Texas Commodity Symposium Scheduled for

December 3 in Amarillo

      The fourteenth annual Texas Commodity Symposium will be held Wednesday, Dec. 3, 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.

      Texas Country Reporter's Bob Phillips will present the symposium's keynote address during the Ag Appreciation Luncheon, courtesy of Capital Farm Credit. Texas Country Reporter is a highly acclaimed TV program that celebrates the history, emotion and beauty that make Texas and Texans so unique. Since 1972, Bob Phillips has traveled the back roads of the Lone Star State and shared the stories of real Texans.

      The symposium will examine a variety of issues that impact producers and the agribusiness sector. Featured topics this year include the farm bill implementation, a political outlook for the state, and program updates from NRCS and FSA.

      Speakers include Dr. Joe Outlaw, Professor and Economist, and Co-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University; Harvey Kronberg, Publisher and Editor, Quorum Report; Judith Canales, State Executive Director, Texas Farm Service Agency; and Salvador Salinas, Texas State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service.

      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, BNSF Railway, Capital Farm Credit, DuPont Pioneer, High Plains Journal, Monsanto, National Peanut Board, and Syngenta.

      For sponsorship opportunities or more information, please call (800) 647-CORN (2676) or email info@texascorn.org.


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Voters Elect Seale, Hopper as HPWD Directors

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 From High Plains Water District

      Dan Seale of Lubbock was elected Precinct One District Director and Ronnie Hopper of Petersburg was elected Precinct Five District Director for the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 (HPWD), according to unofficial returns from the Nov. 4 general election.

      Unofficial results for the Precinct One Director race show Seale with 15,472 votes to 13,705 votes for incumbent James Powell of Lubbock.  Powell is an agricultural consultant.

      Seale, a retired HPWD employee, will serve a four-year term representing the portion of Crosby County above the Caprock Escarpment within the district, all of Lubbock County, and all of Lynn County.

      Hopper, an agricultural producer, was elected Precinct Five District Director. He defeated agribusinessman Jess Sammann of Plainview, 2,697 to 2,157 votes. 

      Appointed in 2013 to fill an unexpired term, this is Hopper's first four-year term representing the portion of Floyd County above the escarpment within the district, all of Hale County, and all of Swisher County.

      The Board of Directors will canvass the election returns and declare the official results on Nov. 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the HPWD office, 2930 Avenue Q, in Lubbock. The regular monthly board meeting was moved to Nov. 18 since the district office will be closed Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans' Day.

      Created in 1951 by local residents and the Texas Legislature, the High Plains Water District was created to conserve, preserve, protect, and prevent the waste of underground water within its 16-county service area.  HPWD is the first groundwater conservation district created in Texas.


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Farm Bill Meetings Scheduled

      Mark your calendars for these upcoming Farm Bill meetings:

      Nov. 12 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Hale County Justice Center, 225 Broadway, Plainview. More info: (806) 291-5267.

      Nov. 12 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Moore County Community Building, 16th and Maddox, Dumas. More info: (806) 935-2594.

      Nov. 13 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Sherman County Barn, 501 South Maple St. Stratford. More info: (806) 366-2081.

      Nov. 17 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Wolf Creek Heritage Museum, Lipscomb. More info: (806) 862-4601.

      Nov. 18 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd West, Amarillo. More info: (806) 373-0713.

      Nov. 19 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Ochiltree County Expo Center, 402 Expo Drive, Perryton. More info: (806) 435-4501.

      Nov. 20 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Randall County Extension Office, 200 Brown Rd. Canyon. More info: (806) 468-5543.

      Nov. 25 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Pioneer Room at Silverton Happy State Bank, Main St., Silverton. More info: (806) 823-2522.

      Dec. 4 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Hemphill Co. Exhibition Center, Canadian. More info: (806) 323-9114.

      Dec. 8 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Armstrong County Activity Center, Claude. More info: (806) 226-3021.

      Dec. 9 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 9 a.m., AgriLife Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Boulevard West, Amarillo.

      Dec. 9 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 2:30 p.m. Plainview Country Club, 2902 West 4th Street, Plainview.

      Dec. 10 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 8:30 a.m. Leroy Colgan Bldg., S. 10th St. & S. Houston St. at Forrest Park, Lamesa.

      Dec. 10 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Oldham County Barn, Vega. More info: (806) 267-2692.

      Dec. 10 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 1 p.m. Bayer Museum of Agriculture, 1121 Canyon Lake Drive, Lubbock.

      A complete list of all of these meetings is available on the Plains Cotton Growers website at http://www.plainscotton.org/mj/agconferences/agconferences.html.


FSA County Committee Elections Under Way

Friday, October 31, 2014         From the Farm Service Agency

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard by voting in the upcoming Farm Service Agency County Committee elections. FSA Administrator Val Dolcini announced that beginning Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, USDA will mail ballots for the 2014 elections to eligible producers across the country. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by the Dec. 1, 2014, deadline to ensure that their vote is counted.

      "The role and input of our county committee members is vital as we implement the 2014 Farm Bill," said Dolcini. "New members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of FSA programs. We have seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates willing to serve on county committees, helping to better represent the diversity of American agriculture."

      FSA County Committee members provide an important link between the local agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity support programs; conservation programs; indemnity and disaster programs; emergency programs and eligibility. County committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

      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. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended on Aug. 1, 2014.

      Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week may pick one up at their local USDA Service Center or FSA office. The deadline to submit ballots is Dec. 1, 2014. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 1, 2014. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2015.

      Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members elected by eligible producers. Members serve 3-year terms of office. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year.

      More information on county committees, such as the new 2014 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at http://www.fsa.usda/gov/elections. You may also contact your local USDA Service Center or FSA office. Visit http://go.usa.gov/pYV3 to find an FSA office near you.


USDA Seeks Comments on New Conservation

Stewardship Program Rule

Wednesday, November 5, 2014                 From the USDA

      As the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rapid implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill continues, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced proposed changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program, one of USDA's largest conservation programs for working agricultural lands. 

      The rule also establishes the role of CSP as one of the programs to help the Regional Conservation Partnership Program accomplish its purposes. Vilsack said participants will be delivering more conservation benefits than ever under the revised program rules.

      USDA published an interim final rule containing the statutory changes to CSP in the Federal Register today. USDA is seeking public comments on the rule through Jan. 5, 2015. The public comments will be used to finalize the interim final rule.

      The CSP interim final rule can be viewed at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov and the Federal Register. USDA will publish a final rule, which will establish the program's policy for the life of the 2014 Farm Bill.

      USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service administers CSP, which pays participants for conservation performance — the better the performance, the higher the payment. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil, water, and air quality; water quantity; plant and animal resources; and energy conservation. More than 64 million acres have been enrolled in the program since the launch of the program in 2009.

      Vilsack said NRCS is working to simplify the administrative complexity of CSP by streamlining the regulation.

      For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center.