The help desk phone number has been updated. Please note the change: (979) 845-5913.
The December 7-deadline for seed cotton signups is on the horizon. Landowners and/or growers have two months to allocate their generic base acres and update yields for seed, while also choosing whether to enroll in the 2018 Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) programs.
But no matter the decision, producers need to be aware, there’s no late-filing provision — if they miss the deadline, they miss getting into the program, says USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Gary Six. “We don't want any producer who wants in the program to miss it.”
To help growers understand how the seed cotton program may affect their FSA payments, Texas A&M University developed the 2018 Generic Base Decision Aid. Growers can either access the tool online at https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/cotton-base or by calling the help desk at (979) 845-5913, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Assistance is available to any producer or landowner from any cotton-producing state, says Dr. Joe Outlaw, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist and co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University in College Station.
When a grower contacts the help desk, AFPC staff and graduate students, under Outlaw’s tutelage from the College of Agricultural Economics, are on hand to answer questions, interpret information or enter a grower’s information into the online tool on their behalf.
Graduate student Hank Nelson of Gilmer, Texas, says common questions he receives include: “Growers will call us with their results and ask, ‘How do I interpret my results?’ or ‘What information do I need to gather to send you?’ Or they’ll send us all of their information and we volunteer to put it into the decision tool for them.”
When contacting the help desk, master’s student Natalie Graff, from D’Hanis, Texas, says producers can help expedite the process by having three pieces of information available:
- FSA-156EZ (program info for other covered crops on their farm)
- 2008-2012 planting history and Cotton CCP yield (Listed on the history summary report letter from the FSA)
- 2008-2012 yields (APH yield history from crop insurance forms)
“The process is not that hard,” assures Outlaw. “We've done many of these decision aids over the last 20 years and this is one of the easier ones for producers. And it's not all that time consuming for the producer, so they can do it themselves if they want to, but if people want theirs done for them, we are here to help.”