Farm Progress

PCG president encourages member involvementSays budget will be key factor in next farm billWater issues to be more contentious

Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

April 5, 2011

2 Min Read

Cotton may have to be flexible when the 2012 farm bill debate begins in earnest, said Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., President Brad Heffington in his president’s report last week at the PCG 54thannual meeting in Lubbock.

“We don’t know yet what we’re looking at,” Heffington said. “But we have to keep the safety net. West Texas production is high risk. And even though we have high prices now, we know that can change.”

Heffington said budget will by a key factor in the next farm bill but noted that the current law “is working. We are under budget and saving the government money. We need a good farm bill for when times are not good.”

He said many High Plains cotton producers took advantage of the cottonseed insurance pilot program this year when they signed up for crop insurance. “Also, we need to watch cotton loss adjustment rules that are coming up.”

Other PCG activities include working closely with Cotton Council International on trade missions to showcase the production and quality of West Texas cotton. “We’re also looking at the new Chinese cotton policy with a $1.50 per pound loan guarantee in China.”

“We’re working with the Southwest Council of Agribusiness. They have been very beneficial to us.”

Heffington said state issues, including maintaining agriculture tax exemptions and water legislation, also require PCG effort. He said water issues “will become more contentious. We want rules that give us the most local control. We don’t need water rules legislated in Austin.”

He said PCG will continue to work with legislators on state and federal levels.

“We’re always busy,” he said. “And we’re always looking for people to be involved. We look to our members for input. It’s an exciting time to be a cotton producer. We harvested a good crop and we have high prices, too.” That, he said, is an unusual situation.

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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