The American Cotton Producers, chaired by Shawn Holladay, joined the Cotton Foundation’s membership at the recent joint summer meeting in Austin, Texas, to review several of the NCC’s primary policy issues.
Keynote speaker Martin Barbre, administrator of USDA’s Rick Management Agency, updated the group on the latest changes relating to cotton crop insurance from the Agency as well as those contained in the 2018 farm law. Robbie Minnich, NCC senior government affairs manager, reported on several new crop insurance initiatives being discussed with RMA, including a proposed hurricane coverage rider that could be available for the 2020 crop.
Jody Campiche, the NCC’s vice president, Economics and Policy Analysis, provided a detailed cotton economic report along with preliminary estimates of 2018 seed cotton program payment rates. She also reviewed county payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program and 2018 STAX yields and estimated indemnities for counties with coverage and triggered losses.
Reece Langley, the NCC’s vice president, Washington Operations, provided updates on the Congressional agenda for the remainder of this year; the 2018 farm law implementation; provisions of the Agricultural Disaster Assistance program; a trade policy update; a review of several cotton regulatory issues and an update on the appropriation status.
After NCC President/CEO Gary Adams reviewed options for an education program for the 2018 farm law in mid-September, the attendees agreed that the most effective option was a series of webinar-based presentations. Schedules will be released at a later date.
The ACP discussed and concurred with a recommendation from the NCC Lint Contamination Subcommittee regarding the designation of a 71/72 plastic class determination which will be presented to the NCC Quality Task Force in August. The group also received a report regarding planting seed size from Robert Lacy, a Texas cottonseed crusher who chairs the NCC Cotton Quality Committee.
A U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol workshop was held in conjunction with this meeting in order to enroll ACP members who previously had not joined the program.
Don Parker, the NCC’s manager of Integrated Pest Management, updated the group about a producer-led stewardship action, “Aligning Today and Tomorrow.” The concept provides a mechanism to educate the public of the many environmental stewardship activities producers have been and continue to be implementing on their farm operations. Parker noted the educational effort is needed in today’s society and regulatory environment to provide a true representation of farming practices rather than the negative images portrayed by many anti-pesticide advocate groups.
Parker also provided a brief report of a new virus—Cotton Leaf Roll Dwarf Virus or CLRDV—identified in many Cotton Belt states. He reported that research efforts, partly funded by Cotton Incorporated, are underway to determine what, if any, yield impact can be identified. He said many other projects involve screening of varieties and determining the potential for any future recommendation supported by data. Parker reported that no changes in management recommendations have been developed, but Extension and research scientists are actively engaged to evaluate the virus’ importance.
In other action at the joint meeting, the Cotton Foundation Board of Trustees approved funding for nine general research projects totaling $212,000 for 2019-20. Included are studies related to pest management, sustainability, regulatory issue information gathering, plant protection products re-registration, risk data updating and education.
Foundation trustees also elected officers for 2019-20. Paul Ollerton, a Casa Grande, Arizona, producer, was elected foundation chairman and John Willis, a Brownsville, Tennessee, producer, elected president. Other elected officers are: Gary Adams, executive vice president; Bill Norman, executive director/secretary; Doug Rushing, allied industry trustee with Bayer, treasurer; and Drew Davis, assistant treasurer.
Other CF trustees elected for 2019-20 include producers: Neal Isbell, Muscle Shoals, AL; Jon Whatley, Odem, TX and Dean Calvani, Carlsbad, NM; and allied industry members: Andrew Lauver, Syngenta; Matt Rekeweg, Corteva AgriSciences; Ranjit Nair, John Deere; Burleson Smith, BASF; Chris Reat, FMC; Kelly Fenner, Seal Transportation; and Joe Thomas, Lummus Corporation.