NASS Raises Texas, High Plains Cotton

Production Estimates for 2014 Crop

Friday, January 16, 2015                     By Mary Jane Buerkle

      According to the latest estimates from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, High Plains cotton growers will produce 3,465,000 bales of cotton for the 2014 crop. This is an increase of 49,000 bales from the December report.

      Yield estimates dropped from 714 to 705 pounds per acre in the northern half of the Plains Cotton Growers service area. However, NASS reports that growers in the southern half will produce an average of 541 pounds per acre, up more than 50 pounds from the December report.

      According to NASS, Texas cotton growers are projected to produce 5.98 million bales of upland cotton for the 2014 crop, an increase of 30,000 bales from the December report. The statewide figures are up 43 percent from the 4.1 million bales produced in Texas in 2013, and the 2014 crop would be the largest since 2010.

      Nationwide, growers are slated to produce almost 15.5 million upland bales, up slightly from December's report of 15.3 million.

      A small amount of cotton remains in High Plains fields across the region. Icy and snowy weather continues to cause harvest delays but is boosting soil moisture. A handful of gins have completed operations but the majority will wrap up within the next few weeks, as producers should be able to take advantage of nice weather to finish harvest.

      Kenny Day, area director for the USDA Cotton Classing Office in Lubbock, said quality is slipping slightly on cotton that had to weather late-season precipitation events. He said the significant impact on the loan value right now is bark, where percentages have been running at about 60 percent as compared to the season average of 25 percent. Day expects classing operations in the Lubbock office to be complete by mid-February.


Important Farm Bill Deadlines Approaching

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 By Blair Fannin, AgriLife TODAY

      Farmers have several important decisions to make under the 2014 farm bill, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.

      Producers have the option to chose between two safety net programs: Price Loss Coverage, also known as PLC, and Agricultural Risk Coverage, and the opportunity to reallocate base acres and update payment yields.

      "These are five-year decisions," said Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and AgriLife Extension economist. "Farmers have to decide what is best for their operation, knowing that their choices will extend through the life of the farm bill."

      The deadline for base allocation and yield update is Feb. 27. The 2014 farm bill ARC/PLC election deadline is March 31.

      "I can imagine some farmers are thinking that is a few months away," Outlaw said. "The actual deadline may be sooner for some. If a producer wants to purchase the Supplemental Coverage Option, or SCO, from their crop insurance agent, this decision will need to be made during the normal insurance sign-up. They are ineligible for SCO if they eventually chose ARC. With the early planting dates of South Texas, the de facto deadline is the crop insurance purchase deadline, which will be January 31. Farmers need to make their ARC/PLC decision before they meet with their crop insurance agent."

      To assist farmers with these decisions, several web-based decision aids were developed under a Farm Service Agency grant by the National Association for Agriculture and Food Policy – a coalition co-led by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The decision aids can be accessed at

      Outlaw said he encourages farmers to use these resources if they have not already done so.


Want the facts about the U.S. agriculture and farm policy?


Upcoming Area Ag Conferences,

Farm Bill Meetings

      January 20 – Terry/Yoakum Crops Conference, Terry County Senior Citizens Center, Brownfield. Contact J.W. Wagner, CEA-AG, (806) 456-2263.

      January 21 – Caprock Crop Production Conference, Muncy. Contact Caitlin Jackson, CEA-AG, (806) 675-2347.

      January 21 – Texas Alliance for Water Conservation Water College, Bayer Museum of Agriculture, Lubbock. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

      January 22 – Southern Mesa Ag Conference, Lamesa. Contact Gary Roschetzky, CEA-AG, (806) 872-3444.

      January 22 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, Party House, U.S. Hwy 385 N between Seminole & Seagraves.

      January 23 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, Armory Building, Ball Park Drive & McKinley St., Levelland.

      January 26 – Marketing Outlook 2015, Spearman. Contact Kristy Slough, CEA-AG, (806) 878-4026.

      January 26 – Cotton Production Meeting, Spearman. Contact Kristy Slough, CEA-AG, (806) 878-4026.

      January 27 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, Center for Housing and Community Development, 1400 Avenue K, Tahoka.

      January 27 – Crop Budgeting/Irrigation Analyzer, Perryton. Contact Scott Strawn, CEA-AG, (806) 435-4501.

      January 28 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, Plains Community Building, 1006 Avenue G, Plains.

      January 27-28 – Red River Crops Conference, Fair Park Auditorium, 1000 Commerce St., Childress. Contact (940) 937-2351.

      January 29 – Farm Bill Meeting, 1:30-4:30 p.m., American Legion, Seagraves Hwy, Brownfield.

      February 2 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, Forrest Park Building, 814 S. Houston, Lamesa.

      February 4 – Hub of the Plains Ag Conference, Lubbock. Contact Mark Brown, County Extension Agent-AG, (806) 775-1680.

      February 6 – Cotton Conference, Hereford. Contact Rick Auckerman, CEA-AG, (806) 364-3573.

      February 6 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center, Lubbock.

      February 9 – Farm Bill Meeting, 9 a.m.-noon, County Extension Office, 200 W. Taylor, Morton.

      A complete list of meetings is at


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Ag Secretary Vilsack Announces

Cotton Board Appointments

Friday, January 9, 2015                      From The Cotton Board

     Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of 12 members and 14 alternates to The Cotton Board. The Cotton Board is made up of cotton producers and importers appointed by the Secretary to oversee the Cotton Research & Promotion Program.

      Cotton Board Chairman David Grant, a producer from Garysburg, NC, was pleased with Secretary Vilsack's appointments saying, "I look forward to working with the new appointees and gaining their diverse perspective about the activities of our Board and our industry, as well as leaning on the experience and knowledge of the Members and Alternates who have been re-appointed to serve."

      The newly appointed member is: Debra R. Barrett, Producer, Edroy, TX. The newly appointed alternate members are: Chuckie Ward, Importer, Hickory, NC; Marshall D. Draughn, Importer, Severna Park, MD; Pamela Hunter, Importer, Frisco, TX; Donna B. Winters, Producer, Lake Providence, LA; David Dunlow, Producer, Roanoke Rapids, NC; Michael Popp, Producer, El Campo, TX; and Dustin Mancebo, Producer, Dos Palos, CA.

      The re-appointed members are: Rodger C. Glaspey, Importer, Fresno, CA; Patricia M. Reber, Importer, Plymouth, MN; Carlos Moore, Importer, Naples, FL; Maureen Gray, Importer, New York, NY; Debi M. Gregg, Importer, Huntington Beach, CA; Aaron A. Barcellos, Producer, Los Banos, CA; George G. LaCour, Jr., Producer, Morganza, LA; Marty E. White, Producer, Jonesboro, AR; James C. Robertson, Jr., Producer, Indianola, MS; David M. Grant, Producer, Garysburg, NC; and T. Mark Hegi, Producer, Petersburg, TX. The re-appointed alternate members are: Courtney OKeefe, Importer, Quincy, MA; Stefanie M. Rotta, Importer, Elkins Park, PA; Richard B. Bransford, Producer, Lonoke, AR; Tom J. Gary, Producer, Greenwood, MS; and Bryan K. Patterson, Producer, Amherst, TX. Secretary Vilsack also re-appointed Marshal Cohen of East Moriches, NY to serve as a Consumer Advisor to the Board.

      Each of these appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and ending Dec. 31, 2017.

      Secretary Vilsack also selected Heidi Goold, Importer, Pewaukee, WI as an alternate member whose term expires on Dec. 31, 2015, and Sigifredo Valverde, Producer, Shallowater, TX as an alternate member whose term expires on Dec. 31, 2016.

      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.


TAWC Water College Set For January 21

      The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation will host their inaugural Water College on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock.

      The Water College will be a one-day meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m. and wrapping up around 4:30 p.m. The program is free of charge and lunch is provided along with a CEU credit.

      For more information, a list of sponsors, and a detailed agenda, visit