|NCC Joins in Letter Opposing Ag Spending Cuts|
The NCC was among 72 agriculture groups signing a letter to the Budget Conference Committee reiterating their opposition to spending cuts in agricultural programs. The signatories included commodity, conservation and nutrition organizations.
The letter stated, "The careful allocation of resources evidenced by the new law should not be upset so soon after its enactment. The undersigned organizations respectfully urge the Conference Committee not to include any reconciliation instructions in the final Budget Resolution to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, the House Committee on Agriculture or the House Committee on Education and the Workforce."
Members of the Conference Committee, which met for the first time during the week, are Sens. Nickles (R-OK), Conrad (D-ND), Domenici (R-NM), Grassley (R-IA), Gregg (R-NH), Hollings (D-SC) and Sarbanes (D-MD) and Reps. Nussle (R-IA), Spratt (D-SC) and Shays (R-CT). The full text of the letter is available at www.cotton.org.
|USDA Report Indicates 2% Increase in Cotton Acreage for ’03|
USDA’s March Prospective Plantings Report indicated that US producers intend to plant 14.25 million acres of cotton in ’03-04, up 2.1% from the previous year. Upland area is projected to be 14.05 million acres, up 2.4% from ’02-03, while ELS area is projected to fall 18.0% to 200,000 acres. The NCC’s Planting Intentions Survey, released in early February, indicated that US farmers intend to plant 14.05 million acres in ’03-04, 13.86 million acres of upland cotton and 184,000 acres of ELS cotton.
Projected upland area in the Southeast of 3.33 million acres represents a reduction of 4.7% from the previous year. All states in the region show declines from the previous year, with the largest reductions in Florida (-16.7%) and South Carolina (-13.8%). In the Mid-South, projected plantings of 3.82 million acres represent an increase of 6.1%, with Missouri, Mississippi and Arkansas all showing increases in excess of 6.5%. An increase of 3.9% to 6.11 million acres is indicated for the Southwest, as growers in Kansas report an increase of 37.5%. Prospective upland plantings in the West represent an increase of 6.5% from the previous year, with California and New Mexico increasing acres 12.5% and 7.4%, respectively.
Intended ELS area is down in all states except New Mexico, where plantings are unchanged from the previous year. Based on 5-year average abandonment and yields, USDA’s prospective cotton plantings would be consistent with an ’03-04 crop of about 17.51 million bales.
In comments made for the NCC’s Cotton Newsline and AgDay TV programs, NCC Vice President for Economics and Policy Analysis Gary Adams said the projected increase reflects improved cotton prices, stemming from strengthening US cotton exports and a tighter world supply and demand situation.
"The single largest factor behind the increase is the fact that we have much better cotton prices this year than we had a year ago," Adams said. "As we went through ’02, we had a smaller world crop; we continued to see demand strengthen; and, as a result, we have a December contract now that’s trading some 15 to 18 cents above this time a year ago."
|USDA Issues Final Rule on Acreage Reporting|
USDA published the final rule implementing acreage reporting and common provisions of the new farm law. The rule implements provisions of the ’02 act that require producers to submit annual acreage reports with respect to all cropland on the farm as a condition of the receipt of any direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments.
The law authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to issue rules necessary to ensure compliance with planting flexibility requirements; use of base for agricultural or conserving use; and control of noxious weeds and maintenance of land using sound agricultural practices if the agricultural or conserving use involves the non-cultivation of any base. The regulation requires program participants to file acreage reports "by the final reporting date applicable to the crop as established by the County Committee and State Committee. Participants that knowingly or willingly provide false or inaccurate acreage reports may be ineligible for some or all payments or benefits."
The regulations do provide for use of global positioning system and aerial photographs, and producers may request measurement services by the County Committee. The regulation also covers rules regarding reconstitution of farms.
The final rule was published in the April 3 Federal Register.
|No Change in '03 Classing Fees|
USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) announced that the ’03 crop classing fees will be unchanged at $1.45 per bale.
The calculation of the annual fee is based on the formula included in the Uniform Cotton Classing Fees Act of ’87, as amended. The formula requires AMS to estimate the potential volume to be classed, the cost of operating the classing service and a reasonable operating reserve fund. A voluntary 5-cents-per-bale discount will be available for voluntary centralized billing and collecting agents.
Growers or their designated agents receiving classification data would continue to incur no additional fees for one method of receiving data. An additional fee of 5 cents per bale will be charged for each additional method of receiving classification data. The fee for review classification is $1.45 per bale, and the fee for returning samples after classification is 40 cents per sample.
|US Textiles Get Marker Project, China Safeguard Procedures|
Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas announced the conclusion of the first stage in a textile marker project to help fight fraudulent foreign trading practices that harm the US textile industry and procedures for safeguard actions on textile and apparel imports from China, "new developments to help the US textile industry remain competitive in the global marketplace."
Aldonas announced three technologies - ultra-violet fluorescent marks, nanobarcodes and a DNA-based marker system - as a key solution that may allow for a cost-effective textile "marker" system for practical use by US textile manufacturers and the Customs Service. The Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) recommended these technologies. The Commerce Department secured the expertise of ORNL in October ’02 to explore the development of a special "marker" system to track the presence of US-made yarns and fabrics in U.S. apparel imports.
Aldonas also announced guidelines for how textile companies can file requests with the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements for consideration for safeguard actions against textile and apparel imports from China. The procedures will be published in the Federal Register.
These procedures implement a special safeguard provision for textiles and apparel that is part of China’s agreement for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under this safeguard provision, the US retains the right to impose quotas to address surges in imports of textile and apparel products from China that have been "integrated" (i.e. removed from quota) into the WTO trade regime. The China textile safeguard will remain in effect until Dec. 31, ’08.
|NCC Taking Applications for ’03-04 Cotton Leadership Class|
Applications will be taken until July 1 for US cotton industry members seeking selection to the ’03-04 Cotton Leadership Class.
Those interested in applying can visit the Cotton Leadership Program’s new web site at http://leadership.cotton.org to review the program curriculum, eligibility requirements and download the application. The site also includes a contact form that allows users to submit questions, request information and schedule a personal visit with local program alumni. After July 1, industry members can submit applications for the ’04-05 class, said NCC Member Services Director John Gibson, who manages the program.
The program, now in its 20th year, is supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from DuPont Crop Protection. The 10-member leadership class is comprised of 4 producers and one participant from each of the other 6 industry segments. The NCC’s Cotton Leadership Development Committee will choose the ’03-04 class in July. Committee Chairman Jimmy Sanford, an Alabama producer, encouraged industry members wanting to take a more active role in the US cotton industry to apply for the class.
Sanford said program alumni have utilized the skills and knowledge gained from their participation to represent the US cotton industry on state, regional, national and international levels. He noted that ’84-85 leadership class graduate Bobby Greene currently serves as the NCC’s chairman – the organization’s top post. Greene, a Courtland, AL, ginner, is the first leadership class graduate elected to that position, but others have served in key positions in NCC. That includes Bobby Carson, a Marks, MS, producer who currently is president of the NCC’s export promotions arm, Cotton Council International, and who served as president of The Cotton Foundation.
The Cotton Leadership Program seeks to identify potential industry leaders and provide developmental training through this class. During 5 sessions of activity across the Cotton Belt, participants visit with industry leaders and observe production, processing and research. They meet with lawmakers and government agency representatives during a visit to Washington, DC, and attend the NCC’s annual meeting and its mid-year board of directors meeting.
Members of the ’02-03 class are: producers – Todd Isbell, Muscle Shoals, AL; George LaCour, Jr., Morganza, LA; Brian Vanderlick, Alexandria, LA; and Jack Seiler, Blythe, CA; ginner – Russ Kuhnhenn, Acme Gin Company, Buckeye, AZ; warehouseman – Dan Sullivan, Anderson Clayton/Queensland Cotton, Fresno, CA; merchant – Edward Clarke, Joseph Walker & Company, Columbia, SC; crusher – Tim Detamore, Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Oklahoma City, OK; cooperative – Scott Stockton, Plains Cotton Cooperative Assn., Lubbock, TX; and manufacturer – Vern Tyson, Jr., National Textiles LLC, Winston-Salem, NC.
|Export Sales Continue Strong Pace|
Net export sales for the week ending March 27 were 376,500 bales (480-lb.), resulting in total ’02-03 sales of almost 11.1 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’01-02 marketing year were approximately 11.3 million bales. Total new crop (’03-04) sales are 763,700 bales (480-lb.).
Shipments for the week were 385,700 bales, bringing total exports to date to 6.7 million bales, down from 7.3 million at the comparable point in the ’01-02 marketing year. If the pace of recent weeks is maintained, exports for the marketing year would reach USDA’s projection of 10.8 million bales.
|Prices Effective April 4-10, 2003|
Adjusted World Price, SLM 1 1/16 47.94 cents*
Current 3135 c.i.f. Northern Europe 60.94 cents
Weighted Marketing-Year Average Farm Price
Year-to-Date (August-February) 42.03 cents**
**August-July average price will be used in determination of counter-cyclical payment