|Appropriations Priorities Relayed|
NCC letters to Senate and House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees expressed the US cotton industry’s strong support for the ’02 farm law and its solid opposition to efforts to re-open it in order to further restrict farm program benefits.
The letters to Sen. Bennett (R-UT), chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies; and to Rep. Bonilla (R-TX), chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies, also conveyed the industry’s request for FY06 funding for selected programs under those subcommittees’ jurisdiction. The letters emphasized that US cotton producers benefit from federally funded programs and activities designed to enhance quality, reduce production costs and build demand.
“Successful completion of the boll weevil eradication program, full implementation of the pink bollworm eradication effort, new technology developed through research, and demand building export programs including MAP, FMD and GSM credit are all essential to our industry,” the letter stated.
Along with asking for sufficient funding levels for the Market Access and Foreign Market Development programs and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the letters asked for rejection of terminations in the Administration’s FY06 budget proposal affecting research endeavors ranging from aflatoxin to fiber processing efficiency and for a restoration to 2005 levels of Hatch Act formula grants funding and funding for a new regional research and education project on reniform nematode for mid-southern states.
The NCC also is requesting $39.9 million for USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to provide a federal cost share of about 30% to active boll weevil eradication programs underway on about 9.5 million acres in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. That FY06 request is $7.5 million less than FY05 and continues the annual reduction since the FY01 request in keeping with a commitment to reduce federal cost-share funding as the eradication program moves toward completion.
The NCC is requesting $7.8 million be made available to APHIS for activities related to the pink bollworm eradication program. That would provide $6.2 million “net-to-field” as follows: (1) $5 million to produce sufficient sterile moths in the Phoenix facility to continue the San Joaquin Valley containment program and for Phase I (Trans Pecos/El Paso Valley of Far West Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua State in Northern Mexico) of the cooperative Pink Bollworm Eradication Program, (2) $1 million in cost share to Phase I producers and for Arizona producers for initial trapping and pheromone operations, and (3) provide $200,000 for APHIS regulatory activities in the Western Region. The remaining $1.6 million will be for indirect and direct costs to APHIS.
The letters also asks for sufficient funding to allow USDA’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) to make at least $100 million in loans to eligible Boll Weevil Eradication Foundations and providing FSA with continued authority to make loans for activities associated with the pink bollworm eradication program as provided in the FY05 appropriations legislation.
A separate Dear Colleague letter for which Rep. Neugebauer (R-TX) is gathering signatures thanks Rep. Bonilla for past support of the boll weevil eradication program and asks for his support of the NCC-requested ’06 funding levels.
|Shipments Surge, Sales Steady|
Net export sales for the week ending March 24 were 164,900 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’04-05 sales to about 11.9 million. Total sales at the same point in the ’03-04 marketing year were about 12.5 million. Total new crop (’05-06) sales are 626,300 bales.
Shipments for the week were 409,100 bales, bringing total exports to date to 7.4 million bales, compared with the 7.8 million at the comparable point in the ’03-04 marketing year
|USDA Projects 13.8 Million Acres|
USDA’s March Prospective Plantings Report indicates US producers intend to plant 13.82 million acres of cotton in ’05/06, up 1.1% from the previous year. Upland area is projected to be 13.54 million acres, up 1.0% from ’04/05 while ELS area is projected at 275,000 acres, a 10.2% increase. The NCC’s planting intentions survey, released in January, indicated US farmers intend to plant 13.73 million acres in ’05/06, 13.48 million acres to upland cotton and 255,000 acres of ELS cotton. State level details are in the following table.
Prospective 2005 U.S. Cotton Plantings
|China Textile Exports to US Still Soaring|
Apparel exports from China to the US jumped 184% in February compared with the same month a year ago, according to data reported by Global Trade Atlas Database. That dramatic increase followed a 124% increase in January ’05 vs. January ’04. For the first 2 months of ’05, the average increase in China apparel exports to the US market was 147%.
In categories that are among the largest in terms of cotton consumption, the increases were even more dramatic: cotton knit shirts, up 2120%; cotton trousers, up 1398%; cotton and man-made fiber underwear, 520%. Other categories registering big increases were: synthetic filament fabrics, 2773%; combed cotton yarns, 214%; men’s and boys’ woven shirts, 346%; cotton and man-made fiber sweaters, 196%; dressing gowns, 117%; cotton bed linens, 169%; man-made fiber knit shirts, 285%; and man-made fiber trousers, 339%.
“We are hoping US government officials will conclude, as we do, that imports at such levels constitute market disruption and are grounds for self-initiation of safeguards,” NCC Chairman Woods Eastland said.
|CSP Interim Final Rule Issued|
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued an Interim Final Rule for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) with a request for comments. NRCS made modifications from the previous rule with respect to: 1) changing tiers once a producer is enrolled in the program and 2) the payment rates. The deadline for comments is July 25. NCC will submit comments on this program and continue to monitor CSP development.
Meanwhile, sign-up for the ’05 CSP will be held March 28-May 27, and includes the 202 watersheds announced by USDA on Nov. 2, ’04, and the 18 watersheds from the FY04 sign-up. Producers who have a current CSP contract are not eligible for this sign-up. To apply for CSP, potential participants should complete a self-assessment workbook to determine if their operations meet program requirements.
Additional information on CSP, including eligible watersheds and the self-assessment workbook, is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp.
|Certification Program Under Consideration|
The Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee (JCIBPC) ratified its executive committee’s proposal to develop a strategic plan for the industry’s bale packaging program. Chairman Lee Tiller, an Odem, TX, ginner, noted the need for a move toward “Uniform Certification Program” which could include provisions for providing end users of bagging and ties with a “Certificate of Analysis” for all packaging products and would be similar to the committee’s current wire certification program. The JCIBPC anticipates that packaging firms will cooperate in this effort.
In other action, the JCIBPC reviewed current bale packaging specifications and evaluated experimental test programs and field trials. It also heard reports on the NCC’s contamination prevention efforts, ongoing moisture vapor transfer research and other bale packaging initiatives.
The JCIBPC granted expanded experimental test programs for: H.W.J Designs for Agribusiness’ P361 Plastic Strapping System; Langston Companies’ seamless woven polypropylene externally coated cotton bale bag; Propex (formerly Amoco) Fabrics’ #9880 woven polypropylene bag 10x7, extruded seam cotton bale bag; Intertape Polymer/L.P. Brown’s fully-coated woven polypropylene bag with modified construction; and IFP’s woven 100% cotton bag.
|AWP Announcement to Change|
Beginning April 21, USDA-FSA no longer will use news releases to announce the weekly upland cotton AWP, the Step 2 and ELS cotton’s competitiveness payment. Instead, FSA will post the weekly announcements at: www.fsa.usda.gov/reports.asp. The information will continue to be available every Thursday at 5 pm EST.
|APHIS Oriented on Bale Handling Practices|
As part of an orientation on cotton bale phytosanitary issues, the NCC recently conducted tours of Texas cotton ginning and bale handling operations for USDA- APHIS personnel.
"The Phytosanitary Accreditation Protocol (PAP) Task Force felt it was important for APHIS to observe industry practices in order to reinforce the message that our routine bale handling practices surpass the international requirements for phytosanitary inspections and certificates,” said PAP Chairman Coalter Paxton.
The APHIS representatives visited warehouse and port operations in Galveston and Houston before traveling to West Texas for a tour of gin and warehouse operations and visits with industry leaders. APHIS personnel also observed similar Mid-South cotton operations in December.
|Phytosanitary Compliance Agreement Efforts Continue|
The NCC’s Phytosanitary Accreditation Protocol (PAP) Task Force, meeting in Memphis, continued efforts to develop a national compliance agreement. The meeting was devoted to furthering the earlier educational efforts for APHIS personnel and the cotton industry to promote a thorough understanding of each other’s role in export procedures and shipments.
“After participating in the industry orientation trips, we understand that while cotton is a high-volume commodity in the export arena, it is low risk concerning the transfer of plant pests and diseases due to the processing and handling practices in place in the gins and warehouses,” APHIS’ Mike Ward told the task force.
PAP Chairman Paxton told the group, “The APHIS staff’s recognition of the industry’s diligence in packaging and handling of its densely packed cotton bales will allow a more timely process in the development of a national compliance agreement. Our goal is to prepare a new draft for industry’s consideration by late May with the intention of phasing in a national compliance agreement when the 2005 shipments begin processing in late summer.”
|Prices Effective April 1-7, 2005|