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March 17, 2023

Welcome to the March 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.

SSG John Kriesel to Deliver Keynote Address at Plains Cotton Growers Annual Meeting

If Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was writing his incredibly popular book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” today he would need to add a separate chapter on John Kriesel.

In 2006 Kriesel was nearly blown to shreds by a 200-pound roadside bomb in the parched sands of Iraq, but battlefield angels in army uniforms kept him breathing long enough to reach a field hospital. He died three times and was shocked back to life. Somehow he survived through four hospitals, 35 surgeries and months of recovery. He lost both legs and suffered numerous other major injuries, but it was the loss of two close friends that hurt the most.

The guy who wasn’t supposed to survive and was told he probably would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life walked out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center after nine months. Working with author Jim Kosmo, Kriesel reveals his motivational story in “STILL STANDING: The Story of SSG John Kriesel,” winner of eight national book awards.

Four years after his near-death experience in Iraq Kriesel became a civilian marketing employee with the Minnesota Army National Guard and in 2012 was named Director of Veterans Services for Anoka County. He also is a part time host on KFAN Sports Radio and former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. He was elected to the House in 2010 after a vigorous campaign where he was told he could not win in his district. He personally visited several thousand homes in all weather conditions and literally wore out the socket in one of his prosthetic legs. He won.

After tours of duty in Kosovo and Iraq and a lengthy medical recovery Kriesel’s family wanted to spend more time with him and he chose not to run for re-election in 2012.

As a legislator he was anything but a quiet freshman challenging even his own party and frequently speaking his mind. “Kriesel’s honesty is a breath of fresh air at the Capitol,” declared the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. In addition to serving veterans in the Twin Cities and being a frequent voice on KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show, he continues to share his upbeat, motivational message with businesses and organizations throughout the United States. 

Using humorous storytelling, Kriesel addresses the choices we can make when facing adversity. We are excited to have him as the keynote speaker for this year’s annual meeting. 

The 66th annual meeting of Plains Cotton Growers is March 28, 2023, at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center. 

Walk-in registration and a buffet breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. followed by the annual meeting program at 9 a.m. Afternoon workshops on cotton marketing and hedging, weed control, sustainability and the upcoming Farm Bill will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For questions or more information, you may call the office at 806-792-4904 or visit our website: 

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Farm Bill Listening Session in Texas

House Ag Committee Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson, (R-Pa.) hosted a farm bill listening session in Waco, Texas, Wednesday, March 15.

Shawn Holladay, chair of the National Cotton Council and past president of Plains Cotton Growers Inc., addresses the House Ag Committee at the Farm Bill Listening Session in Waco, Texas, March 15, 2023. Photo credit: Texas Farm Bureau.

He, along with bipartisan Members of the committee — Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Rep. Austin Scott, (R-Ga.), Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Kan.), and Rep. Jasmine Crockett (R-Texas) — listened to farmers, ranchers, producers, agribusiness owners, etc., as they provided feedback on the 2018 Farm Bill and highlighted issues the 2023 Farm Bill should address.

Shawn Holladay, chair of the National Cotton Council and past president of Plains Cotton Growers was one of the attendees who gave comments.

“The 2018 Farm Bill has served the industry well,” he stated to the committee. “However, the significant increase in input costs and disruptions in the global cotton market is undermining the effectiveness of the cotton safety net. Since the finalization of the 2018 Farm Bill, a majority of producer assistance has come through ad hoc funding from Congress. While this has been valuable due to untimely disasters, trade disputes and demand disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 Farm Bill should shore up the grower safety net and risk management tools…”

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Deadlines and Reminders

Conservation Reserve Program Sign-up Dates

General sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will begin February 27 and end April 7.

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol 

March 31, 2023, is the deadline for U.S. cotton producers to enroll their 2023 crop in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

PCG Annual Meeting

PCG’s 66th annual meeting is on March 28 at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center. Register online today! 

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400 Groups Stand United on Farm Bill Budget Needs

Plains Cotton Growers Inc. is among 400 farm and industry groups that signed onto a letter shared with congressional leadership on agriculture’s budgetary needs in the 2023 Farm Bill. That letter, sent to the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate Budget Committees, is a strong example of “united, we stand,” a phrase popular amongst the country’s founding fathers. 

Signees are hopeful modern leaders in the nation’s capital understand the value of agriculture and will take their needs into consideration when developing the fiscal year 2024 budget. 

“We write to express our strong support for providing (…) sufficient budgetary resources to write a new bipartisan, multi-year, comprehensive, and meaningful piece of legislation,” the groups convey in the letter, continuing, “Just as there are many pressures on the federal budget, there are many pressures on U.S. farmers and others throughout the agricultural supply chain who provide food, feed, fuel, fiber, and other products to consumers across the United States and abroad.” 

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Williams Family Named High Cotton-Southwest Award Recipients for 2023

By Kara Bishop

On February 14th, the Farwell community gathered in the high school gymnasium to celebrate the Williamses and their contributions to the cotton industry. 

The Williamses have produced cotton near Farwell, Texas, for four generations, according to Southwest Farm Press reporter Shelley Huguley. In the last 10 years they’ve expanded their operation 150 miles north to Dalhart. They produce cotton, corn, wheat and sorghum on roughly 18,000 acres of farmland. 

“My involvement with the Williams family began long before I came to work for Plains Cotton Growers,” said Steve Verett, producer in Crosby County and former executive vice president of PCG. “I met Bert first, which is Mark’s dad and one thing that always amazed me is how their family operation supported Bert, Mark, Mark’s two brothers and Bert’s son-in-law. They were all able to live off of one operation and were very successful farmers.” 

According to Verett and Shawn Holladay, producer in Dawson County and National Cotton Council chair, Mark was an influential contributor to PCG.

“Mark was always ‘looking over the hill,’ and futuristic in his approach to farming,” Verett added. “He was one of the first farmers to realize the water was depleting in Parmer County and started growing cover crops before we really even called them that.”

Holladay said Mark mentored him and encouraged him to increase his involvement in producer organizations. 

“I had been farming for a little over a decade when I began to get involved with Lamesa Cotton Growers,” Holladay added. “It wasn’t long before I expanded into the Plains Cotton Growers organization and Mark really took me under his wing. I owe a lot to him.” 

Mark served on many organizations and, according to his friends, “so supportive of his community and industry. If you wanted something done, he would help you.” 

He served as American Cotton Producers chairman, Plains Cotton Growers president and was the inaugural Southwest Council of Agribusiness president. Mark fought for the 1996 Farm Bill and remembers standing on stage with House Ag committee Chairman Larry Combest when President Bill Clinton signed it into law. 

“I can’t tell you what he means to me personally,” Verett added. “He was on the PCG officer team when we started ramping up our political advocacy. He is a lifelong friend and was a great encouragement to me over the years.”

The Williams farm includes Mark and his sons Ryan, Russel and Reagan, each playing different roles in making the operation successful. And while this award was given to the family, Ryan says it really belongs to his father. “This award is for my dad. He’s the one who deserves it.” 

Contributions from Shelley Huguley’s story in Southwest Farm Press were made to this story. Read Huguley’s article here.

PCG 66th Annual Meeting March 28, 2023

The Plains Cotton Growers Inc. 66th Annual Meeting will be held on March 28, 2023, at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas.

This year, online registration is available and highly encouraged.

What’s New

  • Tyne Morgan, host of the U.S. Farm Report will emcee the event and provide an agriculture industry outlook.
  • Keynote speaker John Kriesel will present during lunch, which is provided to all attendees.
  • PCG has partnered with the High Plains Journal and StoneX Group to provide workshops following the annual meeting.
  • High Plains Journal Cotton U Workshop
    • Legacy panel featuring unique farm partnerships
    • Breakout sessions:
      • Weed Management Challenges in 2023 by Dr. Pete Dotray
      • Sustainable Farming with the Water is Gone by Barry Evans
      • 2023 Farm Bill Outlook by Robbie Minnich
    • Farmer panel moderated by Crosby County Producer Steve Verett
  • StoneX Cotton Marketing and Hedging Workshop
    • Introduction to StoneX by Donna Hughes
    • Wheat and Small Grains Outlook by Dr. Mark Welch
    • Cotton Outlook by John Robinson
    • Crops, Fertilizer and Interest Rates Hedging by Jared Morgan
    • Risk Management Strategies- Futures, Options, and OTC Products by Bailey Thomen
    • CEU Credit Course by Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Cotton U Social Event

We are excited for this year’s event! Pre-Registration is highly encouraged.

Register Here

Download the Agenda

2023 Seed Cost Calculator Now Available

The 2023 version of the Plains Cotton Growers Inc. Seed Cost Calculator is available for download 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. 

Download the report here.