House Agriculture Committee on both sides of the aisle for their efforts.
"The strong leadership of Chairman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member Collin Peterson, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Conaway and the entire House Ag Committee have done everything they could to cut the deficit, reduce the size and scope of government, and achieve necessary reform through the creation of this farm bill," Verett said. "They are to be commended, and we will continue to stand behind them as we all work to pass a five-year bill that works for agriculture to support America's economy."
The final vote tally on the bill was 195 ayes and 234 noes. 171 Republicans voted for the bill, including PCG service area Representatives Neugebauer, Conaway and Thornberry, and 62 voted against it, including Texas Representatives Brady, Culberson, Gohmert, Hensarling, and Stockman. Twenty-four Democrats voted for the bill and 172 voted against it, including Texas Representatives Castro, Doggett, Gallego, Al Green, Gene Green, Hinojosa, Jackson Lee, E.B. Johnson, O'Rourke, and Veasey.
The failure certainly wasn't due to lack of effort from the agricultural sector. Throughout the week, Verett was part of a group assembled by the Southwest Council of Agribusiness that called on more than 150 Congressional offices throughout the week, some more than once.
However, several factors, including but not limited to a White House veto threat and amendments offered toward the end of the floor debate, contributed to shifting votes to force the bill into failure.
Although it is not yet certain as to what exactly happens next, House leadership is considering all options and a plan could be revealed as early as next week.
Rainfall Accompanied by Severe Weather
Has Mixed Effects on High Plains Cotton
Friday, June 21, 2013 By Mary Jane Buerkle
It's been a couple of years since High Plains cotton growers have experienced anything close to what could be called a typical start to a growing season, but so far the month of June has brought both beneficial rainfall and damaging hail and wind events.
What acreage has not been completely destroyed and failed out is left in limbo at this point, with the most recent hail storms occurring over the past week. The most significant damage reported to PCG from those storms has been in southeastern Lubbock County and northwestern Lynn County, and Hockley County.
Acreage estimates will remain unknown for the next couple of weeks as insurance adjusters review damage and producers wait to see what cotton could survive, and weigh their options when it comes to replanting. PCG published an options guide in last week's edition of Cotton News, which can be accessed at http://www.plainscotton.org/esw/news/cotnewsback/2013/CN130614.htm.
However, producers have benefited from rainfall that will boost dryland crops in many areas and relieve pressure on irrigation systems.
"It's always disheartening to hear of crop loss, but the precipitation certainly will help many producers and get this 2013 crop off to a good start, in addition to boosting morale and reminding all of us that it indeed can rain," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "So far, June is shaping up to be more typical than in recent years, and we just pray that we continue to get good, timely rains over the remainder of the growing season so we have an opportunity to produce more cotton than in 2011 and 2012."
On the marketing side, cotton was trading slightly lower at press time but December futures remained at around the 85-cent mark.
Friday, June 21, 2013 By Scott A. Russell
Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest is scheduled to be in Brownfield on Thursday, June 27 to discuss ways that local producers can impact decisions made in Washington.
In his presentation at the Family Life Center, 506 N. Atkins Street in Brownfield from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Combest will address the importance of local producers staying abreast of legislative issues and voicing their opinions to elected officials. He also will host a Q&A session where local producers can ask questions about the legislative process and the status of Farm Bill legislation.
For more information, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office in Terry County, (806) 637-4060.