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States will split additional BWE funds

IT GETS a little complicated, but the states with active boll weevil eradication programs have decided how they will divide the $59.4 million in additional funding approved by Congress in the fiscal 2001 agricultural appropriations bill.

Actually, they developed a formula before the bill was passed - to show the legislation's sponsors they had a plan for allocating the money. But, they declined to release the information until the legislation passed and until most the components of the plan had fallen into place.

A large portion of the funding - $20 million - will go to Mississippi to pay for cost overruns experienced in Region 3 (the central hill area). Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., wrote the appropriation for the emergency funds.

The remaining $39 million were to be distributed on a pro rata basis among the states that had passed eradication programs by Dec. 1.

"The portion of funding identified as additional spending should be allocated to the active boll weevil eradication programs as of Dec. 1, 2000, on a pro rata basis, projected total cost, with the following exceptions," said a resolution passed by the National Cotton Council's Boll Weevil Action Committee.

"$20 million will be dedicated to the Mississippi Boll Weevil Foundation to help repay program debt.

Once the status of all expansion zones is determined, the Boll Weevil Action Committee will re-examine the allocations to the active programs.

The Mississippi program debt stems from additional spraying that was required to reduce boll weevil numbers in the northern portion of Region 3. The latter extends from the Tennessee line down through the center of the state to Natchez, Miss.

Cotton fields in Region 3 North required an average of 7.7 applications of malathion for boll weevils in 2000, compared to an average of 3.8 in the region's central and southern portions, according to Farrell Boyd, Mississippi program manager for the Southeastern Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation Inc.

"This area had the highest number of boll weevils per acre of any of our regions," said Boyd, speaking at the Mississippi Entomological Association annual meeting in Starkville. "We fought weevils all season long in counties like Montgomery County in that northern area."

The $59.4 million is in addition to $19.7 million that Congress approved in its annual appropriation for the federal portion of the boll weevil eradication effort. The latter is an increase of $2 million over the 2000 appropriation.

The NCC's Boll Weevil Action Committee plan for the additional funding would provide $4.55 million to Arkansas' eradication program; $4.4 million to Louisiana; $20 million to Mississippi; $1.76 million to Missouri; $3.65 million to Tennessee; $260,000 to New Mexico; $1.18 million to Oklahoma; and $23.19 million to Texas.

The plan is predicated on the Missouri Bootheel and the Texas Southern High Plains-Caprock region's approval of eradication programs for their regions by Dec. 1. If either of those referenda fail, the allocation would be added to the funding for all active zones.

(Ballots for the Missouri referendum were supposed to be returned by Nov. 22 and for the Caprock region on Nov. 15.)

"The allocation is based on the program costs for 2001 from each of the different boll weevil eradication foundations and zones," said Craig Brown, NCC vice president for producer affairs. "Then we took the total funding and divided it pro rata by the projected program costs with the exception of Mississippi."

The $19.7 million annual appropriation that was approved by Congress will result in $13.8 million being allocated to active eradication programs after direct and indirect costs for USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service are subtracted.

Initially, the additional $59 million was listed as emergency funding, but was later added to the budget baseline for APHIS. That means Congress will be looking at the total of the $59.4 million and the $19.7 million when it considers new funding for APHIS for fiscal 2002.

Under the formula for the $13.8 million appropriation for fiscal 2001, Arkansas will receive $1.3 million; Louisiana, $1.27 million; Missouri, $510,000; Mississippi, $1.03 million; Tennessee, $1.06 million; New Mexico, $80,000; Oklahoma, $2 million; and Texas, $6.71 million. Oklahoma's funding was increased to $2 million because of a loss of state revenue on taxes on municipal bonds.

If the Missouri and Texas Southern High Plains Caprock eradication programs are approved, it will mean that all of the cotton area of the United States except for the Rio Grande Valley and a portion of New Mexico that was infested with the boll weevil will either be weevil-free or in an active eradication program.

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