Welcome to the March 24, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.
Efforts to Provide Disaster Assistance to Cotton Infrastructure Continue
As referenced in previous issues of this newsletter, the 2022-crop is one for the record books — and not one that will soon be forgotten.
“Cotton production has been decimated by drought and extreme heat this year, costing Texas High Plains farmers and other agricultural industries at least $2 billion, according to one estimate,” Jayme Lozano wrote for the Texas Tribune in August of last year.
Producers in the High Plains region abandoned more than 72% of planted acres due to the persistent drought and utter lack of subsoil moisture. While that’s not something anyone wants to go through, the weather is one of those facets outside a grower’s control. Thankfully, risk management tools through the Farm Bill, in addition to recently administered disaster assistance through “ad hoc” programming, have kept producers afloat especially in a year like 2022 where Mother Nature simply didn’t want to cooperate during the growing season.
Unfortunately, other segments of the cotton industry don’t have the same risk management tools in place to weather the kind of loss that was experienced in the 2022 cropping season.
According to an August 2022 study from the Texas Tech University International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness, and source of the estimate given above, cotton gins in the PCG service region were projected to lose more than $230 million in working capital.
In an effort to relieve some of the financial strain and distress of 2022 on the cotton industry, more specifically cotton infrastructure, Plains Cotton Growers made an initial attempt to secure federal disaster assistance for cotton infrastructure in the FY2022-2023 spending package.
“In a year like 2022, when cotton production volume is extraordinarily low, it negatively impacts every segment of the cotton industry,” said Kody Bessent PCG CEO. “In order to maintain our supply chain resiliency across all cotton segments, we’d like to see our infrastructure colleagues provided with some funding assistance to keep their doors open in 2023, assuming they suffered a loss in 2022.”
Unfortunately, the federal attempt was thwarted last minute, so PCG pivoted with our best foot forward and brought it to the state Capitol’s attention at the beginning of the 88th Texas Legislature.
The severity of the drought of 2022 on the Texas cotton industry — specifically cotton infrastructure — due to a lack of production or throughput, has had and will have a long-term effect on not only producers but infrastructure as a whole.
According to recent analysis by the American Farm Bureau, Texas suffered the most significant weather-related damage to crops of all U.S. states with over $6.4 billion in incurred losses. These losses were primarily made up of $2.9 billion in damages to cotton in 2022 mainly attributed to widespread exceptional drought conditions.
Furthermore, according to USDA 2022 crop acreage certification data (578 data), Texas planted 7,722,964 acres of cotton in 2022, and failed or did not take to harvest 3,775,591 of those acres — creating an abandonment rate of 49.7%. Compare that to the High Plains region (where on average 60% of all cotton is grown in Texas) experiencing a 72.3% acreage abandonment rate in 2022 — surpassing 2011 failed acreage, the former benchmark for historic drought.
A budget rider is currently being advocated for in the Texas Senate and House that would establish a one-time block grant program for cotton infrastructure to help ease some of the strain from financial losses credited to the 2022 crop year.
Assuming this initiative comes to fruition, an entity in the cotton infrastructure segment — located in a county identified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 (Extreme Drought) for eight consecutive weeks or D3 (Exceptional Drought) during calendar year 2022 — that experienced a 30% loss or greater in revenue from 2021 to 2022, could receive up to $500,000 in agriculture disaster relief to put toward fixed costs.
We all need each other in this industry and the 2022-crop year definitely highlights that. PCG will continue to strive to make headway through Congress and our state Legislature to support cotton producers as well as our infrastructure segments during these challenging times. If you have any questions or would like to know how you can support this effort, please call the office: 806-792-4904.
Plains Cotton Improvement Committee Meets to Discuss 2022 Research Results, Plans for 2023
The Plains Cotton Improvement Committee (PCIP) met Thursday, March 23, 2023, to discuss research results in 2022 and plans for 2023. Researchers presented on pest management, plant diseases, variety trials, and more, as they discussed plans for research in the future.
The committee heard the following presentations:
- Dr. Megha Parajulee, Texas AgriLife Research – “Insect Pest Management in Texas High Plains Cotton.”
- “I’m excited about this program’s commitment to the research,” said Megha Parajulee, Ph.D. “Every year, more people attend this meeting and it’s great to see everyone eager to participate in this work.”
- Dr. Jane Dever, Texas AgriLife Extension – “High Plains Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation (RACE) Trials.”
- Dever presented the Southern High Plains RACE Trials results for the High Plains cotton specialist position, which is currently in the process of being filled following the recent departure of Dr. Murilo Maeda.
- Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas AgriLife Extension – “Northern High Plains Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation (RACE) Trials.”
- As extension agronomist Jourdan Bell, Ph.D., discussed research in the northern Panhandle, PCIP Chair Barry Evans stated, “The area north of Interstate 40 has become very important. I’m not sure people realize how much cotton is up there. There is more cotton in that region than in the entire state of Tennessee.”
- Dr. John Wanjura, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service – “Enhancement of Post-Harvest Research on High Plains Cotton Varieties.”
- Dr. Brendan Kelly, Texas Tech University Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute – “Textile Performance Evaluation of Selected High Plains Cotton Varieties.”
- Dr. Jane Dever and Dr. Carol Kelly, Texas Agriculture Extension Service – “Development of Improved Cotton Germplasm for the High Plains Production Area of Texas.”
- Dr. Terry Wheeler, Texas AgriLife Research – “A Field Screening Program for Resistance to Bacterial Blight.”
- Dr. Terry Wheeler, Texas AgriLife Research – “Reassessing Cotton Variety Resistance to Fusarium Wilt Disease.”
- Dr. Wheeler presented this research for the position in process of being filled following the recent departure of Dr. Cecilia Monclova Santana.
For more information, visit the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center – Lubbock website.
Tyne Morgan to Address Plains Cotton Growers at Annual Meeting
Tyne Morgan, host of the U.S. Farm report will be presenting an agriculture industry outlook at the Plains Cotton Growers Inc. 66th annual meeting.
Morgan is doing what she calls her “dream job.” She’s a Missouri girl who has generations of agriculture rooted in her blood. Through public speaking and various contest teams, she actually plunged into broadcast at the young age of 16, working for the local radio station KMZU in Carrollton, Missouri.
Tyne attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she majored in Agricultural Journalism, with an emphasis in broadcast, graduating in 2008.
After spending numerous hours on the road as AgDay and U.S. Farm Report National Reporter, in 2014, Tyne was named the first female Host of U.S. Farm Report. She’s only the fourth host of the show, following Orion Samuelson, Max Armstrong and John Phipps. Today, Tyne continues to take a deep dive into the news and issues farmers are facing today, while also sharing stories from across rural America. She’s an award-winning agricultural journalist, receiving NAFB’s prestigious Doan Award twice, most recently in 2022.
More important than any title she holds today, is her title of “Mom.” Tyne and her husband James (from Plainview, Texas) are raising their two daughters in Orrick, Missouri, where they’re reminded daily the power and grit of a rural community as they volunteer with several organizations and work to give back.
“I admire so much about farmers and ranchers in the Texas High Plans, but what I admire most is the grit and tenacity they show each and every year,” Morgan said. “This past year that was on full display, and it’s an honor to join PCG for the annual meeting. We’ll dig into the news and issues that matter most to cotton farmers in the area, but I’ll also share stories from across the country that showcase the best of agriculture and rural America.”
The annual meeting is March 28, at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas. Registration for this free event and a buffet breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m. The program starts at 9 a.m. See you next week in Lubbock!
Deadlines and Reminders
Conservation Reserve Program Sign-up Dates
General sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) began February 27 and ends 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 next week, March 28 at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center. Register online today!