Young Farmers meet, hear legislative updates

January 11, 2018

The West Texas Young Farmers met on Monday and heard updates on the changes in the crop insurance program, as well as hearing the latest updates on Farm Bill 2018 progress.

Seth Souder of Lance Insurance gave the insurance update. Changes in crop insurance this year have to do with the planting of “wildcat” cotton. Wildcat cotton is cotton that is planted after a loss and is uninsurable.

With the changes, producers must wait additional days before replanting to cotton after a crop loss. Souder gave the example of, a grower has planted his cotton by the June 5 Terry County deadline date. He receives a hail on his emerged cotton on June 10. He now has three options.

Option 1 – Replant by June 12 – Use original plant date and obtain consent from AIP.

Option 2 – Leave strips by June 14 – Plant cotton – Replanted crop subject to “Higher of Language” No immediate indemnity. (This is not considered wildcat cotton. The crop with the higher potential for yield will be used for insurance purposes.)

Option 3 – June 17 adjustment

   a) June 18 – Plant cotton – Replanted crop – Subject to “Higher of Language” No immediate indemnity   

   b) June 18 – Plant different crop – receive indemnity on failed cotton

   c) June 21 – Plant cotton – Wildcat – Receive indemnity on first cotton crop that was failed

Is all that confusing enough? Basically, what this is saying to producers is that they need to watch the calendar and do good math projects to see what their best option will be in the case of a failed first crop.

The insurance company has the option to determine whether or not it is practical to replant after a loss or damage to an insured crop. The company will determine whether you are able to replant to the same crop in such areas and under such circumstances as it is customary to replant and that replanting the insured crop will allow the crop to attain maturity prior to the calendar date for the end of the insurance period.

President of the WTYFA, Mason Becker gave the group an update on Farm Bill progress and legislative goings on.

The House has just passed a bill for areas hit by Hurricane Harvey. The U.S. House voted 251 to 169 to pass an $81 billion disaster relief bill for states and territories impacted by the hurricanes and wildfires last year. Included in the bill was a provision to help cotton farmers who are suffering from different types of disasters. The Ag committees along with producer organizations, have gone to great lengths to formulate the provision in a way that is budget neutral. This means the cotton provision will add no new cost to the farm program. The bill includes a provision that would bring cotton back into Title I of the Farm Bill, and would cover cotton as both a seed and lint for the first time ever. This has been pushed for by area farmers for sometime.

This designation would make cotton eligible for  safety nets, such as Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, which are already in place for other crops.

Mason told the Brownfield News, “Getting cotton back into Title I would be a huge step in the right direction for producers. Right now, all the safety net we have is crop insurance, which despite some opinions, comes with a sizable cost to producers. We did receive the ginning assist in the past which serves only as a band aid for the larger problem for producers of cotton.”

Now, we wait to see what the Senate does, if anything. It is up to the Senate whether or not this bill even reaches the floor.

Mason stressed that being their own advocate is what cotton farmers need to do right now. “We have to make our voices heard. We have got to contact Senator John Cornyn, Senator Ted Cruz, even Governor Greg Abbott and stress to all our elected officials that this is our livelihood and we need it to survive the current situation of high input costs and low commodity prices. We are all just trying to make a living. Sure there are some producers who look like things are going great, but for every one of those, you know 20 others for whom each day is a struggle to simply stay in business.”

Mason told the News he doesn’t see this as just a farmer problem. “If we go down, every Ag related business in the area will go down. We are all in this together.”

In other business of the meeting, the WTYFA are starting a Mentor/Scholarship Program. This program is for any county high school junior. There will be an application process for this program. It is geared toward any junior, not just students with an ag background.

The student chosen will be involved in job shadowing with agri-businesses and producers.

They will attend WTYFA meetings and work with the group on their various events.

Applications for this program should be available by April 1 at the high school counselors’ offices.

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Category: Agriculture