USDA-NASS: Cotton Acreage Down From 2014

Friday, July 3, 2015                             By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Texas High Plains farmers planted 3.48 million acres of cotton this year, down 10 percent from 2014, according to the most recent acreage estimates from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

      "This did not come as a surprise to us," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "We've talked to farmers over the last several months and many of them indicated they were considering a change in their cropping systems. Although we certainly want them to keep cotton in that mix, and many will, we also understand that they must do what works best for their operation."

      As expected, northern portions of the PCG service area had a larger decrease than the southern part of the region. Growers in northern counties planted 580,000 acres, down 29 percent from 2014. Growers in southern counties planted 2,900,000 acres, down 4.5 percent.

      The downward trend also is reflected statewide and nationwide. Texas growers planted about 5.2 million acres of cotton in 2015, down from 6.2 million in 2014. The greatest decreases were in South Texas, where excessive rainfall prevented many growers from planting cotton. Corn and sorghum planted acreage were up 150,000 acres and 600,000 acres statewide, respectively.

      Nationwide, growers are estimated to have planted 8.85 million acres of upland cotton, down 18 percent from 2014. This decrease is more than many analysts predicted earlier in the year, but those estimates were calculated before the season began.

      "At that time, no one would ever have thought the growing season would have begun the way it did, especially in South Texas and even here on the High Plains," Verett said. "This rainfall, although it was beneficial, definitely cost us some cotton acreage."

      However, these newly released figures could change. The USDA said in a news release on Tuesday that this month, they would collect updated information on planted acreage in four states, including cotton in Texas. If any changes are warranted, they will be released in NASS' Crop Production report in August.

      Although severe weather has caused some crop damage and loss across the area, heat and sunshine have reigned this past month, allowing this late-planted crop to gain some ground.

      "We all should be reminded that less acreage does not necessarily mean less production, and we've made some nice crops off of that much planted acreage," Verett said. "Our infrastructure definitely can use a boost after the past four years, and we're off to a relatively good start this year. If we can get a few more timely rainfall events and avoid severe weather and an early freeze, the potential is there for some good yields."


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


PCG Board to Meet July 8

      The PCG Board of Directors will meet at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 8, in the Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, 1121 Canyon Lake Drive in Lubbock.

      One of the primary items of business for the Board is consideration and approval of a new FY 2015-2016 PCG operating budget. Other items include a cotton market update, federal and state legislative updates, and a weather outlook.


Cotton Industry Seeks Volunteer Leaders

Friday, July 3, 2015                                By Shawn Wade

      The success of the High Plains cotton industry, like any group effort, is directly tied to the willingness of qualified individuals to volunteer to serve in various leadership positions. To identify these volunteers, the High Plains cotton industry caucuses each year with other cotton groups within Texas to identify producers interested in serving as a volunteer leader.

      PCG encourages all qualified individuals interested in representing the High Plains as a representative to the Cotton Board, National Cotton Council, or Cotton Incorporated to contact PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett for more information.

      Each year, a variety of volunteer positions within the NCC and Cotton Incorporated are filled directly through the industry's caucus process. In addition to naming representatives to the NCC and Cotton Incorporated, PCG and the Texas cotton industry also work together to identify and nominate qualified individuals to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for possible appointment as a Member or Alternate on the Cotton Board.

      Qualified individuals interested in serving on the Cotton Board, which oversees the highly successful U.S. Cotton Research & Promotion Program, also are encouraged to contact Verett at the PCG office in Lubbock to request additional information. PCG's telephone number is 806-792-4904.

      To be a qualified producer nominee for the Cotton Board, an individual should be actively engaged in cotton production at the time of nomination, be committed to the mission of the Cotton Board and the Cotton Research and Promotion Program, and have demonstrated leadership skills and experience.

      "Whether it is a nomination to serve on the Cotton Board or appointment to a leadership position within the National Cotton Council or Cotton Incorporated, the membership of Plains Cotton Growers has proven to be fertile ground for leaders within our industry," Verett said. "Our industry owes much to the dedicated men and women who step forward to serve their fellow producers. We look forward to extending that tradition of leadership in the years ahead."

      Editor's Note: The Cotton Board seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all those who qualify for nomination and appointment to the Cotton Board regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, socio-economic status, religion or sexual orientation.