Texas Ag Forum Scheduled for February 20

Friday, January 23, 2015                     From AgriLife TODAY

      The 2015 Texas Ag Forum, scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Hilton Austin Airport, will provide producers with the most up-to-date information possible about farm bill sign-up decisions, according to organizers.

      The 2014 farm bill introduced two new safety net programs: Price Loss Coverage, which offsets price shortfalls, and Agricultural Risk Coverage, which addresses revenue declines. Farmers have until March 31 to decide which of those two programs is best for their operation, said Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.

      The forum will feature presentations from policy makers, university experts and farm group representatives. The 2014 farm bill programs will be discussed as well as web-based decision aids developed 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 were developed under a Farm Service Agency grant to assist farmers in making farm bill sign-up decisions and updating payment yields and reallocating base acres. The National Association for Agriculture and Food Policy decision aids can be accessed at https://usda.afpc.tamu.edu.

      Advanced registration for the forum is $125 through the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council, 1210 San Antonio St., Suite 101, Austin, Texas 78701. To register, call 512-450-0555. Same day registration is $150. Seating is limited. Lunch and breaks will be provided.


Commodity Groups Respond to Negative

Editorial About Crop Insurance

Friday, January 16, 2015   From the National Cotton Council

      The NCC recently led a group of commodity organizations in responding to a Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled, "Harvesting Crop Insurance Profits." The response, which was cosigned by the American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, USA Rice Federation and the Western Peanut Growers, noted the misleading nature of the article as well as factual misstatements.

      The response, on the NCC's website at http://www.cotton.org/issues/2015/wsjins.cfm, noted that, "In recent years, farmers across the country have suffered from historic droughts as well as floods and other 'acts of God' -- yet at no time has there been any ad hoc disaster assistance because the federal crop insurance program has been there to assist farmers in times of need. The volatility of weather and commodity markets necessitates government assistance with premiums so that U.S. agriculture has access to affordable and dependable crop insurance products."

      The NCC believed it was imperative to respond to such erroneous misstatements in the news media as crop insurance is the backbone of cotton producers' risk management plan. The NCC also appreciated the participation of the other commodity co-responding organizations. The NCC will continue to defend the crop insurance program from detractors both in the news media and in Congress.

      PCG EDITOR'S NOTE: Others who submitted rebuttals to this editorial include Dr. Thomas Zacharias, President of National Crop Insurance Services and Tom Sell, former U.S. House Agriculture Committee staff member and USDA Appointee who now represents the Crop Insurance Professional Association through the firm, Combest, Sell & Associates, LLC.


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Upcoming Area Ag Conferences,

Farm Bill Meetings

      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 - Commodity Outlook 2015, 9 a.m., Castro County Expo, 405 SE 4th Street, Dimmitt. Contact Castro County AgriLife Extension, (806) 647-4115.

      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, CEA-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 http://bit.ly/cottonmeetings.