NCC Quality Task Force, chaired by James A. Sanford, producer, Prattville, AL, met Dec. 17 in Memphis for consideration of proposals developed by technical subcommittee. Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Greene, ginner, Courtland, AL, presented subcommittee recommendations. Quality Task Force modified subcommittee recommendations, which are now under review by leaders in each of industry's seven segments prior to consideration by NCC Board at Annual Meeting, as follows:
--Adopt HVI color as official color grade determination;
--Substantial reduction in Level I preparation discount, with Level II discount unchanged;
--Adopt uniformity as quality measure, applying premiums and discounts in CCC loan schedule for '00 crop;
--Modify strength and micronaire premium and discount loan schedule for '00 crop;
--Urge U.S. Department of Agriculture and Zellweger Uster and other equipment manufacturers to improve direct measurement of short fiber content for purpose of reporting to AMS;
--Maintain Quality Task Force for discussion of quality measures and loan premiums and discounts;
--Urge Cotton Incorporated, in cooperation with land grant universities and USDA, to begin breeding program designed to enhance quality and yields;
--Strengthen NCC resolutions calling on USDA, instrument manufacturers and others to refine HVI equipment to measure (a) color and (b) grass and bark; and
--Urge commercial seed breeders to focus on quality improvement to enhance manufacturing performance as well as yields.
Rep. Bonilla to Address Cotton Production Conference
Rep. Bonilla, R-TX, key member of House Appropriations Subcommittee, will address '00 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference Thursday, Jan. 6, at San Antonio Convention Center. He will talk about government's role in agricultural research.
Rep. Bonilla's subcommittee, which also provides funding for conservation and commodity programs, helped initiate emergency legislation that provided critically important financial assistance to farmers and rural economies in '98 and again last fall.
"Strategies for Solutions" is conferences' theme, and '00 forum will aim to look at economics of new technologies and examine every management angle in order to find ways to minimize producers' per-pound cost of cotton production. Jan. 5 to 6 production conference will feature multiple producer panels that will explore cost reduction alternatives through such specific practices as seed selection, pest management and use of new technologies.
Afternoons will feature sessions on managing soils, precision ag, crop insurance, cottonseed futures contracts, fiber quality, biotechnology, market simulation, options hedging, farm management software and Internet use. Annual "New Developments From Industry" session, afternoon of Jan. 6, will feature updates on latest equipment, chemicals and cotton varieties.
Afternoon production conference workshops and seminars, 12 technical conferences and Cotton Foundation technical exhibits will be held in both Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels.
Series of Beltwide Cotton Production Conference reports will be available on NCC Web site (www.cotton.org) beginning Jan. 6. Reports will be audio files only, launched from RealAudio on home page of Web site.
Cotton Economic Outlook by NCC Economic Services Director Mark Lange; Marketplace Insights by Dunavant Enterprises, Inc., Chairman and CEO Billy Dunavant, Jr.; and remarks by Texas Congressman Henry Bonilla are among reports that will be available.
Redistricting Changes Likely Based on Census Estimates
Several adjustments in Congressional redistricting based on '00 population estimates released Dec. 29 by Census Bureau are likely, according to projections by Republican and Democrat analysts.
Seven cotton states would be affected based on projections. Arizona, Georgia and Texas each would gain two seats; California and Florida each would gain one; and Mississippi and Oklahoma each would lose one seat. Other changes projected are gains of one seat each in Colorado and Nebraska; loss of two seats each in New York and Pennsylvania; and loss of one seat each in Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Changes in Illinois and Colorado were added to projections made at end of '98. Whether Montana regains seat it lost as result of '90 census is uncertain.
At present time, Republicans control one-half of state governments, which must redraw boundaries prior to '02 elections. Control could change as result of '00 elections and states could alter trend data by conducting aggressive census surveys. In victory for Republicans, Supreme Court has ruled census counts must be based on door-to-door survey, not statistical sampling.
Analysts noted growth is occurring more evenly than in '90. In that year, California gained seven seats. Now state is gaining only one seat, and largest gain of any state is two seats.
Monsanto completed sale of Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co. cottonseed unit to unit of Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Inc. In news release, Monsanto said Hicks Muse will retain Stoneville's management team and company base will remain in Memphis. As reported Aug. 6, Monsanto said Stoneville would operate as independent company under ownership of unnamed unit. Hicks Muse's Emergent Genetics unit will co-invest in company.
Monsanto offered to sell seed unit in July in order to gain regulatory approval of $1.5 billion merger with Delta & Pine Land (D&PL). However, Monsanto recently withdrew its filing for approval of proposed merger with D&PL in light of continued delays and demands of Justice Department (DOJ). Monsanto said it would continue to offer its technologies to cottonseed companies, including D&PL.
"We worked in good faith for over a year with the DOJ to address their concerns and complete a merger that maintained competition in the sale of cottonseed," said Hendrik A. Verfaillie, president and chief operating officer of Monsanto. "Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an understanding that would have let us go forward with this transaction. While the withdrawal of the filing does not preclude additional efforts with the Department, we cannot be optimistic that they will succeed."
Stoneville president Thomas F. 'Bud' Hughes said company will have marketing rights to sell Bollgard and Roundup Ready technology in its varieties and opportunity to develop and market future Monsanto biotech traits, along with those of other biotech trait providers. Stoneville also will continue to research, produce and market varieties with BXN technology.
To improve service and delivery of information to cotton industry, Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) has developed state-of-the-art electronic system utilizing Internet technologies to catalog sales and storage invoicing. Known as COPS (Cotton Online Processing System), it will greatly expand CCC's capability to deliver services while reducing costs.
Portion of COPS is already operational and is accessible by entities storing CCC loan-collateral or owned cotton and by potential buyers interested in purchasing CCC-owned cotton. Gin and warehouse operators with access codes from Kansas City Commodity Office may now receive quarterly invoices electronically to verify accuracy and generate payment. This reduces hard copy documents and mailings and expedites warehouse operators' payment capabilities.
Cotton loan forfeitures in '99 created largest CCC inventory in several years. CCC is expected to sell more than 100,000 bales of upland and extra long staple cotton in coming months. CCC has successfully conducted two small cotton sales utilizing COPS. Future sales will be conducted electronically. Bidders can access CCC's sale catalogs through COPS and place offers electronically. Successful offers will be invoiced and receipts transferred electronically upon payment.
COPS User Guide has been widely distributed to warehouse operators and cotton merchants. Companies that have not received it can request copy from Kansas City Commodity Office, Cotton Branch, at 816-926-6662, or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Net export sales for week ending Dec. 23 were 91,770 bales (480-lb.), about half of sales pace maintained since reinstatement of Step 2 program. Shipments for week were slightly over 127,000 bales, raising total exports for '99-00 marketing year to about 1.57 million bales. Outstanding commitments as of Dec. 23 were 3.83 million bales.
China's state-owned textile companies earned combined profit of $13.9 million in first 11 months of '99-first profit in six years, according to State Textile Industry Bureau. Industry experienced loss for same period in '98, report noted.
Bureau noted return to profit stemmed from lower cotton prices as government paid less for commodity to farmers, helping companies cut costs and raise competitiveness. Textile exports from January through November totaled $38.85 billion, about same level as same period last year.
Chinese textile makers are expected to gain more access to U.S. markets under pact signed with U.S. for China's entry into World Trade Organization.
NCC mailed annual early season planting intentions survey. All survey recipients are strongly encouraged to participate and have postage paid response in mail to NCC by mid-January. Individual survey responses are anonymous and confidential. Aggregate results will be made public on Feb. 4 at American Cotton Producers' meeting in Washington, DC, preceding NCC's Annual Meeting.