2014 Seed Cost Calculator Now Available

Friday, February 14, 2014                          By Shawn Wade

      The 2014 version of the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. Seed Cost Calculator is ready and available for download from the PCG website at http://www.plainscotton.org.

      The PCG seed cost calculator is an interactive Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allows producers to calculate an estimated cost per acre, for both seed and technology, based on published suggested retail prices. The calculator has become a popular tool among producers interested in comparing seed and technology prices as they work to finalize their cotton variety selections.

      The 2014 version of the spreadsheet includes listings for 101 conventional, Roundup Ready FLEX, GlyTol, Bollgard II and Widestrike varieties, including numerous stacked gene versions of these technologies that will be available for sale in West Texas in 2014.


USFWS to Host Public Meetings on

AHC Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the

Lesser Prairie-Chicken

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the American Habitat Center, will host three public scoping meetings on the AHC Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken.

      On February 7, 2014, the Service published a Notice of Intent to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed AHC Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken.  The three scoping meetings are intended to gather information from the public on the scope of issues that might be addressed in a draft Environmental Impact Statement.  The Service's draft Environmental Impact Statement will consider the proposed issuance of an Incidental Take Permit, supported by a Habitat Conservation Plan; no action; and a reasonable range of other alternatives. 

      The scoping meetings will be organized in an open house format and are scheduled from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at each of the following locations:

      Tuesday, February 25: Garden City Community Center, 801 Campus Drive, Garden City, KS

      Wednesday, February 26: High Plains Technology Center, 3921 34th Street, Woodward, OK

      Thursday, February 27: Cochran County Activity Center, 200 W Taylor, Morton, TX

      Information on the February 7, 2014, Federal Register notice is available at http://www.fws.gov/southwest, or contact Allison Arnold, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 512-490-0057, or email allison_arnold@fws.gov.

      To view and download draft documents describing the various components of the proposed AHC Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, visit http://lepcstakeholderstrategy.com.


Upcoming Area Ag Conferences

      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 maryjane@plainscotton.org. A complete list of conferences is available at http://www.plainscotton.org/agconferences.html.




PCG's 57th Annual Meeting

Friday, April 4

Lubbock Memorial Civic Center

9 a.m.-Noon


Keynote Speaker: Bruce Vincent

Sponsored by Farmers Cooperative Compress


HPWD Board meets with County Committees

Friday, February 7, 2014    From the High Plains Water District

      Proposed revisions to the rules of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District were discussed during a February 3 meeting of the district's County Advisory Committees in Lubbock.

      More than 75 participants listened as the five-member HPWD Board of Directors outlined proposed revisions to Rule 5, including an annual groundwater production rate (APR) of 18 inches of water (1.5 acre-feet per acre), several alternative methods of reporting groundwater use, and clarification of the definition of contiguous acres.

      Each of the 16 counties within the HPWD service area has an active County Advisory Committee, which serves as a liaison between the district's Board of Directors and residents of their respective county.

      "The input of County Advisory Committee members and the public is critical as the Board considers revisions to the district's rules. This is just one of many meetings being held throughout the district in early 2014 to gain input from all interested parties," said Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo.

      A question and answer session on the proposed rule revisions encompassed most of the meeting.  Among items discussed were different cropping scenarios under the proposed one irrigated crop certification, water banking, protection of private property rights, and groundwater issues to be discussed during the 84th Texas Legislature.

      Tate added that the County Advisory Committee members are the first group to review and offer comments on a proposed set of revised rules that the Board is working to complete by April 1.  The district will conduct rulemaking hearings as required by Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code.  The Board anticipates adopting rule revisions later this year to be effective January 1, 2015.

      "Nothing is set in stone at this time.  The HPWD Board of Directors seek the advice, consent, and support of all stakeholders in the district as we work to develop a more flexible policy and set of rules that stakeholders can agree to.  Once that is accomplished, we can then return to the business of water conservation," Tate said.

      Several County Advisory Committee members agreed.

      "I appreciate the district's Board of Directors working to achieve the best solution.  The one crop certification lets a producer make their own choice—instead of building a bureaucracy to do it for you," said Kevin Riley of Springlake.

      "We must be pro-active when it comes to water issues.  It's important that we come together as a family to take care of business here in the Panhandle-South Plains region," said Chris Grotegut of Dawn.

      County Advisory Committee members also received an update on past, present, and future district policy goals from Precinct Five District Director Ronnie Hopper of Petersburg.  HPWD General Manager Jason Coleman provided an overview of current district work programs and activities.

      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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USDA to Release Census of Agriculture

Data on February 20

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release the first look at the 2012 Census of Agriculture results in a preliminary report on February 20. The data will include number of farms, land in farms (acreage), market value of agricultural products sold including government payments, and demographics at the state and national levels and for Puerto Rico. USDA will release the full Census results, including data to the county level, later in the spring.

       "The Census of Agriculture is a key resource used in evaluating and implementing policies and programs to help the U.S. agriculture economy, invest in rural America and support the next generation of farmers," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I'm looking forward to discussing the most recent results of the 2012 Census at the Agricultural Outlook Forum and how we can best use the data as we move forward in serving America's farmers, ranchers and all those USDA serves every day."

      On February 20 at noon ET, Secretary Vilsack will present the preliminary results from the Census of Agriculture at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, VA. Following the announcement, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will hold a detailed session at 1:30 p.m. ET to provide a more in-depth overview of the preliminary results. The report and all information will also be available online at http://www.agcensus.usda.gov.

       "NASS is excited to provide the first look at the new Census of Agriculture in two weeks and the final report later in the spring," said NASS Administrator Cynthia Clark. "The Agency has made great advancements to gather more information and refine the methodology it uses to produce the most current, complete and accurate statistics."

      Conducted since 1840, the Census is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. For the 2012 Census, to keep up to date with U.S. agriculture and trends, NASS asked new questions on Internet access, regional food systems, biomass production, agro-forestry, and equine.

      NASS also used additional steps in analyzing the data to account for three areas of concern in conducting a survey of this magnitude: undercoverage, nonresponse, and misclassification as to whether a property is a farm or not. This methodology produces final estimates that account for all farms in the United States. As a measure of transparency and data usability, NASS is publishing the coefficient of variation associated with all estimates at the national and state level. As NASS continues to analyze data to the county level, changes in the initial estimates may occur from the preliminary report to the final report.

      USDA is committed to providing equal public access to its data and will release the preliminary 2012 Census of Agriculture results to all parties at the same time. We will announce a date for the full Census release as soon as possible.

      For more information about the Census, including access to the 2012 Census report when it is released, visit http://www.agcensus.usda.gov.