Momentum Builds for Cottonseed Program
Friday, December 18, 2015 By Mary Jane Buerkle
Several key letters of support this week are helping bolster the cotton industry's case for cottonseed to become designated as a "minor oilseed" under the 2014 Farm Bill, thus becoming eligible for ARC and PLC programs.
A bipartisan coalition of 100 lawmakers wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, requesting him to use his legal authority under the 2014 Farm Bill to make the designation, which would help cotton producers and the entire industry through these challenging economic times. A copy of the letter and the full list of signatories can be found at http://bit.ly/CSSupport100.
"Cotton farmers are getting hit the hardest right now and they are doing all they can just to hold on without access to key risk management tools under the Farm Bill," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway said in a news release. "We are deeply concerned that unless the Secretary takes action, there will be significant economic consequences. We cannot allow the predatory trading practices of a few huge players in the world cotton market to destroy cotton production in this country, but that is exactly what will happen without action."
Others sending letters of support this week to Secretary Vilsack included the American Soybean Association, the American Sugar Alliance, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
"We know that cotton farmers are suffering severe financial hardship right now due to rising foreign subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers to trade, as well as natural disasters," the letter from the American Sugar Alliance states. "The bipartisan list of one hundred House Members that recently wrote to you in support of NCC (National Cotton Council)'s request certainly illustrates the breadth and depth of concern in farm country over this compelling situation."
It is not known when Secretary Vilsack will make his decision, but Plains Cotton Growers continues to rally support from businesses and organizations wishing to send letters.
"It is imperative that we make a unified effort to see this request come to fruition," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "Plains Cotton Growers will not rest until our case has been made fully clear to the Secretary, and we hope that he will see the positive impact that designating cottonseed as a minor oilseed will have on producers struggling to deal with low prices, high input costs, weak demand, and growing competition from heavily-subsidized foreign producers.
"We truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to send a letter, make a phone call, or otherwise advocate on our behalf for a program that could make a tremendous difference to our entire industry and the surrounding infrastructure," Verett said.
Upcoming Area Ag Conferences
January 15 – West Plains Ag Conference, 7:30 a.m., Sundown Room on South Plains College Campus, Levelland. $35 registration fee, lunch included. RSVP requested. Contact Wes Utley, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-894-3159.
January 19 – Southern Mesa Ag Conference, Forrest Park Community Center, Lamesa. Tentative 6 CEUs. Contact Gary Roschetzky, CEA-AG, 806-872-3444.
January 20 – South Plains Ag Conference & Trade Show, 7:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m., American Legion Hall, Brownfield. $15 registration fee with lunch included. 5 CEUs. Contact Zach Bradshaw, CEA-AG, 806-637-4060.
January 22 – Caprock Crop Production Conference, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Floyd County Friends Unity Center, Muncy. Tentative 8 CEUs; Approved 11 CCAs. $35 registration fee, $45 at the door. Contact Caitlin Jackson, Crosby CEA-AG, 806-675-2347 or Cristen Brooks, Floyd CEA-AG, 806-983-4912.
January 29 – Llano Estacado Cotton Conference, Bailey County Electric Cooperative, Muleshoe. 4 CEUs. Contact Curtis Preston, CEA-AG, 806-272-4583.
February 9 – Hale/Swisher County Crops Conference, 8 a.m.-4 p.m, Ollie Liner Center, Plainview. 5 CEUs. Contact Jason Miller, Hale CEA-AG, at 806-291-5267 or John Villalba, Swisher CEA-AG, at 806-995-3721.
HPWD Making Water Level Measurements
at Area Well Sites
Monday, December 14, 2015 From the HPWD
High Plains Underground Water Conservation District personnel are now in the field making annual water level measurements to determine the effect of 2015 pumping on groundwater levels of the aquifers within the district's 16-county service area.
High Plains Water District personnel measure the same wells in the observation well network each year as long as the individual wells are accessible and continue to provide satisfactory data. The current depth-to-water level measurements in individual wells are compared to those of previous years to determine the average annual change in water levels in the Ogallala Aquifer within the district.
For more information, call HPWD at (806) 762-0181 or visit http://www.hpwd.org.