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Articles from 2003 In June


New pepper varieties point to better returns

"Now that there are a number of exciting new pepper cultivars available to producers, information on yield and fruit quality, as well as disease resistance/tolerance, is particularly desirable for the local industry," he said.

The top yielding bell pepper in the replicated variety trials was Double Up with 30.5 tons per acre.

Mullen said the Sakata Seed variety was the highest in marketable yield for both green-colored and red-colored fruit on San Joaquin loam at a Biglieri Farms field near Dry Creek. The furrow-irrigated field was transplanted June 18 and hand harvested on Sept. 18. Baron was the field variety.

Encore from Novartis Seed came in second in yield with 28.43 tons and Golden Sun, a Hazera Seed variety with semi-long, yellow fruit, was third with 25.55 tons.

Mullen said the new varieties, predominately hybrids, represent a welcome advancement toward better production and quality.

Also of interest was how varieties stood up to pepper spot/black spot, or STIP, a disorder that shows up as gray or black spots when the fruit is about three inches in diameter. Later it develops into disfiguring green or yellow spots, making the fruit unmarketable.

The majority of the 12 varieties in the trials showed no, or very little, STIP, thought to be connected with a calcium nutritional imbalance. It occurs on the coast or, during cool, short-day periods in the Central Valley, particularly in older open-pollinated varieties.

Calcium and hybrids

In several years of studies, Mullen and Richard Smith, Monterey County farm advisor, were able to reduce STIP, at times significantly, with preplant and/or layby applications of calcium, but they could not completely eliminate it. Hybrids, many developed from European lineage during in the last five years or so, appear to have overcome the disorder.

Fortunately for the 2002 trials, virus pressure was relatively mild in Mullen’s county, due to lack of high numbers of vectoring aphids, but he said sporadic but severe outbreaks of a complex of viruses, including cucumber mosaic, ring spot, tobacco mosaic virus and others, have taken a toll.

Faced with the added hazards of other diseases and disorders, plus low prices and high investment in drip irrigation and hybrid seed, many growers, in frustration, got out of peppers entirely.

Pepper acreage in San Joaquin County, where the crop is grown mostly from midsummer into late fall, plummeted from as much as 4,000 acres several years ago to about 2,000 acres in recent seasons.

Mullen said his trials also monitored fruit quality, including blocky shape, and good fruit-wall thickness. Harris Moran Seed’s open-pollinated Gusto led with 6.6 millimeters. Others with 6.0 mm or greater were Hazera Seed’s HA-535 and HA-959 and Seminis Seed’s Mar Rojo.

Wall thickness

"Wall thickness is important to both growers and shippers because fruit having it ships better without cracking," Mullen said.

He recalled an older variety, Flamingo, was a novelty because of its progression in color during ripening, from bright purple, to cream-colored, to orange, to carmine red. It’s wall thickness, however, was only about 3 mm thick, making it too fragile in handling.

Mullen also took an early look at other varieties in an observation trial at the Biglieri Farms site using a dozen lines, with each line replicated only once. None of the entrants showed any signs of STIP.

Leaders in yields of marketable red-colored and green-colored fruit were Hazera Seed’s El Charro with 33.4 tons, Hazera Seed’s Alexandra with 31.51 tons, Hazera Seed’s HA-2112 with 30.2 tons, Enza Zaden Seed’s Tequila, a multi-colored specialty line with 29 tons, and Sakata Seed’s XPP-1136 and Hazera Seed’s Paso Real, both with 28.75 tons.

Fruit-quality standouts were Alexandra, Sakata Seed’s XPP-0132, a yellow-fruited line, and Paso Real.

Alexandra and Sakata Seed’s RPP-8532 both made a fruit wall thickness of 6.6 mm, while HA-2112, Sakata Seed’s XPP-1135, Novartis Seed’s RPP 8530, and Harris Moran Seed’s HMX 0648 all measured 6 mm.

Crop value climbs

The pepper crop value for San Joaquin County was $16.6 million (on 1,900 acres )in 2002, up dramatically from the $9.4 million (on 2,180 acres) the year before.

Mullen, who anticipated continuing variety trials this year, said he suspects the improved returns will likely encourage an increase in acreage in his county this year.

Peanut growers to build shelling plant

The plant — scheduled to open on Nov. 1 — will be equipped and scheduled to process approximately 60,000 tons of peanuts annually, operating 10 months out of the year. The facility will have the capacity to shell 90,000 tons of peanuts, allowing for future expansion.

Members of the group grow peanuts in the Georgia counties of Seminole, Miller, Decatur, Early and Baker, in addition to Jackson County, Fla. Several of the growers already had worked together as owners in three cotton gins. Producers committed to the project have an average 90-percent-plus irrigated crop.

Construction of the shelling plant, according to a statement released by the group, will make them vertically integrated and "more connected to the markets we’re supplying."

The plant is being constructed on a 45-acre site, obtained from the Development Authority of Seminole County and Donalsonville, located in the Donalsonville/Seminole County Industrial Park. The shelling plant will run two shifts, shelling 19 hours per day and averaging 17 days per month.

Plans include giving the producer/owners time to increase their peanut production over the next several years and still have the capacity to handle their tons at the plant.

The new plant will create approximately 70 new jobs within the five-county region with an annual payroll estimated at $1.5 million. Further job creation in the transportation, maintenance and other service sectors is expected to occur.

With Georgia offering access to the best underground water supply in the Southeast, and a high percentage of irrigation already part of their production practices, local peanut producers have an advantage over producers in neighboring areas, according to officials with the group. No other shelling plant exists in the Southeast, they say, with such a high amount of irrigation potential.

The peanuts produced by American Peanut Growers Group will be located within a 35-mile radius from the new shelling plant. The plant will be adjacent to Coastal Cold Storage, Inc., a public refrigerated warehouse with 80,000 square feet of storage space and experience in handling peanuts.

Coastal Cold Storage has a rail spur in place and a bulk loading line for transferring peanuts into bulk-hopper railcars, required by major users of peanuts such as Hershey, Planters, Proctor & Gamble and CPC-Best Foods.

"This location alone will produce savings of $100 to $200 per truckload of shelled peanuts that most shelling plants must pay when sending products to outside refrigerated storage," according to the group’s statement.

"Owning the drying equipment, grading facilities, warehouses and shelling plant will allow American Peanut Growers Group to be vertically integrated, with the profit potential of being a peanut producer, warehouseman and sheller. They will grow, process, sell and promote their product while taking advantage of the strengths of their excellent soil and irrigation."

Under the new peanut program, say the group’s officials, economists predict that U.S. peanut consumption should increase with the availability of high-quality American peanuts at world market prices.

"These same economists further predict that production of peanuts grown in the Southeast should increase as well. American peanuts likely will increase exports with the ability to compete in the world market. It should be noted that peanuts produced in southwest Georgia are particularly recognized for consistent quality. All of these factors collectively indicate that southwest Georgia farmers will be able to grow and sell more peanuts."

e-mail: phollis@primediabusiness.com

Cotton market making another run?

Don Shurley, Extension economist at the University of Georgia in Tifton, believes cotton prices could improve substantially in the next few weeks, providing much needed pricing opportunities for growers.

“We have every reason to believe the market is poised to make another run,” Shurley says. “The size and condition of this year's U. S. crop has, in my opinion, not yet been fully factored into the prices we are seeing.”

How high cotton prices rise, he says, depends greatly on planted acreage numbers from USDA at month’s end, and increasing concerns over the condition of the Mid-South and Texas cotton crops.

“We haven’t been able to maintain prices at the 60-cent level in at least two years, and we’re coming off of a year where we had prices at 15-year lows,” Shurley says. “And while the market did hit 63 cents several weeks ago, it only stayed there for a short time.”

Because of that, the 60-cent mark has become a psychological barrier of sorts to the cotton market.

When, and if, December cotton futures break 60-cents, Shurley advises growers to be poised to take action. “Keeping yield risk in mind, it’s not too far out for growers to book at least one-third of their crop if December cotton futures pass the 60-cent mark. Then, be prepared to either re-own your crop with calls in case the market moves higher, or simply purchase put options if the market moves over 60 cents,” he says.

At current price levels, he says, any loan deficiency payment or POP payment on the 2003 crop will likely be minimal. Counter cyclical payments, which he expects will fall somewhere between 8 to 10 cents per pound for the 2003 crop, will be mostly impacted by market prices during the November-February period.

Based on the size and condition of this year’s crop, Shurley firmly believes that U.S. cotton prices should be higher than they are now.

“USDA has projected the 2003 U.S. cotton crop at 17.2 million bales, but there’s a growing realization that it’s just not there,” he said. “We’re probably going to be at least one half of a million bales short of that. In addition, USDA has a pretty optimistic export number of 11.5 million bales built into its projections.

“If this is realized, we could reduce our ending stocks to 4.5 million bales. That’s the lowest level since 2000 and the smallest U.S. stocks-to-use ratio since 1999. And while U.S. stocks are certainly headed down, foreign stocks are also tightening up.”

Any substantial increase in cotton prices, however, could affect export numbers, Shurley says.

“There is still some potential give and take in the market. If cotton prices reach the mid-60s, we could see some decrease in buying by exporters, which could have a limiting effect on the market.”

Another dominating factor in the cotton market, he says, is the phenomenal growth in the world demand for cotton, with record-setting demand in each of the past three to four years.

Although the U.S. textile industry has declined greatly, expansion in China and other foreign countries has been tremendous, leading to much higher U.S. exports, he says. “The gap between foreign production and mill use has been widening and the United States has been able to fill that void.”

USDA is projecting foreign demand for cotton to be about 92 million bales in 2003. This is a little more than 1 million bales higher than last year and about 5 million bales more than two years ago.

“There is no doubt that U.S. exports are another key to the 2003 price outlook, and this worries me that perhaps USDA estimates are optimistic. The worldwide demand for cotton, while at record levels, has no doubt slowed and foreign production is expected to increase by about 8 million bales from last year's level. Because of this, it would be quite an accomplishment for the U.S. to again export more than 11 million bales of cotton,” Shurley says.

“USDA's June estimate dropped 2003 forecast foreign production by 1 million bales from the May estimate so this makes me a little more comfortable, but still cautious, about the high export number.”

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com

Corn+Soybean Digest

Exciting Times In Nebraska

I spent this last week in Omaha, NE, with the Advanced Agricultural Bankers’ School. It was an exciting time between the tornado, the College World Series of baseball, and the hailstones!

Question

One of the bankers in the school asked whether the individuals within the group used more credit card debt than the general public. Approximately 70 percent of the general public uses credit card debt over 30 days, with a $9400 average balance.

The same individual that asked the question asked me what I thought would be the answer. We both came to the conclusion that it would be from 45-55 percent of the group.

The final Jeopardy answer found us both wrong. Thirty-nine percent of the bankers in attendance had balances beyond 30 days, while 61 percent reported that they carried no debt or paid it off within 30 days. How do you compare to these bankers?

Grandparents

A recent study found that grandparents spend on average $500 annually per grandchild. They are supporting approximately 20 percent of college tuition.

Milk Prices

For any of you interested in the health of the dairy industry, a recent speaker I heard at Cornell indicated that milk prices would be up 6-7 percent this fall. That is good news for any of you providing forages or custom grain to the dairy industry.

College World Series

If you get a chance to go to the College World Series, it’s a great time! These kids play because they enjoy the game, and Omaha is such a great town!

Louisiana weather woes continue

Overall, grain sorghum fields look good, and there have been no major reports of insects with the exception of insecticide applications for stink bugs during the last couple of weeks. I have also gotten reports of spraying for sorghum webworms and isolated midge. Throughout the state, we are 80 percent or more headed on the grain sorghum that was planted at an optimal planting date. Unfortunately, many producers are still planting sorghum behind failed cotton or corn crops. Late-planted grain sorghum will make up a large portion of our total acreage this year. The reasoning behind the late planting is something I cannot explain (especially with no insurance protection), but I strongly encourage anyone who is contemplating planting more sorghum to switch to soybeans.

The rains received the past couple of weeks have been a lifesaver for the corn crop. Much of the state’s corn crop began very slowly, with low temperatures and overall poor growing conditions. After the corn began to grow, a large portion of south Louisiana was under drought-stress conditions in contrast to portions of north Louisiana, where there was just too much rain. We are well past tasseling, even on the latest-planted corn, and the rain received over much of the state should enable the dry-land corn to maximize its yield potential. The problems thus far in corn include the borer complexes in addition to stink bugs. I am optimistic about corn yields this year.

Soybeans are still being planted as of today (June 23). Most of the state has adequate moisture to plant and, in many areas, this is really the first opportunity producers have had to plant soybeans. This late-planted acreage will make up a large portion of our total acreage this year, as it always does. Last year, of the 770,000 acres of beans that were planted, I estimated that more than 150,000 of those acres were planted the last week of June. In parts of the state, the soybean crop is struggling to survive and may not make it. We have had to start spraying for stink bugs and loopers in isolated cases. Aerial blight is showing up in a non-discriminating manner, and fungicide applications have started in some parishes. Most of the fields in which I have worked complaints thus far barely justify a fungicide application because of lack of pods on the plants.

The main problems with the bean crop right now are the lack of weed control and “wet feet syndrome.” Ground rigs and planes have sat idle because of the muddy fields and wet runways, respectively. At this point, you may want to consider adding a tank-mix partner such as Classic, Reflex or Flexstar with a glyphosate product to control many of the annual broadleaves now present. Wet feet syndrome, for lack of a better term, is simply beans that are becoming water stressed because of too much water sitting in the fields. Symptoms include a fluorescent or neon green haze across the latest emerging trifoliate, indicating water stress. Some of the more severe cases have already resulted in portions of fields that have died.

A major concern right now is that our youngest beans on flat ground are fighting to stay alive in field after field where they have received too much rain. In south Louisiana, you can really see the levee effect of beans doing much better and continuing to grow when their counterparts on the lower sides of the levee are not growing. Another problem I see is a tremendous amount of stunting across maturity groups and planting dates. I attribute this to different stresses the crop has had to endure during the growing season, primarily too much or not enough water.

If we can get some sunshine over the next few days, the outlook for all three crops will improve. If rains continue, however, much of our soybean crop will be in jeopardy because of water stress. The good news about this much rain is that we will have adequate moisture reserves for at least the next week and half or so for the corn and grain sorghum during early seed fill.

David Lanclos is Extension corn, grain sorghum and soybean specialist with the LSU AgCenter.

e-mail: dlanclos@agctr.lsu.edu

Cotton acres down -- except in Kansas

Meanwhile, USDA reported lower soybean and rice acreage from 2002 and virtually unchanged corn plantings in the June 30 Planted Acreage Report released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service today.

All cotton plantings for 2003 are expected to total 13.9 million acres, down fractionally from last year and from the 14.253 million acres estimated in USDA’s March Prospective Plantings Estimate.

According to surveys conducted by USDA the first two weeks of June, upland cotton producers planted 13.7 million acres this year, virtually unchanged from 2002. Acreage planted to American Pima or extra long staple cotton is estimated at 176,000 acres, down 28 percent from a year ago.

Many growers east of the Mississippi River revised their spring intentions and devoted less acreage to cotton. Persistent wet weather across the south delayed seedings, forcing growers to seed alternative crops. Cotton acreage dropped slightly from 2002 in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, while rising slightly in Missouri and Louisiana.

USDA said Kansas increased its cotton acreage 56 percent to 125,000 acres this year, up from 80,000 acres in 2002. Texas and California growers increased their upland cotton acreage from a year ago after a rather successful 2002 production season.

U.S. rice acreage for 2003 came in at 2.992 million acres, down 7.6 percent from last year’s 3.24 million acres. Rice acreage declined in every state except Mississippi, which remained unchanged from last year at 255,000 acres.

Arkansas acreage was reported at 1.446 million acres, up from March estimates of 1.422 million acres but down from last year’s 1.515 million acres; California, dropped to 470,000 acres, down 60,000 acres from March and 63,000 acres from 2002; Louisiana acreage is unchanged from March estimates of 470,000 acres but is down from last year’s 540,000 acres; Missouri held steady from March estimates of 170,000 acres, but is down from 2002’s 190,000 acres; and Texas declined to 181,000 acres from March estimates of 191,000 acres and last year’s 206,000 acres.

Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 79.1 million acres, virtually unchanged from 2002 but 4 percent above 2001. Much needed precipitation was received in late April and early May across the Corn Belt which helped relieve long-term moisture deficits.

However, the early May rainfall slowed fieldwork and delayed some producers from getting their corn crop planted. Farmers reported that 95 percent of the corn acreage had been planted at the time of the survey interview, which is slightly below the average for the past 10 years.

Corn plantings in Arkansas reached 350,000 acres, up from 270,000 acres in 2002. Louisiana dropped its acreage from 580,000 acres to 500,000 acres, while Mississippi stayed at last year’s 550,000 acres.

The 2003 soybean planted area is estimated at 73.7 million acres, down 105,000 acres from last year, and if realized, the lowest planted area since 1998. This is the third consecutive year that soybean planted acres have declined in the United States.

The planted acreage is up 471,000 acres from March. Persistent wet weather forced growers along the Southeast and along the Atlantic Coastal Plain to switch to soybeans from their earlier cotton and corn intentions. Growers in North Dakota and Minnesota planted less spring wheat and more soybeans.

All wheat planted area is estimated at 60.9 million acres, up 1 percent from 2002. Harvested area is expected to total 52.7 million acres, up 15 percent from last year. The 2003 winter wheat planted area, at 44.3 million acres, is 6 percent above last year, but virtually unchanged from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 32.0 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 8.1 million acres Soft Red Winter, and 4.3 million acres White Winter.

Acreage planted to other spring wheat for 2003 is estimated at 13.8 million, down 12 percent from 2002. Of this total, about 13.0 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. The Durum planted area for 2003 is estimated at 2.80 million acres, down 4 percent from last year.

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com

EU passes CAP reforms, 14-1

Under the new system, farmers will continue to receive the highest subsidies of any nations in the world, but the subsidies will be indexed to payments from previous years and not tied to current production levels.

The reforms are also aimed at reducing payments to larger farmers and rewarding producers who follow more environmentally friendly cropping and animal husbandry practices. More funds will be targeted at rural development projects designed to soften the impact of the reforms.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman applauded the vote, saying it was a “necessary step forward” to ensuring the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations will continue to move ahead.

"The next critical step is for the EU to promptly translate today's decision into meaningful WTO proposals in the three core areas agreed in the Doha declaration: harmonizing and substantially reducing trade-distorting domestic supports, eliminating export subsidies, and substantially improving market access through tariff reductions,” said Zoellick.

“Without new EU agricultural proposals in the WTO, the world cannot fully assess the impact of CAP reform.”

European Union agricultural ministers, in turn, challenged Bush administration officials to take care of their own knitting.

“There are a lot of schoolmasters who have been telling us that we have to do our homework,” said Franz Fischler, the EU’s chief agricultural spokesman, referring to U.S. criticism. “You should practice what you preach.”

Although the negotiations represented the biggest change in EP farm policy in 40 years, critics said they fell short of the reforms needed to reduce Europe’s agricultural production.

“Farmers will continue to produce more than we need and will continue to dump it on the developing world,” said a spokesman for Oxfam, a British-based charitable organization that seeks to address world hunger concerns.

The talks came dangerously close to being de-railed a week ago when French President Jacques Chirac brought the negotiations to a halt because of his displeasure with the direction they were heading.

The reforms announced on June 16 allows French farmers to retain their subsidy regime until 2007 while other countries must begin to “decouple” their payments from production in 2005.

USA Rice Federation staff members said the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy includes a fundamental revamping of the EU’s domestic rice support program, but that it could also lead to other problems.

“Unfortunately, the EU Agricultural Council also granted authority to the EU Commission (the administrative arm of the European Union) to open negotiations with the United States to renegotiate the margin of preference concession concerning rice,” said USA Rice’s Bob Cummings.

He said the EU Ag Council approved a one-step reduction of the intervention price by 50 percent, effective in 2004. The EU will also limit purchases of intervention stocks to 75,000 tons per year. The reduction in intervention payments will be offset by direct payments to farmers and supplemental payments for private storage.

“The duty on imported brown rice from the United States is tied to the intervention price as part of a complex formula,” said Cummings. “Under today’s reform, EU duties on brown rice could fall by over three-quarters, very god news for the U.S. rice industry.

“However, EU officials fear a substantial increase in imports from the United States, and, as a result, the EU wants to withdraw the margin of preference concession and compensate the United States.”

He said rice industry leaders will stay in “close contact with U.S. trade officials to maintain the market access benefits of the margin of preference in any renegotiation.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

'Today's challenges -- Tomorrow's solutions'

The National Cotton Council is the conferences’ primary coordinator. The forum’s objective is speeding the transfer of current and emerging technology to U.S. cotton producers and other industry members – with an overall goal of strengthening U.S. cotton’s competitive position in domestic and world markets and increasing industry members’ profitability.

The 49th annual Beltwide Cotton Production Conference is set for Jan. 6-7. Among topics being considered for its general session are: 1) a cotton breeding/improvement update, 2) the impact of production practices on fiber quality and spinnability, 3) the advantages of cotton rotations with corn and small grains, 4) a grower’s planting investment, including alternatives to seed treatments and rates, 5) new high volume uses for cotton lint and yarn, and 6) cotton export market development.

“For example, regarding the market development topic we would address the questions of what foreign mill customers need and how can U.S. cotton continue to compete in the world marketplace,” said Dale Thompson, NCC’s manager, marketing and processing technology.

Thompson, who coordinates the Production Conference program, said one of the workshops being planned will focus on the COTMANä crop management system. It would include a poster session and hands-on demonstrations of the hand-held data collection units and the COTMANä computer software in addition to results of COTMANä research conducted across the Cotton Belt in pest management, irrigation, defoliation and other facets of cotton production.

“The COTMANä and other cotton management systems’ hardware and software are more grower friendly today,” Thompson said, “and the NCC believes these tools can provide growers a principal solution now for responding to the challenges of efficient cotton production. Plus, this workshop also should provide crop consultants and Extension personnel the opportunity to compare and contrast the various systems with the potential of improving each of them.”

The 2004 conferences will include The Cotton Foundation Technical Exhibit and the 12 cotton technical conferences covering disciplines ranging from economics to weed science.

A conferences’ information booklet will be mailed in mid-September to previous attendees, and the information will be posted on the NCC’s web site, http://beltwide.cotton.org. For further information, contact the NCC’s Debbie Richter, P.O. 820285, Memphis, TN 38182 (901) 274-9030 FX (901) 725-0510 or email: drichter@cotton.org.

The Beltwide Cotton Conferences brings together those with a stake in a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including industry members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, consultants and allied product and service providers. Attendance at the 2003 conferences in Nashville, TN, exceeded 3,000.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

Payment limits: Unintended consequences

While much of the testimony on payment limitations during a June 17 workshop focused on the impact on payment recipients, programs of non-program crops could feel the sting of tighter restrictions as well, California cotton producers and merchants said.

“In Fresno County, the typical cotton grower could hit the payment limits at around 400 acres if tighter restrictions were applied,” said John F. Bennett, a Fresno producer. “Those growers will be forced to go to other crops and will hurt those as well.”

Bennett said it’s not just farmers who would feel the impact of more restrictive limits. “My family members would lose, but, in our operation, you would have 50 other people, our employees, and their families losing

Several producers and cotton merchants talked about the issue of changing the payment regulations two years into the seven-year Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.

“Most California cotton producers are already impacted by payment limits,” said Bruce Allbright, president of Fresno-based Allbright Cotton Co. “Many have made substantial investments based on the current farm bill. California agriculture is already on the wane, and changing the payment limit rules would do even more harm.”

Riverdale, Calif., cotton producer Mark McKean said the uncertainty over the passage of the 2002 farm bill caused him to delay the purchase of a new GPS system for his farming operation for two years.

“I finally bought the system last winter because I could figure in the payments under the new farm bill,” he noted. “I won’t have the opportunity to go back and refigure the payments on that system if the payment limit regulations are changed.”

Responding to comments by economists that farmers might be able rent out part of their land to reduce the sting of tighter payment regulations, McKean said such reductions would wipe out the efficiencies that producers have tried to build into their operations and make them less able to compete with cotton producers in countries like Uzbekistan and Australia.

“It would also be difficult to explain to your banker why you were suddenly planning to take 2,000 acres out of your operation,” he noted.

Trying to sell lenders on making loans under tighter payment limits could definitely be a challenge, said Ernie Schroeder Jr., of Jess Smith & Sons Cotton Co. LLC, in Bakersfield, Calif.

“We provide financing as part of our service to our cotton producers,” said Schroeder. “Tighter payment limits would definitely have an impact on our ability to make loans, and we tend to be more ‘farmer friendly’ than some non-agriculturally oriented lending institutions.”

Cotton producer Tom Teixeira told the Commission members that his San Joaquin Valley farming operation has more payment limits because of the involvement of his two brothers and his father, but that they still “max out at around 400 acres per person.”

“Each of my partners and I are taking a huge financial risk by continuing to farm,” he noted. “We need higher limits, not lower limits if we are to continue taking those types of risks.”

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com