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Cotton News

April 5, 2024

By April 12th, 2024No Comments

Welcome to the April 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.

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against USDA for Implementation of 2022 Emergency Relief Program

A lawsuit was filed against USDA in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas – Amarillo Division last Friday (March 29) by Texas farmers for discrimination in USDA’s methodology of the 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP).

USDA set a dangerous precedent in the design of the 2022 ERP. While the 2020-2021 program provided adequate disaster relief based on insurance records in phase 1, USDA began shifting toward tax record evaluation in phase 2. Despite heavy feedback on the challenges with 2020-2021 ERP phase 2 from producers and agricultural groups, the shift became more drastic in the 2022 ERP.

USDA enacted a new progressive payment factor for 2022 ERP on their own accord, deviating further away from the methodology used for 2020-2021 ERP — disregarding the legislative intent of how the disaster relief should be distributed. Essentially, with the way the 2022 program was set up, farmers with some of the heaviest losses received the least amount of aid if they did not qualify as a socially disadvantaged producer or entity.

When challenged on his implementation of the 2022 program, Secretary Vilsack dismissed the unequal distribution of aid, claiming Congress did not provide him with adequate funding. If the philosophy used to develop the 2022 program goes unchecked, we will see even more discriminatory actions from USDA. We hope this suit will set a new precedent for fair and equal distribution of disaster relief funds in the future.

Representing the plaintiffs is the Southeastern Legal Foundation, a national nonprofit legal organization dedicated to defending liberty who have handled similar cases in the past. PCG will keep you updated of ongoing developments within this case.

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The 67th PCG Annual Meeting Proves the Future is Bright

April 2 was a good day.

More than 330 producers and industry representatives gathered at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas, for the 67th annual meeting of Plains Cotton Growers Inc.

The theme for this year’s meeting was “Build for the Future,” which was woven throughout the day in our general session segments and breakout sessions. Here are the highlights.

The U.S. Farm Report was taped at the annual meeting on April 2 and will air on Saturday morning at April 6.

The U.S. Farm Report

U.S. Farm Report Host Tyne Morgan led a roundtable discussion with National Cotton Council Vice President of Economics and Policy Analysis Jody Campiche, Texas A&M University Agricultural Food and Policy Center Co-Director Bart Fischer, and Combest, Sell & Associates Chief Economist Brad Weddelman. The discussion involved how the current economic outlook of the cotton industry would affect future decisions and outcomes.

The episode will air April 6, Saturday morning, on local affiliates and RFD-TV.

Cotton Segment Panel

Cotton Segment Panel

Following the U.S. Farm Report, PCCA CEO and President Kevin Brinkley moderated a panel representing six segments of the cotton industry. Panelists included Spring-Lake Earth Producer and PCG Officer Brent Coker, North Gin Manager Jordy Rowland, Farmers Cooperative Compress President and CEO Eric Wanjura, PYCO Industries President Robert Lacy, and American Cotton Shippers Association President Buddy Allen.

When discussing hard times, Lacy said the following regarding the future:

“None of us would be in this business if we didn’t have faith. We all remember hard years in our careers that we weren’t sure we were going to make it out of, but we’re still here. I have faith that we will have good times again.”

Keynote Speaker David Avrin

Keynote Speaker David Avrin

Customer service expert David Avrin discussed future proofing businesses through service and management.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • You have to do business as if every one of your customers is armed with a video camera — because they are.
  • 63% say a convenient customer experience is more important than a friendly customer experience. – 2022 ACA Report
  • There is 100 times a better chance of winning the business with a reply within five minutes. – Harvard Business Review

We are so appreciative of our membership and industry friends for spending the day with us and for our sponsors who made the whole event possible.

Platinum: AgTexas, Capital Farm Credit, StoneX

Gold: BASF, Deltapine

Silver: Farmers Cooperative Compress, West Texas A&M University

Bronze: First United Bank, Jolly Crop Insurance, Peoples Bank,  Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, TTU Davis College of Agriculture, Vista Bank, Wellington State Bank

Gray: ECOM USA, Cargill, City Bank, Corteva, Lubbock National Bank, Tucker Oil Company

Other: AgWomen Connect, The Cotton Board, Sound Agriculture

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Upcoming Events

Lower Rolling Plains Ag Conference
Date: April 10, 2024
Location: Scurry County Coliseum, Snyder, Texas

Plains Cotton Growers Advisory Group Meeting
Date: April 12, 2024
Location: PCG Conference Room, Lubbock, Texas

Plains Cotton Growers Advisory Group Meeting
Date: May 10, 2024
Location: PCG Conference Room, Lubbock, Texas

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

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