NASS Slightly Raises High Plains

Cotton Production Estimates

Friday, December 13, 2013              By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Although it wasn't by much, the National Agricultural Statistics Service did raise their district estimates for the Texas High Plains from 2.445 million bales in the November report to 2.475 million bales in their report released on Tuesday.

      Harvest is almost complete on the High Plains, and some gins are nearing the finish of their season. Snow and ice have delayed harvest for some producers, but activity has increased over the past week as growers complete their 2013 cotton crop.

      "This number is getting a little closer to our expectations, and while we've had some high-yielding cotton of excellent quality, the 2013 crop was yet another challenging one, weather-wise," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "We hope that the Farmers' Almanac is indeed correct in their assessment that we'll have an unusually wet winter so we can go into the 2014 crop with some optimism."

      According to the NASS report, that 2.475 million bales for the High Plains would be just more than 60% of the state's total crop of an estimated 4.1 million bales, which was unchanged from the estimate in the November report.

      Planted acres and harvested acres are unchanged from the November report – 3.76 million acres planted on the High Plains, and 1.8 million acres expected to be harvested. Yield estimates increased for both portions of the Plains Cotton Growers service area, with an average yield of 896 pounds per acre in the northern half and 589 pounds per acre in the south.

      The world's cotton crop for 2013/2014 is estimated to be 116.8 million bales. The U.S. upland cotton crop production estimate is 12.443 million bales, down slightly from the November report.

      Quality remains good, with 21 being the predominant color for the Lubbock, Lamesa and Abilene classing offices over the last several weeks and for the season. Average staple length for the season is well over 35 for the Lubbock and Lamesa offices. Both offices have seen bark content increase over the past week.



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Master Marketer Program Begins

in January at Vernon

Friday, December 13, 2013     From AgriLife TODAY

      The Master Marketer Program, only offered in a region about every five years, is set to return to the Rolling Plains in 2014, according to Stan Bevers, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist in Vernon.

      The training dates will be Jan. 22-23 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center near Vernon. The 64-hour curriculum is offered as four, two-day sessions held every two weeks, and is the most intensive marketing/risk management training provided by Extension anywhere in the U.S., Bevers said. Other dates are Feb. 5-6, Feb. 19-20 and March 5-6.

      The Master Marketer Program is a national, award-winning curriculum that provides in-depth, intensive risk management education training. It teaches participants how to develop marketing plans, evaluate marketing alternatives, manage production and price risk, and helps teach the skills and discipline necessary to execute those plans, he said.

      "It's been six years since the last Master Marketer training was held in Vernon," Bevers said. "If a producer ever thought about attending the training or a past graduate wants a refresher, they need to sign up early. It may be their last chance for a while."

      The registration fee is $340, which includes meals and materials. The registration fees fall short of covering all costs of the program, he said.

      Most of the costs are covered by grants and partnerships with other organizations, including the Texas Corn Producers Board, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board, Texas Farm Bureau, the Cotton State Support Committee, Texas Wheat Producers Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency.

      Anyone interested in attending can get more information by contacting their local AgriLife Extension county agent or by calling Bevers at 940-552-9941, ext. 231. Registration is available online at Due to the hands-on nature of the course, attendance is limited. The deadline for registration is Jan. 15.

      Bevers said in post-training surveys in the previous years, 186 Vernon Master Marketer participants indicated their gross income increased on average $34,000 annually based on what they had learned in the training.

      "There is no reason that program graduates shouldn't receive this level of increased returns for the next 10 years," he said. "Interested participants should weigh carefully the registration fee, the time commitment and travel costs associated with the program against the potential of a $250,000-plus increase in returns over the next decade when considering signing up for the program. Personally, I think it is a no brainer."

      The instructors are top professionals from industry and universities from around the country, Bevers said.

      Case studies, group discussions and simulation exercises will be utilized to provide students with experience using real tools they can apply on their farm and ranch operations when they leave the class, he said.