November District Estimates: High Plains

Production at 2.445 Million Bales

Friday, November 8, 2013                 By Mary Jane Buerkle

      The National Agricultural Statistics Service released their November Crop Production Report today with estimates that High Plains cotton growers will produce 2.445 million bales, down 55,000 bales from the September report. The Northern High Plains area increased by 25,000 bales, but the Southern High Plains decreased by 80,000.

      Yield per acre increased for the Northern High Plains, from 856 pounds in September to 885 in the November estimate, a number that has continued to inch up throughout the season. The Southern High Plains dropped from 610 pounds in September to 582 in November. Harvested acres remained the same as the September report – 415,000 in the NHP and 1,385,000 in the SHP.

      Statewide, the production number again remained the same at 4.1 million bales. The nationwide estimate for upland cotton increased to 12.5 million bales, up slightly from September but down 25 percent from 2012.

      Ginners and growers in PCG's service area report higher-than-expected yields in some areas as harvest activity picks up across the region. Quality remains good, with predominate color at 21 for the week and 11 for the season in the Lubbock office. Staple length is just above 36 and average micronaire for the week was 3.68.


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Texas Commodity Symposium Scheduled for

December 4 in Amarillo

      The Texas Commodity Symposium will be held Wednesday, December 4, in Amarillo in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room at the Amarillo Civic Center. The free event will begin at 9:30 a.m.

      The symposium, which is hosted by the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Peanut Producers Board and Texas Wheat Producers Association, will conclude with the annual Ag Appreciation Luncheon, presented by the symposium and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Ag Council.

      "The program again brings pertinent information to those in the agricultural industry, as well as the local community," TGSA Executive Vice President Wayne Cleveland said.

     "Agricultural production plays an important role to the area's economy, as it brings in more than $12.2 billion to the High Plains," CPAT Executive Vice President David Gibson said. "Events such as this symposium are a great way for us to provide pertinent information to farmers and ranchers, as well as the communities they support."

     Wyman Meinzer, the official photographer for the state of Texas, will present the symposium's keynote address during the Ag Appreciation Luncheon. Meinzer's photography is renowned, and in his more than 33 years as a photographer he has photographed and/or written 24 large format books and his work has been featured on the cover of more than 250 magazines.

     "Meinzer's work is nothing short of breathtaking, and his eclectic experience across the state brings a unique perspective and interesting tale," TPPB Executive Director Shelly Nutt said.

     The symposium will examine a variety of issues that impact producers and the agribusiness sector. Featured topics this year include the farm bill and agricultural policy, estate planning, and program updates from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency. Bob Maurer with Manduca Trading in Chicago will provide a market and weather outlook.

     Additionally, the Water Conservation Advisory Council will recognize its 2013 Blue Legacy Award in Agriculture recipients at the event.

     The event is made free of charge for attendees because of the generous support of the symposium's sponsors, including ARMtech Insurance Services, Bayer CropScience, DuPont Pioneer, High Plains Journal, Monsanto, and National Peanut Board.

      For sponsorship opportunities or more information, please call 800.647.CORN (2676) or email


West Plains Ag Conference Scheduled

for December 12 in Levelland

Friday, November 8, 2013 By Steve Byrns, AgriLife TODAY

      The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct their annual West Plains Ag Conference from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. December 12 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center at South Plains College, 1401 South College Ave., Levelland.

      "A wide range of agricultural topics will greet participants to this year's conference," said Kerry Siders, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent for Hockley and Cochran counties.

      "This year's conference will address production, pest management and other issues facing cotton and grains," he said. "More specifically, we will answer producers' questions on managing herbicide-resistant pigweed, how this year's corn crop did and what's ahead in cotton transgenics, to name a few."

      Registration, which includes lunch, is $35 at the door. For more information, contact Siders at 806-894-3150,

      Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units — one laws and regulations, two integrated pest management and two general — will be available, as will an additional five Texas Certified Crop Adviser credits.

      The program topics and speakers, who are all stationed at Lubbock except for Siders, will include:

       Managing Weeds in a Resistance Situation, Dr. Peter Dotray, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas Tech University weed scientist.

       Cotton Variety Trial Update, Dr. Mark Kelley, AgriLife Extension agronomist.

       Cotton Insect Pest Update, Dr. Apurba Barman, AgriLife Extension entomologist.

       Cotton Disease Update and Management, Dr. Jason Woodward, AgriLife Extension pathologist.

       Grain Insect Pest Update, Dr. Patrick Porter, AgriLife Extension entomologist.

       Grain Production, Dr. Calvin Trostle, AgriLife Extension agronomist.

       Pesticide Laws and Regulations, Siders.


FSA Announces the Resumption of 2013 Crop

Commodity Loan Disbursements

Monday, November 4, 2013    From the Farm Service Agency

      USDA's Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced on Monday that the processing and disbursement of 2013 crop commodity loans has resumed. Crop year 2013 commodity loan-making was suspended October 1, 2013, to make changes necessary to accommodate the automatic funding reductions known as sequester. Sequestration is mandated by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 as amended by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

      "We must comply with the laws established by Congress to reduce funds in accordance with sequestration policy," said Garcia. "We regret the delay this has created in USDA issuing marketing assistance loans because we know how critical the loans are to many farmers' cash flow at this time of year."

      The commodity loan programs provide interim financing to producers for agricultural commodities stored after harvest and then sold throughout the year. Producers requesting 2013 crop commodity loans on their harvested commodities now will have a 5.1 percent reduction to the loan amount upon its disbursement, due to the sequestration. Commodity loans issued by marketing associations and loan servicing agents are also subject to the sequestration reduction.

      During the period that loan-making was suspended, producers were still able to submit loan applications to their county FSA offices, marketing associations and loan servicing agents. The processing and disbursement of these applications will begin immediately.

      For further information about commodity marketing loans, farmers may contact their local county FSA office or go online to

      USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


FSA Urges Farmers and Ranchers to

Vote in County Committee Elections

Monday, November 4, 2013    From the Farm Service Agency

      USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced on Monday that the 2013 FSA County Committee Elections began November 4, 2013, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is December 2, 2013.

      "The role and input of our county committee members is more vital than ever at a time when our country faces important choices regarding the funding and operation of our government," said Garcia. "New county committee members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of disaster and conservation programs. With better participation in recent years, we have also seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates, helping to better represent the richness of American agriculture."

      County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

      To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended on August 1.

      Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center. December 2, 2013, is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than December 2. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office January 1, 2014.

      Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the new 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at or at a local USDA Service Center.

      USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.