High Plains Harvest Continues

Friday, November 22, 2013                 By Mary Jane Buerkle

      The High Plains cotton harvest has been rolling at a rapid pace over the past couple of weeks, but freezing rain and snow will put a halt to harvesting activity throughout the weekend and into the first part of Thanksgiving week.

      Most delays so far have been due to high morning humidity rather than the typical West Texas winds that blow through the area during the fall months. Some gins in Lubbock County are reported to be at 75 percent completion, with most others in the region nearing or past the halfway point.

      Cotton quality has generally been good, although low micronaire has been an issue. This could possibly be attributed to a still-immature top crop that may have been damaged by a frost. Bark also has appeared in more samples over the past week, with the Lubbock office reporting 20.8 percent bark for the week and just more than 18 percent for the season. Color grades have been excellent, with the vast majority of the crop grading at 11 or 21, and staple length has been good as well with an average at just above 36 for the season.

      In other cotton-related news, Farm Bill talks have faltered this week although at one point, observers were hopeful a deal could be made. As of now, sources say that there is zero chance of coming to an agreement before Thanksgiving, and the December 13 deadline also could be in jeopardy.

      On a positive note, negotiations have advanced much further this time than in the past, with the bill actually being in conference, so there still is a good chance of the bill being concluded this year.


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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.

      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.

     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, and Dr. Joe Outlaw with Texas A&M will give a farm policy update.

     The Water Conservation Advisory Council also 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 info@texascorn.org.


New FSA County Committee Election

Ballots to be Mailed

Friday, November 22, 2013     From the Farm Service Agency

      The County Committee Election ballots that were mailed to producers on November 4 were incorrectly printed with the producer's name and address on the back of the ballot. County committee elections must use a secret ballot so the misprinted ballots cannot be used. Please destroy or recycle the misprinted ballot. If you have already voted, your ballot will be destroyed unopened.

      New ballots will be mailed to producers on December 20, 2013. These ballots will indicate that they are the corrected ballot in several places, including on the outside of the mailing, on the ballot and on the outside of the return envelope.

      The corrected ballot must be returned to your county FSA Office or postmarked by January 17, 2014. All newly elected county committee members will take office February 18, 2014. All county committee members whose term expires on December 31, 2013, will have their term extended to January 31, 2014.

      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.

      More information on county committees, such as the new 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.