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Cotton News

January 19, 2024

Welcome to the January 19, 2024 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Making the ARC/PLC Election for 2024

First published in “Southern Ag Today” by Bart Fischer and Joe Outlaw

On November 16, 2023, President Biden signed H.R. 6363 – the Further Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act of 2024 – into law. The bill extended the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), reauthorizing programs like the Agriculture Risk (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs through September 30, 2024. Producers will have an opportunity to make a one-time election between ARC and PLC for the 2024 crop year. USDA opened the election and enrollment period on December 18, 2023, and it runs through March 15, 2024.

The ARC/PLC decision for 2024 is against the backdrop of a general softening in prices, but the implications vary by crop. For some crops, the decision may be clear-cut.

As we have noted in the past, we highly encourage you to also look at tools like the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) or the Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO), both of which provide area-wide coverage for part of the deductible not covered by your underlying policy. Importantly, if you elect ARC, you cannot purchase SCO. In other words, you are essentially evaluating ARC versus PLC + SCO. Even if PLC is not expected to trigger, you may still choose to elect it and purchase SCO, particularly if the value of SCO is expected to exceed that of ARC.

For cotton producers, we continue recommending that you first evaluate the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) before making decisions about ARC/PLC. In the case of cotton, STAX cannot be purchased on any farm where the seed cotton base has been enrolled in ARC or PLC for that crop year. As we will discuss at the Red River Crops Conference in Altus, OK, later today, in a scenario where the crop is a total loss, the area-wide policies can provide considerably more coverage than ARC. For example, as noted in the example for Jackson County, OK, in Table 1, STAX can provide more than twice as much support as ARC in a total loss scenario.

As always, we aren’t in the business of telling you exactly what to do, because, frankly, we don’t know what will end up being the best choice. But, as with previous years, we do have a decision aid available at www.afpc.tamu.edu where you can input your info, and it will show you expected payments under as many different price scenarios as you want to look at.

The High Plains comparison chart is provided by PCG Director of Policy Analysis and Research Shawn Wade.

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Upcoming Events

Top of Texas Ag Conference
Date: January 23, 2024
Location: M.K. Brown

Plains Cotton Growers Inc. Board of Directors Meeting
Date: January 24, 2024
Location: FiberMax Center for Discovery

Texas Alliance for Water Conservation 10th Annual Water College
Date: January 24, 2024
Location: Lubbock Memorial Civic Center

Dumas Panhandle Crops Conference
Date: January 25, 2024
Location: Moore Co. Community Building

For a full list of upcoming events, see the Events Page.

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 1,087. The office is currently 100% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 1,492. The office is 99% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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January 12, 2024

Welcome to the January 12, 2024 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

A Sneak Peek at PCG’s Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker: David Avrin

The Plains Cotton Growers Inc. 67th Annual Meeting will be held April 2, 2024, at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center. Our keynote speaker will be David Avrin, customer experience consultant and expert in the younger generations of consumers.

One of the most in-demand customer experience and marketing speakers and consultants in the world today, Avrin shares his content-rich, entertaining and actionable presentations with enthusiastic audiences across North America and around the world. Avrin helps organizations better understand and connect with their changing customers and clients to help future-proof their businesses.

Avrin’s business insights have been featured on thousands of media outlets around the world. He is also the author of five books including the acclaimed: “It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You!,” “Visibility Marketing, Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back),” and his newest book, “The Morning Huddle — Powerful Customer Experience Conversations to Wake You Up, Shake You Up and Win More Business.”

Registration

Registration for PCG’s annual meeting opens soon so watch your inbox in the coming weeks!

Sponsor Opportunity

We are still accepting sponsorships for this year’s upcoming event. If you would like more information on how to sponsor our annual meeting, please email Kara Bishop.

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Upcoming Events

Stratford Northern Panhandle Crops Conference 2024
Date: January 17, 2024
Location: Sherman Co. Barn, Stratford, Texas

Mid-Plains Ag Expo
Date: January 18, 2024
Location: Hale County Justice Center Assembly Room, Plainview, Texas

Plains Cotton Advisory Board Meeting
Date: January 19, 2024
Location: PCG Conference Room

Plains Cotton Growers Inc. Board of Directors Meeting
Date: January 24, 2024
Location: FiberMax Center for Discovery

For a full list of upcoming events, see the Events Page.

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 1,758. The office is currently 96% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 2,500. The office is 99% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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January 5, 2024

Welcome to the January 5, 2024 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Government Shutdown Attempt No. 3? (and other news)

In case you missed it, here’s the latest news roundup that could impact producers on the Texas High Plains.

Border Security Challenges Government Operations

By Kara Bishop

We’re experiencing yet another sense of deja vu as the risk of a government shutdown increases amid Congress butting heads on funding measures, specifically border security, funding for Ukraine, etc.

The government shutdown deadline for Agriculture among others is January 19, causing House Republicans to seek ways to attach border security reforms to whatever government funding legislation they come up with to keep the doors open. The Senate has also been working on developing some border security measures, but House Republicans feel it’s a lame attempt to bolster President Biden’s approval rating ahead of the election.

“I can’t see where the House would automatically accept a Senate version when we’ve passed our own bill, H.R.2.,” said Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) to CNN, whose district encompasses the border.

H.R.2, “Secure the Border Act of 2023,” was passed by the House of Representatives on May 11, 2023, with a vote of 219-213.

Senate Democrats strongly oppose some measures of this legislation, while some House Republicans say they will block any legislation that doesn’t include drastic restrictions of the asylum process while simultaneously establishing a new surveillance system that cracks down on the existing illegal immigrant population.

And there’s no doubt about it — what’s happening at the border is a problem.

According to CNN who received preliminary statistics from Homeland Security, border authorities encountered more than 225,000 migrants along the US-Mexico border December 2023, marking the highest monthly total recorded since 2000. Over the course of the month, authorities dealt with more than 10,000 migrants crossing daily.

“While we believe there should be solutions offered to secure our border, we’re also sensitive to the fact that migrant labor is crucial to agriculture and the workforce needed to continuously provide a reliable food and fiber source for the U.S.,” said PCG CEO Kody Bessent.

Suffice it to say, the battle lines are drawn, and it will be a fight to the end during these next two weeks, and hopefully for agriculture, we will avert another shutdown.

“It’s never good for the cotton industry when the government shuts down,” said PCG CEO Kody Bessent. “But right now at the close of our crop year, producers are selling cotton and the operations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation (USDA CCC) are crucial for producers and merchants alike. If the CCC shuts down January 19, there’s nothing to stand in the financial gap that exists between producers and merchants when selling product. With the current adverse risk the cotton industry is going through, the last thing we need is extra risk from a shutdown.”

The shutdown would also halt any disaster assistance or PARP funding for producers, which can make or break a producer’s bottom line, and enrollment for programs through the Farm Service Agency would cease until the government reopens.

Is El Nino to Blame for the Historic Heat and Drought that Gripped the U.S. in 2023?

By Tyne Morgan

2023 was a year full of weather impacts on crops and livestock. From the intense heat in the South to the drought that parked itself across the South and Midwest, USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says those are the two weather events that stole headlines this past year.

“When we look back at 2023, I’m actually going to break heat and drought into two separate categories,” says Rippey. “Really, when you look at the extreme heat this past year, it was focused across the deep South from Arizona to Florida, and pretty much everywhere in between. And that was certainly a huge weather story that affected parts of the cotton belt.”

From wiping out a large part of the cotton crop in west Texas to hitting sugar cane production in Louisiana, Rippey says nearly the entire deep South saw impacts of the year’s extreme heat.

“Of course, that came with drought in many cases. But when you look at these overall temperatures, the hottest summer on record and a lot of hottest months on record, that was a big story in the deep South,” says Rippey.

While other parts of the U.S. still had drought, in some areas it didn’t pack as big of a punch because it came without the heat. That was the case in much of the Corn Belt. The drought hit last year without the extended intense heat, which had a big impact on crops.

“We were very fortunate, especially in the Corn Belt, that we did not see the combination of extreme heat and drought at the same time. And that actually led to some of those better outcomes than expected for U.S. corn,” explains Rippey.

With USDA currently projecting the 2023 U.S. corn crop to be the largest on record, Rippey says the mild temperatures are what helped save the crops.

“You do see that things actually turned out better in states like Iowa. When you look at the rainfall numbers, they were abysmal, almost as dry as 2012. But then the heat just wasn’t there. And today’s varieties are little bit more tolerant of drought and heat. And the outcome was a little better than we expected,” says Rippey.

It wasn’t all good news. While crop yields turned out better than expected for some farmers, the lack of moisture continued to dwindle grazing conditions and hay stocks in 2023. Those created additional hurdles in rebuilding the shrinking U.S. cattle herd.

So, what was the culprit that caused the intense heat that suffocated the South during the summer months? Rippey says while it’s still being studied, he thinks it’s tied to one major weather event in 2023, in particular.

“I will go out on a limb and say that that may have been an early sneak attack from El Niño,” says Rippey. “The reason I say that is that because we did have an early onset El Niño. It was pretty much in place by late spring, early summer. It’s pretty consistent with  El Niño to have a big ridge of high pressure that comes out of Central America. And at times, we’ve seen it before, that does sometimes extend all the way into the southern tier of the United States.”

He says El Niño  can also be tied to the shipping crisis that wreaked havoc on exports in 2023, causing massive shipping delays, as well as forcing shippers to carry lighter loads.

“And certainly what happened in Mexico and parts of Central America, think about the Central American drought that’s causing shipping problems in the Panama Canal. A lot of that, I think, could be tied to the heat in the atmosphere related to the early onset El Niño,” says Rippey.

According to Rippey, the drought in the Midwest can be attributed to the blocking high pressure that wouldn’t budge across Canada this past spring, summer or fall.

“The U.S. Midwest happened to be on the southern end of a lot of that high pressure over Canada. So when we think about that, think about the Canadian wildfires, all the smoke coming down. And we were just on the southern edge of that in the Midwest,” Rippey explains.

He says that, along with Northeasterly winds blocking moisture from the Gulf, is what caused the drought in the Midwest.

“At the same time, high pressure was far enough north that the heat and unusual warmth were actually focused across Canada. So, it wasn’t all that hot on the southern end of the high, but it was dry. And that led to that cool drought in the western Corn Belt,” he adds.

El Niño is still in play, as Rippey says El Niño made a splash once again to close out 2023.

“Now that El Niño has kicked in, it’s a strong event, it could be one of the strongest on record,” says Rippey. “We’re seeing that influence of  El Niño starting to grab a hold of the reins of U.S. weather patterns. And that’s pretty normal and certainly should continue into early 2024.”

What’s on tap for 2024? Rippey forecasts the intense El Niño will lead to what he calls “pretty profound” impacts for the rest of the winter, and even into spring.

In Tough Times, Cotton Acres Holding Steady for 2024

By Jim Steadman

Here we go again. Stepping out into the unknown. Sticking our necks out to kickstart the new year’s cotton acreage projection game once more.  

Photo credit: Cotton Grower Magazine

In reality, Cotton Grower’s track record for acreage projection has been pretty good for the past several years. And, if nothing else, it gives the industry something to ponder and/or poke fun of until the more esteemed scientific surveys from the National Cotton Council and USDA are released in the coming months. 

As always, these acreage projections are based on input and conversations with multiple stakeholders in the cotton industry — our readers, state cotton specialists, economists, and others related to U.S. cotton. It’s a reporting job with math involved, and we try to do our best with the information we get.  

That said — and based on the information in hand as of mid-December — U.S. cotton growers are projected to plant a total (upland and Pima) of 10.19 million acres in 2024. That’s a decrease of roughly 42,000 acres from USDA’s 2023 reported plantings last October, or approximately .5% down from 2023’s pre-harvest numbers.   

In essence, our calculations show no significant change in cotton acreage from late 2023. 

What Happened? 

One year ago, U.S. cotton growers were feeling pretty good about their crop prospects for 2023. Prices were still acceptable (but not high), and early season moisture gave hope for a good start to the year across most of the Cotton Belt. Flooding issues washed some traditional cotton acres in California and Texas away to alternative crops, and another summer of searing heat baked away prospects of favorable yields, especially across the Southwest, still reeling from the effects of the historic drought of ’22. 

USDA’s final October tally of 10.23 million acres shows how much Mother Nature and other market forces took out of the early 2023 projections of 11.0 to 11.5 million acres.     

As expected, there was one overriding comment in nearly every response we received — cotton prices in relation to other commodities will strongly influence cropping decisions and acres for 2024. Of course, continuing inflation concerns, global demand for cotton, political and geopolitical issues, and continued high production costs certainly have an impact, too.  

“If you look at the historical corn/cotton ratio, the results point to about 10.8 million acres of cotton,” says Dr. Darren Hudson, Professor and the Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and Director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness at Texas Tech University. “The problem is the ratio doesn’t capture our current level with 77-cent cotton and $5 corn. The ratio would suggest it’s more favorable to cotton this year than last year. But my gut tells me that at 77 cents, we’re just not going to get a lot of it.”  

Here are the survey results on a regional basis. 

Southeast 

Overall, sources in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia indicated they’ll plant 2.15 million acres of cotton in 2024, an 8% decrease from 2023. As the number indicates, acreage across the region should hold relatively steady, especially in Georgia, to slightly down. No acreage increases were anticipated in any of the region’s states.  

“Multiple factors are depressing cotton,” says Steve Brown, Alabama Extension Cotton Specialist. “The price is not in the upper 80s or better. Severe drought in southwest Alabama and harvest season rainfall were disappointing. And rising input costs remain.”  

“In North Carolina, meaningful improvements in price would likely increase our acreage noticeably,” says Guy Collins, North Carolina State Extension Cotton Specialist. “Severe drought in some places in 2023 may affect some acreage decisions.”  

“I’m generally an optimist when it comes to acreage, but I’d predict Georgia stays stagnant at best compared to 2023,” says Camp Hand, University of Georgia Extension Cotton Specialist. “We still have more infrastructure in place for cotton compared to corn, and there aren’t many other options to break a dryland peanut rotation other than cotton. We are a cotton state. And in my mind, we will stay that way for the foreseeable future.”  

Mid-South 

Most Mid-South states are projecting flat to slightly decreased acreage for 2024, with the exception of Tennessee where a slight increase is indicated. All totaled, the survey results show 1.65 million acres for 2024 across the five-state region.  

“I think acres will be pretty flat,” says Brian Pieralisi, Mississippi State Extension Cotton Specialist. “It’s really hard to say for sure with south Mississippi still in such a drought. I wouldn’t expect a large increase in acres as long as prices stay in the 80-cent range.” 

 “Looking at futures for cotton, the price appears to be holding flat, and I’m sure most potential growers would be more comfortable with it higher,” notes Trey Price, LSU Extension Cotton Specialist. “All that being said, I don’t expect to see much of an increase in cotton acreage, if any.” 

“I expect we will pick up just shy of 50,000 acres to bring us back to the 300,000-acre mark in Tennessee, with a plus or minus of about 75,000,” predicts Tyson Raper, University of Tennessee Extension Cotton Specialist. “The 2023 Tennessee crop was nothing short of incredible, and I suspect the subsequent excitement with the commodity will push our increase. But there’s a long way to go before May!” 

Southwest 

The lingering effects of the 2022 drought combined with triple-digit summer heat to hamper cotton production across the region. Overall, production results were marginally better than 2022, as some areas did fine while growers in other parts of the region faced another year of insurance claims and abandoned acres.  

Based on our survey input, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas growers anticipate planting a combined 6,165,000 cotton acres in 2024 — a very slight .8% increase from final planted acres in 2023. 

West 

 Once again, grower decisions on cotton in California, Arizona, and New Mexico continue to hinge primarily on water availability and cotton price. In 2023, final USDA numbers showed 239,000 acres of cotton across the three states. Projections for 2024, based on current input, show approximately 225,000 total cotton acres for 2024 across the region — a nearly 6% decrease.  

Snapshot in Time 

For the second consecutive year, primarily due to current cotton prices and other uncontrollable market factors, few respondents were fully confident in their projections. Some, in fact, would not be surprised to see 9.8 million acres while others could potentially see up to 10.5 million acres. This is our best guesstimate for now.  

The Cotton Grower survey reflects a snapshot of the market situation and prevailing attitudes in late November and early December, as 2023 harvest was still wrapping up in some areas. Many thanks to the growers, ginners, consultants, specialists, and other industry sources for their input. 

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PCG Announces 2024 Annual Meeting

PCG’s biggest industry event of the year is scheduled for April 2, 2024 at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas.

We’re excited to bring you some top-notch speakers and special segments including renowned customer experience and younger generation expert David Avrin and the U.S. Farm Report.

Mark your calendars and stay tuned — we will open registration with all the details soon!

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PCG 2024 Seed Cost Calculator Released

The 2023 version of the Plains Cotton Growers Inc. Seed Cost Calculator is available for download at any time on the PCG website at the bottom of the “Resources” page. 

The PCG seed cost calculator is an interactive Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allows producers to calculate an estimated cost per acre, for both seed and technology, based on published suggested retail prices.

Questions about the tool can be directed to Shawn Wade. 

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 2,080. The office is currently 89% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 4,030. The office is 99% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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December 15, 2023

Welcome to the December 15, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ8SjQkjSAs

What do you love most about your career?

Click on the video above to play.

Faces of Cotton: Jane K. Dever, Ph.D.

By Kara Bishop

Welcome to the latest installment of the PCG Faces of Cotton story series. 

“My heart is in the High Plains of Texas where I first fell in love with the science of cotton breeding.”

Faces of Cotton Story

From Childhood to Her 42nd Crop

Three-year-old Jane Kveton
doesn’t care for the pieces of grass that float on the water and stick to her feet. As her father, John, turns the well on to water the lawn with irrigation pipe, she avoids the yard, running up and down the sidewalk splashing in the puddles.

Eight-year-old Jane
grips a sawed-off hoe handle on the family farm. The West Texas sun beating down on her as she weeds the “longest row in the world.”  She’s not really a fan of the outdoors, and her family lovingly refers to her as “Princess Jane.” Her Czech grandfather, Fred, shows up in the late afternoon to give her and the rest of the Kveton children peaches and beer to take home — much to the chagrin of Jane’s mother.

At 18 years old,
Jane is the 10th child her father will have sent to college. To help fund this endeavor, she applies for a scholarship with Southwest Textiles Inc. — a textile mill in Abernathy, Texas, where she and her family live on a 160-acre cotton farm. Receiving the scholarship meant earning her degree in textile engineering technology at Texas Tech University.

Her first class at TTU, the textile engineering department head asked how much a cotton bale weighed. Jane, who had grown up on a cotton farm, had no idea. “I knew how to hoe it, I didn’t know much about what happened after that,” Jane added. The professor chastised her in front of the entire class for growing up on a cotton farm and knowing so little about it. Joke’s on him.

Jane, now 20 years old,
is introduced to Roger Milliken — owner of the largest privately owned U.S. textile enterprise at the time — who is trying to recruit students to work at his new prestigious research facility. Except, he wanted them to research fiber replacements for cotton, because “it’s such a pain for the mills.” This was the first time Jane felt a passionate connection to cotton and began to realize how it had shaped her life up to this point.

22-year-old, Jane
graduates with her textile engineering degree and is accepted into an exclusive master’s degree program with the Institute of Textile Technology in Charlottesville, Virginia. They only accepted 10 students per year. She was the only TTU student selected and her department head was so excited. But Jane had other plans, wryly saying, “I decided to get married instead.”

Jane married James Dever in 1983 and the couple stayed in Lubbock. James worked for the Coca-Cola bottling company, while Jane had plans to follow her mother’s occupation as a partner to her husband at home. Her housewife status lasted four months.

Dr. John R. Gannaway had recently become the cotton breeder at the Lubbock Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and ambitiously had more than 1,000 crosses in the field in 1983. They were overwhelmed and needed help. One of the student workers from Texas A&M that was helping at the center that summer had grown up with Jane in Abernathy. “Can you come in and help self-pollinate?” he asked Jane on the phone. “You can be parttime and just help glue flowers shut in the afternoons.”

At 22 years old,
Jane is a student worker at the Lubbock center and still has no idea who Dr. Gannaway is. She comes in at 1 p.m. — enters the lab, grabs her paper, tags, blue apron — and glues cotton blooms shut until 5 p.m.

One day while working, Jane is told, “Dr. Gannaway wants to see you.” When she entered his office, he held up a newsletter from the Texas Tech Textile Research Center and said, “Is this you?” She looked at the paper. It was titled, “Textile Topics,” and read, “Jane Kveton, winner of the Textile Veterans Association Award.” She was also named one of TTU’s outstanding engineering students. Her picture was at the top.

“That’s me,” Jane replied. “Kveton is my maiden name.”

“You have a degree in textiles?” Dr. Gannaway asked.

“Yes.”

“Do you know anything about fiber quality?” he asked intensely.

“Of course,” she responded.

At the time, Gannaway was working with Joel Hembree with PCCA, Rex McKinney with Farmers Cooperative Compress and Don Johnson with Plains Cotton Growers Inc. to establish the Plains Cotton Improvement Program (PCIP). Jane was asked to help write up a fiber quality proposal for PCIP in 1983. While she initially worked on fiber quality projects at the Center until 1993, Jane would continue to follow the program for four decades, eventually coming back in 2008.

Between 1993 and 2008, Jane worked for the Textile Research Center at TTU, PCCA, BioTex, held a 25% appointment with the Extension AgriPartners program, and spent 10 years as an agronomist and global cotton breeding manager for FiberMax cottonseed. When John Gannaway retired in 2008, she returned as the Project Leader of the Lubbock Center cotton breeding program.

It’s 2023, Jane is working through her 42nd crop,
with a passion that has been aflame since childhood. We could go into great detail on Dr. Dever and her 42-year career that helped transform the Texas High Plains cotton industry. But the stories below are what make her Jane.

The Stories of Jane

The Kveton Siblings

When Jane showed up for class as a freshman at New Deal High School in 1975, news was spreading through the halls like wildfire. “We have new students this year,” one said, looking down the hall. “Four

The Kvetons

Vietnamese kids are going to be in school with us!”

That’s a big deal for a small rural town, where many had never been beyond Lubbock, much less another country. All four of the new students were close in age to the four youngest Kveton siblings and Jane quickly became friends with Ninh. He was shy and reserved like her and they hit it off almost immediately.

Jane came banging through the screen door one day after school, calling for her mom.

“Mom, Ninh didn’t come to school today.”

“Mama Jean,” as she was lovingly referred to, decided to investigate.

Turns out, the four new Vietnamese students were in the foster care system and had saved their lunch money for months to escape a bad situation. They didn’t get far before they found themselves on a 160-acre farm in Abernathy, Texas, surrounded by Czech farmers.

The foster care system was trying to find a family to place them with, but no one wanted to take all four of them together.

“They’ve been split up enough,” Mama Jean told the social worker. “They can all come home with me.”

So, in December of that year, they did just that. John Kveton used to tell anybody that would listen, “I came home from harvesting cotton one day and had four more kids somehow.”

They were the four oldest siblings of a family of eight, whose father — an officer in the South Vietnamese army — was killed at the end of the Vietnam War.

These four children, Hue, 17, Hoa, 16, Ninh, 14 and Thanh, 12, were sent to America by their mother, Qui, who hoped they would have a better life. John and Jean Kveton helped give them that.

These were the first four children the Kvetons officially fostered. They had already opened their home to their children’s friends, relatives, and relatives of friends. In all, the Kvetons claimed 23 children for their own — six biological and 17 of the heart. To this day, they still have big family reunions where they get together once a year.

Kveton Sibling Reunion 2023.

The Lost Art of Hoeing Rows

Before the glory days of cotton resistant to glyphosate, glufosinate, 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and/or dicamba, the main weed management system was hoeing. And if you grew up related to a farmer, you

Jane with a hoe at the Lubbock Center in 2021.

would find yourself on the hoeing crew. Before Jane could do much else, she was removing weeds in cotton fields using a hoe with the handle shortened to accommodate her small stature.

When Jane was a graduate student and research assistant at the Texas A&M AgriLife Lubbock Center, weeds had to be top of mind at every turn. When working on genetic improvement before herbicide tolerant traits are incorporated, researchers engage in what Jane refers to as “1970 farming.” Without GE herbicide technology and limited availability of residuals that would not mask genetic differences, there is only tillage and hard work are the only tools for weed management.

Her first year at the center, in 1983, field bindweed was a serious problem for producers and researchers alike. There was no killing it. Once it came up, you had to dig it out of the ground, or it would immediately take over the entire field.

One of Jane’s first memories at the Lubbock Center is going out every morning with a trowel, bucket and trash bag with instructions from her boss, Dr. John Gannaway. They had the same routine every day:

– Dig, dig, dig out the bindweed,

– Place in trash bag,

– Tie up the trash bag really tight

– Throw in dumpster

– Repeat

The Kvetons didn’t have bindweed on the farm, so Jane thought the whole process was ridiculous. Turns out, her father John and Uncle Henry would hoe weeds right when they came up, so, of course, she didn’t grow up with bindweed. They were coined the “Gardener Farmers” for a reason.

And, while herbicide technology has been a great blessing to producers in the area, it’s also turned hoeing into a lost art.

“When you have herbicide technology in the seed and/or spray applications of it on your fields, you may not see any weeds,” Jane said. “However, with fields so clean, producers may not be paying attention to the sides of the roads surrounding their fields and those weeds can creep in.”

And, as she learned with the bindweed in 1983, once the weeds are in, they’re incredibly difficult to remove. Her experience came back full circle in 2019 as weeds infiltrated some trial plots. Jane gathered her team together.

“I’m so sorry,” she told them looking around the room, “but we’re fixing to have to dig weeds out of rows to fight this infiltration. You see in 1983, Dr. Gannaway showed us…”

Researcher Carol Kelly digging out bindweed in 2019 with Jane.

For the first two months of any summer student’s tenure at the Center, they have to hoe. “I always tell the students, ‘You think you’re never going to get on top of it, but you will have solid weed control if you just stick with it the first month or two,’” Jane added.

New Mom at 58

Jane’s husband James is a caretaker by heart. He’s taken care of their parents as they grow older and always helped look after his older sister’s children. They were very close with one of his nieces named Megan. Megan lost her husband when the kids were young to a brain aneurysm, so Megan’s children, Catherine and Mikayla, would all come over to Jane’s house for dinner after school frequently while Megan worked.  

In 2019, Megan and Catherine were in a horrible car accident. Megan didn’t make it. In the blink of an eye, Jane found herself the legal guardian of two teenagers experiencing tragic loss.

Much like her parents did many years ago, Jane and James never gave it a second thought when it came to bringing Catherine and Mikayla into their home. In fact, they left their cozy two-bedroom townhouse and moved into a three-bedroom apartment in Lynwood to accommodate everyone.

Catherine and Mikayla have since graduated high school and started their own independent lives; however, they always know they have a home to come back to. Because much like her parents did for their children, Jane and James will always be “home” for them.

‘My Research Doesn’t Belong to Me. It Belongs to Texas High Plains Cotton Producers’

Jane and I are sitting in my office. She’s just told me that she’s leaving.

Jane is retiring from Texas A&M AgriLife Lubbock Center — her last day will be February 29. She is moving to Florence, South Carolina, to be the new Director of the Pee Dee Research & Education Center at Clemson University.

I asked her how she felt about leaving her breeding program. I assumed she felt ownership of it with all that she’s accomplished over four decades.

This was her response and sums up the Jane that you and I are going to miss terribly.

“I don’t consider it my program or my people. My fondest dream is to have enough money to develop an endowed chair for this position. But it wouldn’t be named the Jane K. Dever Endowed Chair in Cotton Breeding. I would want to name it the Plains Cotton Endowed Chair in Cotton Breeding, because that’s who that program belongs to. Not me. It belongs to the producers of this great region, the Texas High Plains.”

We wish Jane the best of luck in her new adventure and words cannot express the impact she has had on the Texas High Plains cotton industry.

PCG Releases 2023 Annual Report

PCG fulfills its mission to Texas High Plains cotton producers through legislative advocacy, research objectives, cotton promotion and service.

West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 5,085. The office is currently 73% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 21,025. The office is 91% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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December 8, 2023

Welcome to the December 8, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Update on the 2022 Emergency Relief Program

Late last month, 2022 ERP payments were suspended as USDA began an investigation into the number of applications with an “underserved producer” status and/or change to a standard beneficial interest (SBI) status. That suspension has been lifted and payments are again being issued.

Today, we’ll provide an update on the program’s status plus Congress and industry response to such.

DEADLINES

Today, USDA issued Notice ERP-16: Emergency Relief Program Phase 1 and Phase 2 Requests Deadline.

This notice informs state and county offices that their deadline to:

  • Act on ERP Phase 1 and ERP Phase 2 requests is Dec. 13, 2023.
  • Submit ERP Phase 1 and ERP Phase 2 relief requests is DAFP by Dec. 15, 2023.

CONGRESS REACTS TO 2022 ERP

According to Jim Wiesemeyer with ProFarmer, USDA is responding to criticism from Republican lawmakers regarding their management of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for 2022 losses. A USDA spokesperson explained that the main issue is a lack of funding from Congress. They stated that Congress allocated only $3.2 billion to cover losses totaling over $10 billion. This funding gap forced USDA to make difficult choices to prioritize assistance for those in greatest need. The spokesperson added that if members of Congress are dissatisfied with these choices, they should advocate for more resources to enable the USDA to fully compensate farmers for their losses.

Some Republican House and Senate members have expressed their concerns to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, particularly regarding the new payment formula used for ERP in 2022. They believe this formula, different from the one used in 2020 and 2021, may result in significant producers receiving minimal or no assistance.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, led a group of senators this week in requesting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of USDA’s implementation of disaster assistance for producer losses occurring in 2022.

Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Ronny Jackson (R-TX), expressed their concern with 2022 ERP disparities in a press release issued by Arrington’s office. PCG CEO Kody Bessent was also quoted, saying:

“Plains Cotton Growers Inc., strongly supports efforts led by the House, Senate and agriculture industry to rectify the recent disparities created by USDA in the implementation of the Emergency Relief Program for the 2022 crop year. USDA is operating on their own accord and against congressional intent in the application of this program, specifically in the newly developed progressive payment factor used to prorate payments inequitably and the biased method used to incorporate producer-paid insurance premiums and fees. Cotton farmers across Texas and the U.S. have been vastly impacted by concurrent events in 2022 brought on by mother nature — this is especially true in the Texas High Plains region. A correctly implemented program by USDA as Congress intended will greatly help the agriculture industry in such times of financial strain and loss. We look forward to continuing the work with Congress to swiftly correct the disparities and inadequacies created by USDA in administrating the ERP for the 2022 crop year.”

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition also published an article discussing the ramifications of the current 2022 ERP parameters, claiming that the current structure of the program creates winners and losers out of the producers it’s supposed to help.

When the official rule of the 2022 Emergency Relief Program was released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PCG CEO Kody Bessent addressed the disparities of the program in the October 27 issue of Cotton News. That following Monday, PCG provided a more thorough analysis of what to expect with 2022 ERP.

We continue to work with Congress to urge USDA to make corrections to the current program and will keep you apprised of our efforts.

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 4,934. The office is currently 38% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 27,826. The office is 65% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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December 1, 2023

Welcome to the December 1, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Texas State Support Holds 2023 Project Review

Cotton researchers and cotton producer members of the Texas State Support Committee gathered in Lubbock November 28-29 to review preliminary research results for projects conducted during the 2023

Texas State Support met November 28 and 29 to review research efforts in 2023 and approve research proposals for 2024. Photo credit: Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association.

growing season. The 2023 research review sessions were held at the Texas A& AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Lubbock.

The meeting, conducted annually, provides a unique opportunity for cotton producers to share information and interact with the research professionals that investigate a broad range of cotton production issues. The Texas State Support Program — an offshoot of Cotton Incorporated’s research program that returns a portion of the money collected to fund producer-directed research in cotton producing states — funds more than $1 million dollars of cotton research in Texas.

During the meeting attendees heard reports on 30 research projects funded through the Texas State Support Program, as well as getting updates on four projects funded through Cotton Incorporated’s core research program. The reviews included updates on cotton breeding, weed management and herbicide resistance, cover crops and crop management, cotton policy, economics and marketing, as well as cotton disease resistance and drought tolerance. The Cotton Incorporated core research projects included cotton breeding, impact of cottonseed supplementation in livestock grazing systems, as well as research into the importance of improved performance in module wrap material.

“The Texas State Support Program is a valuable research vehicle for producers growing cotton on theTexas High Plains,” said PCG President Martin Stoerner, producer in Floyd County. “We’re blessed to have researchers in this area dedicated to continually improving and elevating our commodity.”

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 4,934. The office is currently 38% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 27,826. The office is 65% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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November 17, 2023

Welcome to the November 17, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

An Update on the Circus: PCG CEO Kody Bessent Spends the Week in DC

It was a crazy week with the U.S. government in full force amid yet again another possible government shutdown. Thankfully, a stopgap spending measure was passed in both chambers with President Biden signing the legislation on November 16. PCG CEO Kody Bessent and National Cotton Council Chairman and Dawson County Producer Shawn Holladay were on the Hill this week as well, advocating for the Farm Bill and adjustments to the 2022 Emergency Relief Program.

Plains Cotton Growers Inc. is grateful for Congress and its leadership in taking the necessary steps in passing H.R. 6363, the Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act of 2024, also known as a continuing resolution (CR). With passage of the CR, a government shutdown was ultimately averted — keeping federal agencies open at a critical time when farm program assistance is being implemented, such as the marketing assistance loan and the 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP).

Additionally, included in the CR was an extension of the current Farm Bill through September 30, 2024. This extension provides farm program support going into the 2024 cotton season, while simultaneously affording the cotton industry and House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership additional time to continue to work on the 2024 Farm Bill. We hope to make substantive improvements to farm policy that adequately address immense pressures such as inflation, cost of production, disasters and other critical issues that cotton producers and the industry as a whole continue to face. We look forward to continuing to work with industry and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in the new year to develop a new and vastly improved farm bill as soon as possible.

Update on Rectification of Disparities within Implementation of 2022 ERP
This week a coalition letter depicting the grave disparity of the 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP) lead by the National Cotton Council — supported by PCG and 140 other agriculture organizations — was sent to USDA; House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Chairman and Ranking Members; plus the House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman and Ranking Members.

The advocacy letter expressed the agriculture industry’s discord with USDA’s ERP 2022 program provisions specifically regarding the progressive payment factors used to prorate payments and the method used to incorporate producer-paid insurance premiums and fees. As stated in the letter neither of the newly introduced provisions were part of the original ERP and both appear to be inconsistent with Congressional intent of the enabling legislation.

While there are multiple pathways forward and work being done by PCG and many others to rectify the current inadequacy of the program while also holding USDA accountable for their actions, we believe the highest probable chance of success is through a legislative adjustment of the 2022 ERP by Congress that is retroactive.

Additionally, we are looking for legislative options in seeking disaster related assistance for the 2023 crop year that is more prescriptive in its guidance to USDA and how they can implement such a program.

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 4,064. The office is currently 18% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 28,259. The office is 25% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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November 10, 2023

Welcome to the November 10, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

‘What Veterans Day Means to Me’

This morning (Nov. 10) at the Plains Cotton Advisory Group meeting, Randy West, manager of Long S Gin in Hockley County, discussed the importance of Veterans Day.

“The military helped me grow up and instilled in me the value of service. And I gained a large family out of it, too. I have many brothers and sisters now all over the world. Enough time has passed now, that I have friends whose children gave their lives in service to our country.

The majority of our nation today doesn’t understand how blessed we are to be Americans. Those of us that have been to third-world countries understand it. The freedoms that we have in our school system and in our worship doesn’t exist in some of these other places. These freedoms are granted to us through the lives laid down in service to our country and I wish we all realized that.

What does Veterans Day mean to me? Well, all of my heroes are not with us anymore. The ones who sacrificed their lives for me and all of us are my heroes. It’s an honor when somebody will write a blank check and put their life on the line for what they believe in. That’s what it means to me.”

Plains Cotton Growers thanks Randy and all veterans for their service to our great country. The cotton industry has great challenges from production to infrastructure and situations can seem bleak. However, we are blessed to live in a free nation paid for by the lives and sacrifices of our military.

Last year, PCG published a Veterans Day story in our Faces of Cotton story series. You can read more about Randy and his service here

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2023 Cotton Crop Update

An update on the 2023 cotton crop in Georgia, Texas High Plains and South Texas.

Georgia

“We’re probably 60% finished with harvest,” said Taylor Sills, Georgia Cotton Commission executive director. “I’ve had calls about really good cotton, but there are also pockets of really bad cotton, especially in counties that were affected by Hurricane Idalia in September. Those bad pockets have probably suffered a 20% yield loss.”

Georgia producers would like to see a rain come their way, as it’s been four to six weeks since they’ve had moisture. Rain would allow the gins to get caught up and provide ground moisture for the next season.

South Texas

“It’s currently raining here (November 10) and we’re hoping we get enough moisture to run some of these cracks together that are in the soil,” said South Texas Cotton and Grain Executive Director Jeff Nunley. “It’s been dry down here for us.”

Growers have been putting some fertilizer out in preparation for next season, but most are holding back to see if the weather provides them with enough optimism to put money into next year’s crop. Planting season typically begins in February for South Texas, and Nunley says the area needs around three to four inches of rain to make up for the persistent drought that has plagued his region for two years.

“The 2023 crop year was disappointing for us,” he added. “Our cotton acreage was down and so was our yields, which made our gins suffer for the second year in a row. We really need a good cotton crop in 2024 for our infrastructure.”

Texas High Plains

The killing freeze has occurred across the entire 42-county PCG service region, according to director of Field Services Mark Brown. The first official freeze for Amarillo was October 28th; Lubbock’s was October 29th; and Midland received their freeze on the 30th.

The National Weather Service recorded 0.45 inches of rain for Amarillo, 3.38 inches for Lubbock, and 3.52 inches for Midland in October. The rainfall has slightly delayed harvest and most gins are in a start-and-stop mode.

Brown estimates PCG counties range from 20% to 50% off the stalk. Midland and Big Spring areas are slow with several gins not running for the second year in a row. “They’re very worried about the economic conditions down there,” Brown added.

Assuming weather stays good, Brown estimates that most of the cotton will be out of the field by Thanksgiving, with ginning wrapped up by or before Christmas. Though, he does have some gins say that their projected end date is closer to Thanksgiving.

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 3,557. The office is currently 10% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 25,000. The office is 14% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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November 3, 2023

Welcome to the November 3, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Guy Harmon and his father, Scott, unveil the Lubbock County Historical Commission marker for Harmon Farms.

‘It’s About All of Us’ – Family Farms Recognized for 100 Years in Operation

Scott Harmon at the Harmon Farms Lubbock County Historical Commission marker dedication ceremony October 20.

In 1920, land in Lubbock County sold for $62.50 per acre, much to the excitement of a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. He went on to tell his readers the morning of April 8 that a prospector, originally out of Paris, Texas, bought the T.G. Nolley farm in Idalou.

His name was J.R. Harmon. And his 160-acre purchase founded the origins of Harmon Family Farms, established 1920.

His great-great grandson and fourth generation Harmon farmer, Scott, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in 2013 that you have to love farming if you’re going to survive.

“You have to have an intense desire for the job to farm,” he said. “If you don’t have your heart in it, you won’t last.”

I think it’s safe to say that Scott and his son, Guy, have their hearts in it, as they unveiled the historical marker from the Lubbock County Historical Commission on Oct. 21, 2023.

Rather than draped in the traditional black velvet, the marker was covered with a 1920 cottonseed sack to commemorate a century of grit and perseverance. A story that Scott says isn’t just about him.

“This marker has the name Harmon on it, but really it’s about all of us,” Scott said at the dedication. “It’s about our region, our economy, our culture. It’s about all that we do and all that we’ve been through to get to this point.

My friend Don Walker says that you can’t get anywhere by looking through the rear view mirror, but you also can’t get anywhere without knowing where you came from.”

The same article from April 8 mentioned several wind storms — the reporter appeared glad that the West Texas environment had not affected land prices.

“Looks like we were all warned about the wind and dirt out here,” Scott quipped after reading an excerpt of the article at the dedication. “That probably kept the competition down for our ancestors to start these farms.”

Texas Family Land Heritage Ceremony

Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller presents the Mires Family Farm 100-year designation to Janet, Francis and Travis Mires of O’Donnell, Texas, at the Family Land Heritage Center October 18.

The Texas Department of Agriculture held their 49th annual Family Land Heritage Ceremony Oct. 18, 2023. Francis Mires and her son, Travis, accepted the 100-year designation for Mires Family Farm, established 1923.

J.W. Mires and sons, Delbert and Dutch, traveled from Fannin County near Bonham, Texas, via railroad car to Slaton. They brought with them 100 chickens, and 5 each of cows, horses, and mules to farm the place in O’Donnell, Texas, that J.W. had purchased from W.W. and Annie Webb for $40 an acre on October 5, 1923.

They lived in a two-room squatters shack for the first year as they worked to clear the land using the mules. At the end of 1924, they had produced a crop, dug a well, built a 4-room house and bought a Ford Model T.

This homestead had a garage, granary, pens for cattle, horses, and pigs, 7 chicken houses, and a bunkhouse for workers and a cellar that still stands today.

Delbert’s son, Harold, married Francis Reeves in 1950. They took over working the farm and Francis still lives there to this day. Her son, Travis, manages the operation with his sons, Landon and Toby.

“Faith, family and farming have been the cornerstones that have allowed this family farm to survive and prosper in good and bad times,” Travis said. “We want to thank our many friends and neighbors who have helped us along the way.”

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

2023 Cotton Quality Report

This is a weekly summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Division Cotton Classing Offices for the 2023 production season.

Lamesa’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 1,448. The office is currently 4% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

Lubbock’s average daily number of cotton samples received this week is 10,054. The office is 8% complete in the classing of their season estimate of samples.

This week’s quality reports:

Lamesa

Lubbock

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October 27, 2023

Welcome to the October 27, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

A drip-irrigated field in Hockley County.

2022 Emergency Relief Program Released: USDA Has Failed Production Agriculture

After waiting for almost a year after Congress passed legislation appropriating over $3 billion in funds for the 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for row crops to supplement weather-related challenges due to disaster to help farmers and ranchers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has now officially released details of the program.

In a statement released by USDA, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Administrator Zach Ducheneaux stated, “2022 was another year of weather-related challenges – for some, the third consecutive year or more in a row. The financial impact to a family farm or ranch in one year is significant but the cumulative impact of multiple years can be devastating.”

While we could not agree more that 2022 was one of the most catastrophic crop years on record for the High Plains cotton industry and others, the current USDA administration has ultimately failed production agriculture in the development of this program. They have failed to recognize the perils of the common U.S. agriculture producer that we rely upon to provide the food and fiber to the U.S. and the world.

We have observed continuous efforts by the administration to undermine family farming and ranching operations that are solely dependent upon agriculture for their livelihood in service to our nation, despite recent hardships to feed and clothe the nation. It’s truly unfortunate that the current Administration, after countless meetings and comments from PCG and others, are unwilling to listen to the farming and ranching community when we ask for much needed, meaningful support to help weather the challenging times we have succumbed to from circumstances outside of our control.

The U.S. agriculture economy has experienced unprecedented disaster events such as extreme drought, hurricanes, excessive moisture, wildfires and other related events. There have been recent programs developed under the current administration, such as the ERP program for the 2020 and 2021 crop years, that was very timely and provided helpful assistance that allowed production agriculture to survive.

So, once again, we implore the Administration and USDA to dispense with the political development of farm programs that has become an unprecedented factor; implement a program that is financially helpful to those that regularly feed and clothe our nation and the world; and, simply put, get back to the basics of focusing on the nation’s agriculture economy from which this very country was built.   

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West Texas Cotton Quality Report for the 2023 Season

Byron Cole serves as deputy director of the Grading Division for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Cotton and Tobacco Program. Today, (October 27, 2023) Cole presented an overview of the 2023 cotton quality classing season.

Roughly 1.5 million bales have been classed in Texas, predominantly by the Corpus Christi office.

Cole showed a comparison of West Texas quality from 2022 to the current season (through October 24). What has been classed in West Texas thus far in 2023 shows an average 21 color grade, 2.5 leaf grade, 4.3 micronaire grade, 30.4 strength grade, 1.1 length grade and 81 uniformity grade.

In the 2022 season, West Texas cotton averaged 31 color, 2.8 leaf, 4.1 micronaire, 30.6 strength, 1.13 length and 80.6 uniformity.

Regarding extraneous matter, West Texas has more bark issues than they do plastic calls. It’s early in the season, but only 26 plastic calls have been made to date.

 

This week’s quality reports:

Abilene

Lamesa

Lubbock

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