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Cotton News

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:



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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:




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October 20, 2023

Welcome to the October 13, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Faces of Cotton: Fred’s Legacy

By Kara Bishop

His name was Ferdinand Valentine Kveton, but everybody called him Fred.

Born in Moravia, Czech Republic, 12-year-old Fred followed his older sister to America in 1908, settling near San Angelo. He would go on to fight in World War I, earning his U.S. citizenship. In 1924, he took his

Fred Kveton. Source: Texas Agricultural Extension Service – “The Extensioner” November 1949.

military service earnings and bought 160 acres of land in Abernathy, Texas.

He farmed that tract of land with his sons John and Henry Kveton till the day he died in 1990.

In the November 1949 issue of “The Extensioner,” a publication by Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Fred was featured for his innovative practices on the farm. The headline read, “A 480-Acre Farm on 160 Acres — The Kvetons of Lubbock County Triple Yields with Irrigation and Mechanization.”

The article sheds light on who Fred was and how he farmed. The author thought highly of him as he states:

“Fred Kveton is a progressive farmer, but he is also a cautious man. He is not one to change from a practice or systems that has worked for him over a period of years until he is convinced that a new system will do better; that it will increase his yields, make more profit, cut down his costs, save labor or is better for his land. You won’t find Fred Kveton plunging into cotton this year or wheat the next or taking a flyer in commercial vegetables. When a farmer does that, Mr. Kveton will tell you he’ll usually find that he’s a ‘year behind the market.’”

John and Henry Kveton with County Agricultural Agent D. W. Sherrill. Source: Texas Agricultural Extension Service – “The Extensioner” November 1949.

Fred passed this approach to his sons — John and Henry took the 160 acres of farmland and turned it into 2,000. They were known as the “gardener farmers,” as keeping the rows clean of weeds was somewhat of an obsession. They never wanted to acquire more land than they could keep up with, nor did they want to live beyond their means.

Lucky for John, he had 23 children to help him hoe those rows.

John and his wife, “Mama Jean,” fell into foster parenting by accident, becoming caregivers for four Vietnamese children in 1975 while also taking care of six biological children. This started a foster parent journey that continued for decades. John put all of his children through college, and you would often hear him saying, “I have spent my life paying for food and education.”

The Kveton kids did not squander this education. Of the original foster children, No. 4 son, Thanh Ho, would appear in a UT Southwestern article in 2011. As a mechanical engineer, he went all over the world designing clean rooms for Intel Corporation. When asked about his success, he said he learned the value of work ethic from his father — who was a great farmer.

No. 1 sister is an oncology nurse, No. 2 sister retired as a captain in the U.S. Navy, No. 3 brother retired as a Master Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force and now works for the Federal Aviation Administration. All very accomplished. Earning those accomplishments through grit learned on the farm.

“Fred Kveton harrowing a row straight as an arrow. Each tiny tree protected from wind and sun. The team sleek and the harness well oiled.” Source: Texas Agricultural Extension Service – “The Extensioner” November 1949.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that it was a hard life. His children still vividly remember him driving a 1973 Ford LTD Station Wagon until the wheels absolutely fell off, because that year “was the last year I made money farming.” It was also the year he first sent three kids to college, including his oldest, Kit. She wanted to farm, but, after the education investment, John told her she was not smart enough to be a farmer and should go to medical school instead. She delivered roughly 4,000 babies before retiring this March.

Every Kveton child worked on the farm. They hoed weeds with sawed off hoe handles and helped with planting and harvest. If they accidentally hoed cotton instead of weeds, Uncle Henry would get his calculator out and show them how much money they had just lost. They worked hard and many of them had a passion for the farm.

No. 10 sister; however, didn’t care as much for the outdoors as the rest of her siblings. She was the last person expected to go into agriculture.

Growing up, they called her “Princess Jane,” but you and I know her as one of the greatest cotton breeders of our time. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Faces of Cotton story series on Jane Kveton Dever.

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Early Voting Starts Monday, October 23 — Vote Yes on Prop 1!

Proposition 1, the Right to Farm and Ranch Amendment, protects the rights of landowners and lessees to engage in commonly accepted agricultural practices on their own properties. Proposition 1 preserves Texans’ access to safe and affordable food for the future by protecting our producers and our state’s agricultural land.

On November 7, 2023, Texans have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enshrine these protections in the Texas Constitution. Early voting starts October 23 and ends November 3. Mark your calendars, head to the polls and vote yes for Right to Farm!

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October 13, 2023

Welcome to the October 13, 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 High Plains Harvest Aid Considerations

As presented by Kerry Siders, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management for Cochran, Hockley and Lamb Counties

As we move into harvest season, it may be time to consider and apply harvest aids to your crop to reduce potential losses of lint yield and fiber quality.  Kerry Siders, IPM agent for Cochran, Hockley and Lamb Counties, presented information on harvest aids to the Plains Cotton Advisory Group this morning (October 13), where he emphasized that harvest aids can result in earlier harvest, preservation of fiber quality and fewer seed quality reductions due to field exposure. 

“Weathering losses in the High Plains can result in considerable reduction in dollar value of the crop unless measures are taken to protect yield and quality potential,” he said. “This is especially true for open boll picker-type cotton varieties.” 

Factors that increase the performance of harvest-aid chemicals include:

  • Weather
    • Warm
    • Sunny
    • Calm
    • No fronts anticipated four to five days after application 
  • Soil

    • Low moisture
    • Low nitrogen levels
  • Plant

    • Active leaves that are uniformly expanded on plants
    • Little or no secondary growth evident on plants
    • Plants with a high percentage of open bolls that have shed some mature leaves

However, there are also factors that can negatively affect the performance of harvest aid chemicals. Along with the polar opposite of the above positive factors, improper calibration of application rates and poor spray coverage can negatively impact the performance of your harvest aids. 

Crop Maturity
Crop maturity determination is also critical for a successful harvest-aid program, Siders added. Premature crop termination has been shown to reduce lint yield, seed quality, micronaire and fiber strength. 

These chemicals generally terminate fiber and plant development rather abruptly, as they are intended to accelerate harvest of a mature crop. Something important to note that Siders emphasized is that harvest-aid chemicals cannot increase the rate of fiber development. 

“Only additional good growing weather including open skies and adequate heat units combined with functional leaves can mature cotton bolls,” he added. 

While you can predict through a percentage of open bolls (some say 40% to 60% open bolls is a good sign to start applying harvest aid chemicals), Siders says this is a subjective approach. 

Best method for determining maturity:

  • Use a sharp knife to cut into the bolls.
  • If the boll is watery or “jelly-like” on the inside, then it is immature and needs more heat units.
  • If boll development is such that the knife cannot slice through the lint, then the boll is nearly mature.
  • Close inspection of the seed will give further indication of boll maturity. If the seed coat is turning tan and the seed leaves (or cotyledons) are fully developed, the boll is mature.

Harvest Aid Application Timing
The Nodes Above Cracked Boll (NACB) method is another tool Siders discussed to help time harvest aid application. 

When the crop has four or fewer nodes above cracked boll it is ready for a boll opener (ethephon) and a defoliant application.

For more information, read the Texas High Plains Cotton Harvest Aid Guide here.

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October 6, 2023

Welcome to the October 6, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Telling the World About Our High Quality Cotton

2023 COTTON USA Orientation Tour Visits West Texas

Textile manufacturing executives representing 15 of the largest cotton consuming countries in the world spent October 5 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the 2023 COTTON USA Orientation Tour.

The companies represented are expected to consume 5 to 7 million bales of cotton this year, which includes 2.9 million bales from the U.S.

PCG board member Jon Jones, producer in Floyd County, discusses the devestation of the earthquake in Turkey on the textile mill industry with Orhan Buyukerzurumlu, board member of a textile manufacturing company in Turkey.

Meeting in Lubbock for the Texas leg of the tour, participants heard from PCG CEO Kody Bessent on Texas cotton production; CCI Chairman and PCCA Export Sales Manager Carlos Garcia on cotton quality and supply in the Southwest region; Texas Cotton Association President Beau Stephenson on Texas cotton service and logistics; and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service Cotton Production and Processing Research Unit Leader Greg Holt, Ph.D., on plastic contamination and prevention.

Key takeaways from the presentations included the following:

Texas Cotton Production:

  • The Texas High Plains produces 50% to 55% of the state’s cotton, 30% to 35% of the nation’s cotton and 3% to 5% of the world’s cotton.
  • The state’s acreage is heavily dependent on rainfall, as 65% of Texas cotton acres are dryland and 35% are partially to fully irrigated.
  • The 2022 crop and 2023 crop projection have drastic economic consequences to our region, state and nation.
  • Producers have an innovative mindset and are always looking for ways to enhance fiber quality, yield and soil health.

Southwest Quality and Supply

  • The Southwest region of the U.S. is known for its quality, sustainability, value and reliability.
  • The region has made noticeable improvements in staple length since 2000.
  • So far in the 2023/2024 classing season, micronaire is averaging 4.3, strength average is 30.5 and uniformity average is 81.1.

Texas Service and Logistics

  • There is estimated to be a smaller Texas crop this year with 4.2 million bales produced.
  • The supply chain should have plenty of capacity to handle the 2023 crop.
  • When infrastructure depends solely on volume, smaller crop years can have negative economic impacts.
  • The U.S. is the only country to have uniform and consistent cotton bale dimensions.

Advances in Contamination Prevention

PCG Chairman Brent Nelson and Secretary/Treasurer Brent Coker discuss Texas High Plains cotton production with Joanne Park, assistant manager for Kyungbang Ltd., a textile mill in Korea. This particular mill’s cotton consumption is around 165,000 bales, 30% of which come from the U.S.

  • Systems are put in place for pre-harvest, module handling, module feeding and ginning to prevent contamination.
  • The Module Wrap Standard was developed to prevent contamination and provides protection to the industry from inferior module wrap products that are beginning to enter the U.S. market. Module wrap performance standards have three requirements: laboratory testing, field testing and color (certain colors are easier to detect contamination than others).
  • The module rotating wheel loader work tool rotates and orients modules into proper position for manual or fixed-position wrap cutting, rather than using a regular forklift.
  • None of the research discoveries or recommendations from USDA ARS are patented. They are completely available for industry use.
  • Following the morning seminar, participants were able to tour a farm to see best agricultural practices implemented by producers.

The Texas leg of the tour concluded with an industry dinner, where producers and participants were able to connect.

“I really see an improvement in Texas cotton quality the last few years,” one delegate said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to see some of these things in person. As end users, we don’t get to see the process, so it’s valuable to see what cotton growers and infrastructure are doing to ensure high quality cotton.”

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U.S. Cotton Exports Accounted for One-Third of the Global Market’s Value in 2021

The United States is the global leader in cotton exports by value, holding a 33-percent share ($5.7 billion) of the global export market in 2021. U.S. cotton exports expanded to $8.9 billion in 2022 and, while U.S. cotton exports in 2023 are expected to be lower than 2022 levels, USDA’s 10-year projections for U.S. exports indicate growth in the long term. In 2021, the most recent year for which complete global data are available, U.S. exports of cotton totaled nearly 3 million metric tons, 47 percent more volume than the next highest exporter, Brazil. Other major competitors in the global cotton market include Australia, India, and the European Union, with 2021 market shares (in terms of value) ranging from 5% to 15% each, as well as several exporters from Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire. In addition to maintaining the largest share of the aggregate global market, the United States is a key supplier to several top importer markets. For example, in 2021, U.S. cotton accounted, by value, for 39 percent of cotton imports to China, the top cotton importer in the world. Other top destinations for U.S. cotton exports include Vietnam, Turkey, Pakistan, and Mexico. These countries combined with China, accounted for more than 70 percent of U.S. cotton exports in 2021. 

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September 29, 2023

Welcome to the September 29, 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 Does A Government Shutdown Mean for Farmers?

University of Arkansas Agriculture Division Extension Economist Ryan Loy’s Take in Southern Ag Today

As we approach the end of the U.S. government’s (USG) fiscal year, the probability of a government shutdown seems imminent. The USG has until tomorrow (September 30th) to reconcile differences in government spending before they ultimately shut down for an unknown period (Cassella, 2023). The issues arise in Congress where disagreements on government spending based on ideological lines have paralyzed the passing of funding bills needed to keep the government running beyond September 30, 2023. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress has several tools at its disposal, ranging from passing a short-term Continuing Resolution to passing all 12 appropriations bills (e.g., funding allocations for government agencies). Keep in mind that President Biden must also sign whatever Congress passes by the end of day on September 30th (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 2023). Otherwise, a shutdown is nearly impossible to avoid. Incidentally, the 2018 Farm Bill also expires tomorrow. While we touch on that below, farm bill reauthorization is currently taking a backseat to efforts to fund the government.

What does a shutdown mean for farmers?
Besides a shutdown impacting everything from social security, national parks, and air travel, the agricultural sector may also be heavily affected. Namely, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development offices are expected to close (Bickelhaupt, 2023). For a producer who participates in government programs, these agencies likely will not hold sign-ups, accept acreage reports, or issue participation payments during this time. While the length of a government shutdown would ultimately determine the overall impact to the farm sector, folks expecting payments for participation and/or wanting to enroll in a new program will likely feel the impacts shortly after the shutdown. 

What about farm bill expiration?
Importantly, the prospect of a government shutdown and the expiration of the farm bill are two separate issues – they just happen to be occurring at the same time.  However, the difficulty incurred in avoiding a government shutdown further highlights the challenges Congress faces in reauthorizing the farm bill. For producers, the impact of an expiring farm bill would likely not be felt until early 2024, because the current programs like Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) run through the end of this calendar year (Zimmerman, 2023). If farm bill expiration were to stretch into the New Year, USDA would need to pay out commodity price supports as laid out in the 1938 and 1949 Farm Bills; meaning, the USDA would be forced to purchase commodities such as milk, wheat, and cotton, at “parity prices” that are on par (in terms of purchasing power) with levels in the early 1900s (e.g., $50.70/hundredweight for milk based on May 2023 data). These price supports could mean that the U.S. government would “outbid” commercial markets and ultimately raise the price of retail commodities (Congressional Research Service, 2023). With respect to farm bill expiration alone, government programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and crop insurance would likely not feel the same impacts. SNAP is an appropriated entitlement, and Congress likely would continue funding SNAP via the appropriations process (although we discussed above how that process has unfolded this year) and thus could continue most programs. Crop insurance is permanently authorized and funded by the Federal Crop Insurance Act that does not expire with the 2018 Farm Bill (Congressional Research Service, 2023).   


See references here.

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TCGA Conducts Safety Seminars for 2023 Harvest Season

Originally published in the TCGA newsletter “The Ginnery.” Written By Aaron Nelsen.

The last of our 2023 safety seminars were completed on September 21 with the last meeting taking place in Lubbock.  Our final seminar produced a large crowd of around 140 participants in our general sessions.  Two general sessions are conducted at each seminar.  We deliver an English session in the morning and the Spanish session is conducted in the afternoon.  We conduct a manager session as well in the afternoon.  There are plenty of moving parts at each meeting.  We are fortunate to partner with Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust to provide this training for cotton gins.  TCGT sponsors the meetings each year. They provide the meals, the seminar manuals and the manpower.  Nearly all training is provided by TCGT staff.  The TCGT loss control team is the right group to deliver the message.  They are in cotton gins every day.  They are familiar with what is happening inside the gin and always assisting ginners in developing a plan to keep workers safe.  We are proud to partner with TCGT to provide this training for cotton gins each year.

Over the years, TCGT has worked with gin employees to create testimonials to help deliver the safety message.  New testimonials have been produced over the last couple of years by TCGT.  Accidents and the injuries that result from them can be very emotional subject matter for gin employees.    Having these employees speak in front of a camera can be challenging as well.  Talking about accidents is not easy and you can sense that when you watch the testimonials.  We certainly appreciate all the work that is done to put these testimonials together.  Close relationships between the TCGT loss control team and the gin employees make the testimonials possible.  There is a level of trust that has been established between the loss control team and gin personnel.  Nobody likes talking about making a mistake; that is hard to do.  However, if others can learn from past incidences and possibly prevent someone from repeating the same type of mistake, the people involved in the accident become willing to talk about them.  They do it for the greater good.  The ginning community is a tight-knit family.  They look out for one another.  There are 168 hours in a week.  During a typical ginning season, these employees spend 84 hours of their week working at the gin.  Essentially, they are spending half of their life with their fellow gin members while they process a cotton crop.  You can probably equate a gin team to a sports team.  Each year, the gin team looks a little different.  Injuries can make or break a season for a sports team.  It is no different for a cotton gin.  Employees need to look out for one another.  It all starts with training.  If gin employees are not trained to work safely, you are going to be fortunate not to have an accident.  That is not to say a gin employee cannot be hurt even with training, but by providing proper training, you are reducing the risk of accidents.  It simply equates to loss control.  Training is the key.  That is what the safety seminars are all about.

Let’s recognize the people responsible for making the seminars happen each year.  Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust (TCGT) is the sole sponsor of the seminars as mentioned earlier in the article.  The goal is to keep our workplaces safe for our employees as they are the lifeblood of the industry.

The TCGT loss control team consists of James Shepard, Luis Garcia, Wally Davis, Jerry Multer and David Urbina.  These team members develop the training material each year and present the material as well.  For many years now, employees from member gins have assisted in our Spanish presentations and these team members are invaluable as we strive to exchange information with as many gin workers as possible.  These team members have really taken ownership in safety and are greatly assisting the effort to make all Texas gins a safer workplace.  This kind of work can be extremely rewarding when you see gin employees buy into the message being delivered.  One seminar will not do that, but it certainly helps.  Consistent and proper training is the key.  Let’s recognize members of the TCGT loss control team and ginners from member organizations who assisted with the Spanish presentations:

  • Weslaco – Luis Garcia(TCGT) and David Urbina (TCGT)
  • Corpus Christi – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Hector Cruz (Edcot Co-op Gin)
  • El Campo – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Jesus Cruz (Edcot Co-op Gin)
  • Waco – Luis Garcia (TCGT), Marcial Saenz (Central Rolling Plains Co-op) and Albert Leyva (Citizens Shallowater Co-op Gin)
  • Sweetwater – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Marcial Saenz (Central Rolling Plains Co-op)
  • Lubbock (August 2) – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Leandro Ramirez (Associated Cotton Growers)
  • Canyon – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Leandro Ramirez (Associated Cotton Growers)
  • Childress – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Leandro Ramirez (Associated Cotton Growers)
  • Lubbock (September 21) – Luis Garcia (TCGT), David Urbina (TCGT) and Johnny Najera (Meadow Farmers Co-op Gin)

The men helping Luis and David are ginners by trade, not professional speakers.  Their willingness to speak about safety to large groups of their peers is commendable and very much appreciated.  We continue to learn the training goes both ways as we all learn from each other.  The instructors bring the safety message to the classroom, but all participants benefit from the discussion and interaction that takes place during each session.  Successful safety programs begin with good communication and a good attitude.  Make safety a priority and be sure your employees are engaged in creating a safe workplace for everyone.  Be sure you have someone leading your safety effort.  TCGT has programs available to help train the person who is providing your training.  TCGT members should be taking advantage of that service.

We had 563 participants attend a general session.  This does not include manager session attendees.  There is a tremendous amount of time and resources invested in these meetings each year.  We very much appreciate everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend.

Remember, if you are a member of Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust, attending a seminar is one of the requirements to receive the safety credit they are offering on your 2023/24 premium.  Hopefully, the nine sessions plus the district meeting sessions gave ample opportunity for everyone to attend.  We did reduce the number of seminars by two this year.  We had one less meeting in Lubbock and combined the Pampa and Tulia meetings into one meeting in Canyon.  The feedback seemed good.  If you have an opinion on that you would like to share, please contact Aaron Nelsen.

Attendance certificates will be mailed in the next couple of weeks along with a printout for your records showing all employees who attended a general session.  If you have corrections that need to be made, contact the TCGA office and we will be glad to assist you.  Please note that certificates will be printed for only those who signed in for the general session.  Certificates are not printed for the manager session participants.  Weslaco, Corpus Christi, El Campo and Waco certificates were mailed earlier in the summer.

Remember to visit the safety section of the TCGA website at  There are tools available to help you with your safety program on the website.  Remember, the NCGA safety videos are available there.  If you prefer thumb drives or DVD’s, we can have those available as well!

Be safe and look out for one another and let us know if we can help.

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September 22, 2023

Welcome to the September 22, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

The Canary in the Coal Mine is Not Supply

Lou Barbera Provides Cotton Market Overview

“China has been importing less cotton than ever since 2011,” said VLM Commodities Managing Partner and Analyst Lou Barbera, who presented an overview on the cotton market this morning (September 22, 2023) to the Plains Cotton Advisory Group. “The U.S. particularly has been losing market share at the same time from what China has been importing for the last two years.” 

He went on to add that part of the reason for this is that the U.S. has grown less — the last two crop years in the High Plains is indicative of that. However, Barbera said it comes down to two factors: price and availability. 

While China’s decline is a concern, other countries have increased consumption and are growing fast. The problem, according to Barbera, is that, for the first time ever, Australia and Brazil are larger exporters of cotton than the U.S. 

“In fact, Brazil should overtake us this year as the single largest exporter of cotton,” he added. 

Price Factor

Barbera argues that price is the main character in this scenario, even when other factors come into play. 

“I understand the reasoning that many people have this time of year, which is that U.S. supply isn’t there,” he said. “And this is a valid argument considering the last two years of horror shows the U.S. has experienced with production.” 

However, supply or no supply, the prices that Brazil can grow cotton at is not a price the U.S. farmer can take and remain in long-term operation. And it’s this price that will cause an increase in production — and exports — for the Brazilian grower. 

Supply Factor

“Supply has been the focus this entire year,” Barbera said. “Yet, 85.50 has been a magnet for the market. It seems to me that this is the halfway point of what people believe to be cheap and expensive.”

Supply is a double-edged sword. While there is a little in the U.S. right now, there is going to be a lot coming at us very soon. At our current level of 90 million bales of ending stocks in the world, 90 cents is rich historically. “We are still trying to talk down supply after losing 4 million bales of production in 2.5 months from the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report.”

Barbera uses this information to prove his point that supply might not matter as much as we think. 

“This was the largest 2-month reduction of the crop on record and the largest September cut ever at 6.15% in the U.S.,” he said. “Yet…prices are unchanged.” 

Demand Factor

Barbera said that one of the best things cotton has going for it is the immense amount of data available from various sources to analyze. The on-call report is the one thing that is almost exclusive to cotton and gives a real-time look at demand — which has a much larger influence on prices than anything else. 

Barbera constructed an  on-call sales (mills) versus on-call purchases (growers – red dashed line) chart [See Figure 1] showing the on-call imbalance. “Throughout history, the higher the mill-to-grower unfixed price imbalance, the more bullish the market seems to get,” Barbera said. “Currently we are at the lowest differential on record for this time of year at approximately 13,000 contracts.” He went on to add that during our strongest rallies in the past, we have been over 100,000 contracts. 

“This tells us that there has never been a larger number of growers with cotton to fix than currently,” Barbera said. “And that is what I would call the real canary in the coal mine.”  

Figure 1

What Needs to Happen From This Point Forward

According to Barbera, we are going to have to answer some questions about what the U.S. is willing to do to take market share back in the cotton industry and the fiber industry as a whole. 

“In the short-term, cotton’s situation comes down to pricing,” Barbera said. “The fact that the board is building carry (carry indicates that the bales coming in don’t have a buyer) is a warning sign to all that are willing to listen.” 

Barbera added concerns for the mid-south crop, which shows a 37 staple — a pricey bale to begin with not including the other factors at play right now.

Toward the end of Barbera’s presentation, he expressed the need to spread the message of the quality of U.S. cotton as well as promoting sustainable fibers and best production practices.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that we are unable to grab market share in the U.S., given the practices of other countries,” he added. “Our consumers, especially our younger generations, need to hear from you now. I live in New York and I see how your consumers think and behave. They will care about this and it will affect their purchasing choices if we tell them. Shout it from the rooftops.” 

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September 15, 2023

Welcome to the September 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.

Plains Cotton Growers and Southern Southeastern Cotton Growers meet with the staff for Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA)

Three Days. 18 Congressional Visits, 16 Fundraisers. Roughly 35,000 Steps. PCG Goes to DC.

Plains Cotton Growers was busy this week, advocating for the Texas High Plains and state and national cotton industry interests in Washington D.C.

PCG CEO Kody Bessent brought the PCG officers — Brent Nelson, Martin Stoerner, Travis Mires and Brent Coker — to visit with Congressional members on the importance of averting a government shutdown, improving the farm safety net and passing a strong farm bill that will benefit producers and industry for the next five years.

Opinions from Congress on whether the government will shut down was a mixed bag. Some Senators and Representatives stated they didn’t feel it would get to that point, while others were emphatic that it would. PCG officers emphasized the implications for the cotton industry should that happen, speaking for producers, but also for the merchant segment as we near the harvest season.


Each officer had speaking points they discussed with members. Nelson spoke to the market loan rate and the need to raise the rate to accommodate for the rise in production costs. Stoerner emphasized the need to increase reference prices to address the same thing.


PCG Secretary/Treasurer Brent Coker, Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) and PCG Chairman Brent Nelson.

Mires stressed the importance of crop insurance for producers, saying, “We’d hate to lose any ground when it comes to crop insurance, and it would be great if we could strengthen it even more.”

Coker specifically addressed the need for a producer to have the ability to enroll in both the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) and the Price Loss Coverage  (PLC) program to further mitigate producer risk. “Adding this option to increase our access to risk management tools would greatly help us spread out our risk, while also accommodating the needs of the landowners from whom we lease the land,” he added.

Our officers took time off from their operations and busy family lives to advocate for agriculture, which doesn’t go unnoticed by government officials.

“It’s so important that we hear from you,” said Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS) addressing PCG producers. “We can’t help you if we don’t know what your challenges are. Only you can give us the experience perspective.”

This was Coker’s first fly-in with the team. “It was eye-opening to see how involved the process is; how important communication and education is for these Representatives and Senators, but also the staffers,” he said. “It was a great experience and I was humbled to play a small part in the advocacy this week.”

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September 8, 2023

Welcome to the September 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.

Crop Outlook — IPM Edition

The Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service Entomology Department addresses water usage and pest conditions in their latest podcast. You can listen to it here: or read the breakdown by clicking on the tabs below.

Kerry Siders, IPM Agent for Cochran, Lamb and Hockley Counties

Kerry Siders, IPM Agent for Cochran, Lamb and Hockley Counties

It’s still hot and there are still a lot of questions about irrigation. I would encourage producers with a good crop to continue watering through this heat wave through Sunday. It looks like the National Weather Service is calling for a little break in the temperatures and even a little chance of rain for a good part of the High Plains next week, so I’d say that watering would be almost a must to get through this weekend.

The No. 1 thing is making certain that your crop can tolerate a certain amount of stress. If you have a late crop and those last bolls that you’re really counting on contributing to yield are not over 20 days old (set around August 15 through 20) then they should be able to take some moderate stress by this weekend. Again, if we see these temperatures go down to the lower 90s and into the high-80s to mid-80s, and man if we just get a little help, those crops should be in decent shape. However, we’ve got to be careful what we pray for. If we get a big deluge of rainfall my concern is we’ll see some regrowth occurring. That’s not going to help in any respect; in fact, it will make things more difficult when we get to harvest. I know we’ll always take a rain — we’ve all said this — and there’s not anything we can do about it. It’s just important to understand the consequences of a big rain from this point on.

Regarding insects, we have put most everything to bed. Still keep an eye out for cotton aphids and Lygus, but here in my territory, I have not been picking up on those insects. In fact, in terms of aphids the beneficials have pretty much cleaned them out, not just in cotton but also in some of our grain crops.

If we do get some rains next week and a lot of hard ground softens up, it would be a great time to get some nematode sampling done. I know a lot of y’all have questions about harvest aids — many of us will have that information coming soon about the timing and products. I hope to have some harvest aid demonstrations out soon that will provide you with some numbers.

John Thobe, IPM agent Bailey, Castro and Parmer Counties

John Thobe, IPM agent Bailey, Castro and Parmer Counties

Kerry said it best when he said we’re going to put some water to it and on it. I think a lot of my guys are speeding up pivots right now and trying to get that one last pass in —  maybe finish the pass they’re on.

I’m not seeing anything out there entomologically right now save for some stink bugs and things like that that are starting to work their way into cotton and sorghum heads just here and there. It’s not a huge concern yet. And the boll worms have gone from essentially a little bit of a potential threat to almost nothing so far.  Not to say they couldn’t be a potential threat here moving into the middle of September, but for right now we’re not seeing a whole lot of pressure there.

Keegan McCollum, IPM agent for Gaines County

Keegan McCollum, IPM agent for Gaines County

I want to echo what Kerry and John have both said about cotton with the potential rain coming next week. We really want to keep an eye on our watering. We don’t want it to get too growthy or late in the season, but most fields I don’t think are going to have a big issue as small as they are currently.

Blayne Reed, IPM agent for Hale and Swisher County

Blayne Reed, IPM agent for Hale and Swisher County

I still have a few fields of cotton that have a bit of lush to them and some bolls up top that have a decent chance of making. We’ve got a tremendous beneficial population taking care of any boll worm threat. We are still looking at some Lygus out there, and I’ve got a handful of fields with bolls up top that can make that are still at risk for those pests. We treated some fields late last week — I hope we don’t run into any this week. We do still need to be watching for aphids and the stink bugs.

Our late crops like 10% to 20% of our acres are still at peak water use – we’ve got time to make it, unless we get a September freeze, but we’re still running pretty high temperatures at night. This isn’t necessarily out of the ordinary. We’re still watching several fields with the most mature crops looking at irrigation management and being very careful about what drops we put where this time of year. Are we just boll filling or if we’re trying to water blooms that have no chance. Be careful this time of year and make sure your inputs will pay back.

September 1, 2023

Welcome to the September 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.

Cruz and Boozman Tour Texas; Told to Return Profitability to Agriculture

“The world is totally different now than it was two years ago,” Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) said, addressing the group at a round table for him and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Aug. 30, 2023. “We can no longer operate on prices that were set in 2012. It’s not just fertilizer and fuel that has gone up. It’s everything.”

Roughly 22 commodity and agriculture industry organizations were represented at the Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Boozman Roundtable held at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock. As the event moderator, PCG CEO Kody Bessent began, “Policy is like football. It’s a team sport and we’re glad to have a diverse range of agricultural groups with us today.”

The Senators listened as industry representatives discussed challenges experienced in their segments. All have been hurt by production costs stemming from higher interest rates and record inflation.

Click on the tabs to see the cotton industry’s feedback to the Senators.

PCG President and Floyd County Producer Martin Stoerner

Photo credit: Chris Corrado, Sen. Cruz Photographer

“An increase in reference prices is needed to combat the cost of production,” said Martin Stoerner, Plains Cotton Growers president.

Producer and Texas Farm Bureau State Director District 2 Walt Hagood

Photo credit: Chris Corrado, Sen. Cruz Photographer

“The 2022 Emergency Relief Program was approved by Congress last December and we still haven’t seen those payments. It’s becoming a real problem for producers and for the banks since farmers do not cash flow in these tough times,” said Walt Hagood, producer in Lynn, Lubbock and Hockley Counties and Texas Farm Bureau State Director for District 2.

Crosby County Producer, Southwest Council of Agribusiness Board Member Steve Verett

Photo credit: Chris Corrado, Sen. Cruz Photographer

“We need to raise the level of support — it’s not current to producer needs in 2023. In the meantime, this 2022 disaster assistance program needs to be implemented just like the ERP Phase 1 for 2020 and 2021. The reason we’re having to look at emergency-type programs is because our safety net is not adequate for the needs of today,” said Steve Verett, Crosby County producer and Southwest Council of Agribusiness board member.

Owner and CEO of Willingham Southwest Cotton Gin and Chair and CEO of South Plains Financial Inc. Curtis Griffith

“It’s tough for farmers to buy at retail prices yet sell their goods at wholesale prices — the cost/price squeeze really hurts them and us as their financial institutions,” said Curtis Griffith, owner and CEO of Willingham Southwest Cotton Gin and Chair and CEO of South Plains Financial Inc.

Crop Insurance Agent Gid Moore

“In regard to 2022 ERP, this is much needed by producers, and they would put it to good use if they could get it. It’s maddening that USDA hasn’t issued payments nine months after approval,” said Gid Moore of Moore Crop Insurance and Crop Insurance Professionals of America vice chair.

Rolling Plains Cotton Producers President Sutton Page

“I have a 5,000-acre farm and to some that seems big, but, in reality, I’m a small farmer that needs a great amount of capital to operate. It’s very disheartening to spend so much money on a crop just to see it run out of gas due to weather conditions. If there were extra money in the Farm Bill, the option to elect both STAX and ARC/PLC that would be a huge help for us,” said Sutton Page, Rolling Plains Cotton Growers president.

Farmers Cooperative Compress President and CEO Eric Wanjura

“I represent roughly 9,000 members who are either cotton growers or landowners throughout West Texas and beyond. These members rely on the Farm Bill, particularly the crop insurance provision — it’s crucial to their livelihood, and by extension, ours. Cotton is unique in that once the cotton is grown and harvested, it relies on a robust infrastructure to process the crop further — larger than that of grains. This cotton infrastructure depends on volume. These last several drought years where the volume has been down has hurt infrastructure, particularly the ginning industry, with no way to benefit from crop insurance as the producer does. If there is any meaningful way to include infrastructure in the Farm Bill, that would be helpful in supporting the cotton industry as a whole,” said Eric Wanjura, president and CEO of Farmers Cooperative Compress.

That afternoon, following the roundtable, Sen. Cruz visited the USDA-AMS Lubbock Cotton Classification Complex, the most advanced cotton classification facility in the world. Processing up to 50,000 samples per day, Lubbock supervisor Danny Martinez, showed Cruz the automated climate control laboratory and explained classing process and procedures.

Photo credit: Chris Corrado, Sen. Cruz Photographer

Cruz and his team wrapped up the afternoon by traveling to Brandon Patschke’s farm to learn more about cotton farming operations.

Photo credit: Blake Vineyard, Sen. Cruz staff

At the end of the day, Cruz said:

“Texas is an ag powerhouse nationally, but the role y’all play is at the heart of Texas and who we are. We all know this is a crazy time nationally. I think what’s happening in Washington right now is absolutely nuts. We’re seeing an extreme agenda being pushed in Washington. When I look at rural Texas, farmers and ranchers, y’all embody the common sense conservative values that make Texas Texas. You don’t have time to deal with a lot of BS other than actual BS. And I look at y’all and see that you are defending who we are as a state. You are defending the values that built Texas and that define you and I think that is incredibly important to making this state continue to be the incredible success story that we have been for so long. I have been proud for 11 years to keep fighting to keep Washington off of your backs to let you do what you do. You feed us you clothe us, you keep us alive and you keep our values alive.”