High Plains Water District Explains Proposed

"One Crop" Certification Option

Friday, January 17, 2014   From the High Plains Water District

      Presentations at recent grower conferences and stories in the media have referenced a proposed "one crop rule" being discussed by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) Board of Directors.

      "We want everyone to know that this is not a rule—but rather a proposed certification," said HPWD Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo. "This is one of several options being considered by the Board of Directors as we look at possible revisions to HPWD Rule 5. It's important that we have good locally-determined water conservation policies. It's for this reason that the Board is actively seeking input from County Advisory Committees and residents within the district," Tate said.

      Possible revisions to Rule 5 include adoption of an 18-inch-per acre (1.5 acre-feet) annual production rate as well as several options to allow producers a choice in reporting groundwater use. This includes the proposed "One Crop Certification" and alternative methods such as meters, nozzle packages, and energy consumption.

      The proposed certification would allow agricultural water users to certify their compliance with the allowable production rate by verifying the production of a single crop per irrigated acre. Based on existing usage data, producers of a single irrigated crop traditionally apply no more water than the proposed 1.5 acre-feet per acre limit. Because of this, the proposed "One Crop Certification" may be a viable option for producers.

      For those who practice double cropping, the rules would provide for alternate methods of reporting, such as nozzle packages and run times, utility bills, water meters, or other acceptable methods.

     "Producers would voluntarily agree not to double crop under the proposed 'One Crop Certification.' They would plant and harvest only one crop per acre per year. Crop rotation will certainly be allowed as would cover crops for conservation purposes. We are working to develop the logistics of the certification process and will be visiting with commodity groups, area bankers, area industries, and other interest groups before any final decisions are made," Tate said.

      Confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) may be able to report their water use by animal inventory or head count.

      He added that the Board is also reviewing the contiguous acres definition and water banking provisions.

      "Our County Advisory Committees will meet and work through the proposed rules. HPWD will have additional meetings to seek input from the public and other interested groups. We encourage everyone to contact their respective District Director or County Advisory Committee members to give them your input. It is our desire as a Board to take the necessary time and seek input from all parties to establish rules within the district," Tate said.

      Additional information is available by contacting the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District in Lubbock at (806) 762-0181.

      Created in 1951 by local residents and the Texas Legislature, the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 is charged with the responsibility of conserving, preserving, protecting, and preventing waste of groundwater within its 16-county service area. The High Plains Water District is the first underground water conservation district created in Texas.


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Lubbock County GOP, Ag Groups to Host Texas

Agriculture Commissioner Candidate Forum

      The Texas Cotton Ginners Association, Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council, Texas Association of Dairymen, Texas Independent Ginners Association, and the Lubbock County Farm Bureau, in coordination with the Lubbock County Republican Party, will host a candidate forum on Wednesday, January 22, at Farmers Cooperative Compress, 3800 Southeast Drive in Lubbock. The forum will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude by 3 p.m.

      Scheduled to attend are candidates for the Republican Nomination for Texas Agriculture Commissioner; including J. Allen Carnes, Tommy Merritt, Sid Miller, and Eric Opiela. The forum is open to all from West Texas who have an interest in the future of agriculture.

      For additional information contact Carl H. Tepper at 806-470-2354, or Dan Jackson at Meadow Co-op Gin, 806-539-2241.


Lesser Prairie Chicken Stakeholders'

Conservation Strategy Information

Meeting Scheduled for January 23 in Morton

Friday, January 17, 2014                           By Shawn Wade

      The next landowner outreach and information meeting for the Stakeholders' Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the LEPC Habitat Exchange Program has been scheduled Thursday, January 23, in Morton, Texas.

      The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. CDT at the Cochran County Activity Center in Morton. A meal will be provided to attendees. RSVPs are appreciated to help plan for the meal; please contact Shawn Wade at PCG at (806) 778-6256.

      Non-governmental stakeholder groups that encompass agriculture, the oil and gas industry, and the environmental community have come together to develop the Stakeholders' Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

      The Stakeholder Conservation Strategy and the LEPC Habitat Exchange are independent efforts and are not affiliated with any other LEPC conservation programs, including the Interstate Working Group's LEPC Range-Wide Conservation Plan.

      The primary purpose of Stakeholders' Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie Chicken is to provide a market-based response to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services proposed listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a "Threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act.

      Once approved by the USFWS, the Stakeholder Conservation Strategy will work to translate interest in continued energy production inside the LEPC range, and the resulting habitat mitigation need, into opportunities for voluntary landowner participation through the sale of mitigation credits, while also satisfying the desires of the USFWS and environmental community to benefit the species via voluntary conservation. 

      Successful implementation of the Stakeholders' Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie Chicken will provide beneficial habitat preservation and restoration for the species through the creation of a market-based mechanism that provides opportunities for private landowners to develop alternative income streams in exchange for the implementation of habitat conservation and management practices that benefit the species and facilitate the continuation of valuable oil and gas activity within the LEPC range.

      Agriculture groups involved with the effort include Plains Cotton Growers, the Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas Farm Bureaus and many other Ag groups representing landowners within the currently identified LEPC range.


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Area Ag Conferences Scheduled for January

      January 20 – Cotton Production Meeting, Groom – Contact Jody Bradford, CEA-AG, 806-537-3882.

      January 20 – Hansford-Hutchinson Cotton Production Meeting, Spearman – Contact Kristy Sough, CEA-AG, 806-878-4026.

      January 20 – Market Outlook Crop Budget, Spearman – Contact Burton Williams, CEA-AG, 806-659-4130.

      January 21 – South Plains Ag Conference, First Baptist Church, Brownfield – Contact Chris Bishop, CEA-AG, 806-637-4060.

      January 22 – Lamb County Ag Conference, Littlefield – Contact Logan Newsom, CEA-AG, 806-385-4222.

      January 22 – Southern Mesa Ag Conference, Texas Forest Park Community Center, Lamesa – Contact Gary Roschetzky, CEA-AG, 806-872-3444.

      January 23 – Caprock Crop Production Conference, Friends Unity Center, Muncy – Contact Caitlin Jackson, CEA-AG, 806-675-2347.

      January 24 – Llano Estacado Cotton Conference, Muleshoe – Contact Curtis Preston, CEA-AG, 806-272-4584.

      January 27-28 – Futures and Options, Dalhart – Contact Mike Bragg, CEA-AG, 806-244-4434.

      January 27 – Ag Extravaganza, Happy State Bank, Silverton – Contact Nathan Carr, CEA-AG, 806-823-2522.

      January 29 – Alternative Crops Meeting, Tahoka – Contact Bryan Reynolds, CEA-AG, 806-561-4562.

      January 29 – Futures and Options, Perryton – Contact Scott Strawn, CEA-AG, 806-435-4501.

      January 30 – Southeast Panhandle Ag Conference, Memphis – Contact Josh Brooks, CEA-AG, 806-259-3015.


USDA Announces Cotton Board Appointments

      Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the appointment of 17 members and 17 alternates to The Cotton Board. The Cotton Board is appointed by the Secretary to oversee the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. All appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2014, and ending Dec. 31, 2016.  

      The re-appointed members are: Walter L. Corcoran of Eufaula, Ala.; David J. DeFelix of Campbellton, Fla.; James L. Webb of Leary, Ga.; Suzanne R. Drouhard from Danville, Kan.; and Dwight W. Menefee from Lake Arthur, N.M. Also reappointed are Arthur W. James, Jr. of Sumter, S.C.; Willie L. German, Jr. of Somerville, Tenn.; Madison Farmer of Lamesa, Texas; Lance V. Everett of Stony Creek, Va.; Gary E. Ross from Yardley, Pa.; Michael D. Wallace from Bentonville, Ark.; Flora J. Wong from Mercer Island, Wash.; Peter M. McGrath from Dallas, Texas; Arlene M. Eastwood from Neptune, N.J.; and A. Mark Neuman from Champaign, Ill.

      The re-appointed alternate members are: Timothy J. Mullek of Robertsdale, Ala.; Alan J. Edwards of Jay, Fla.; Thomas L. Lahey of Moscow, Kan.; Jackie L. Joy of Antesia, N.M.; and Clint D. Abernathy of Altus, Okla. Francis G. Darby from Chester, S.C.; Debra R. Barrett from Edroy, Texas; Marvin L. Everett from Capron, Va.; Helga L. Ying from Piedmont, Calif.; Tara E. Hoffmann from New York, N.Y.; and, Kristine T. Arabia from Hudson, Ohio have also been reappointed as alternates.

      New to the board are members Kim M. Mayberry-Holifield of Kennett, Mo. and Jess M. Nichols of Altus, Okla.; and alternates Benjamin R. Grimsley of Weston, Ga.; John H. Hunter of Essex, Mo.; Catherine S. Via, Bells, Tenn.; Sarah M. Gilligan of San Francisco, Calif.; Joe D. Long of Hollywood, Fla.; and, James C. Self III, of Greenwood, S.C.

      Secretary Vilsack also selected importer Stefanie M. Rotta of Elkins Park, Pa. as an alternate member whose term expires on Dec. 31, 2014.

      The Cotton Research and Promotion Program is designed to advance the position of cotton in the marketplace. It is funded by assessments on all domestically produced cotton and imports of foreign-produced cotton and cotton-containing products, and is authorized by the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees operations of the Board.