Senate Passes Farm Bill; President Signs

Friday, February 7, 2014                         By Mary Jane Buerkle

After three years of negotiating, farmers and ranchers across the nation finally have a Farm Bill.

The U.S. Senate earlier this week passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, the Farm Bill, by a vote of 68-32. President Obama signed the bill today in Michigan, Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow's home state.

"We appreciate the Senate for coming together in bipartisan fashion to pass this bill and move it forward to the President for his signature," Plains Cotton Growers President Craig Heinrich, a cotton grower from Slaton, said. "We commend the House Agriculture Committee and Chairman Frank Lucas, along with the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, for creating a legislative package that saves money, cuts the deficit, and reforms and streamlines programs."

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill last week, 251-166. PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett noted that the Agricultural Act of 2014 advanced relatively quickly through both the House and Senate because of excellent leadership, and Congressional leaders from West Texas played key roles on the bill's creation and passage.

"We are fortunate to have strong West Texas representation on the farm bill conference committee in Congressmen Mike Conaway and Randy Neugebauer," Verett said. "They understand why this bill is so important to our area and to the state, and have been actively working for agriculture, which is the cornerstone of our regional economy."

However, Verett said, PCG is disappointed that Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn chose not to support the Agricultural Act of 2014.

"This bill saves billions of dollars while achieving meaningful reforms, and is the best we could expect in today's budgetary and political climate," Verett said. "Our farmers need some assurance that they will have the tools they need to continue to grow our food and fiber."

Plains Cotton Growers will join with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Tech University, and other ag-related organizations to host educational seminars regarding implementation of the Farm Bill.

The bill includes a transition program for cotton in the 2014 crop year, since enactment will come too late for USDA and the private sector to offer the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX). Crop insurance continues to be the backbone of the farm safety net for cotton, and the bill includes several important improvements in the crop insurance program that will allow farmers to better tailor their crop insurance to the appropriate risk.


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"TCGA╔Taking A Stand In Texas"

Is Theme of TCGA Trade Show April 3 and 4

      The Texas Cotton Ginners Association's 107th Annual Meeting and Cotton Trade Show is scheduled for April 3 and 4 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.

      The trade show will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, and from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 4. The show is a chance for ginners, employees, and customers to see the latest in ginning technology and to meet others in the industry to discuss important issues and the latest trends. It also is an opportunity for attendees to educate company directors, stockholders, and other key personnel on the role ginners play in the industry. 

      More information, including a complete schedule of events, hotel reservation form, meeting pre-registration and event forms is available on the TCGA website at


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Upcoming Area Ag Conferences

February 10 – Hale/Swisher Crops Conference, Ollie Liner Center, Plainview – Contact Gary Cross, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-291-5267.

February 12 – Hub of the Plains Ag Conference, KoKo Palace, Lubbock – Contact Mark Brown, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-775-1680.

February 12 – Weed Management, Friona – Contact Benji Henderson, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-481-3619.

February 14 – Cotton Conference, Hereford – Contact Rick Auckerman, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-364-3573.

      February 17 – Crop Producers Meeting, Consumers Coop, Dalhart – Contact Mike Bragg, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-244-4434.

      February 18 – Irrigation Technology, Lipscomb – Contact J.R. Sprague, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-862-4601.

      February 19 – Other than Cotton Meeting, Texas Forest Park Community Center, Lamesa – Contact Gary Roschetzky, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-872-3444.

      February 20 – Sandyland Ag Conference, Seminole – Contact Terry Millican, County Extension Agent-AG, 432-758-4006.

If you have another conference to add to this list, or if you have an agenda you'd like to link, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904 and ask for Mary Jane Buerkle, or email