Many growers have questions about the seed cotton provisions that have been added to the Farm Bill. The National Cotton Council has created this page to serve as a resource to growers who are decisions on how to convert generic base acres and any other issues that may come up due to this legislation. See this link for the previously recorded webinars and FAQ’s..
At its April 11th Board Meeting, the Georgia Cotton Commission Board of Directors approved $697,802 in research for the 2019 crop year, an increase from the $665,196 approved for 2018. This money will go to fund 21 research projects that will be conducted by researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of West Georgia. These projects range from funding for the UGA Cotton Team, to precision ag research and the marking and treatment of root-knot nematode resistant genes in cotton, and many more. The goal of this producer-funded research is to help cotton producer’s bottom lines by conducting research that can either raise yields, promote efficiency, or open new markets.
All projects are vetted by both the Commission Board of Directors, made up of cotton producers from across the state, and the Commission’s research review committee, which is made up of researchers, crop consultants, and County UGA Ag Extension agents.
“Our Board is committed to making strategic investments in research that will benefit our growers and through them the cotton industry here in Georgia. Our UGA Cotton Team is one of the best, if not the best, teams working for farmers in the country. Georgia’s farmers are producing the most efficient, highest quality crop that we have ever made and it is thanks to the research done by our scientists,” said GCC Chairman Bart Davis, a Colquitt County cotton producer.
The John M. and Connie H. Mobley Memorial Scholarship is presented annually by the Georgia Cotton Women to the child or grandchild of an active Georgia cotton producer with priority given to children of Georgia Cotton Women members. The $1,500 scholarship will be payable one-half each semester. This scholarship was established by the late John M. Mobley. It was continued by his wife Connie and is now carried on by their family.
The Georgia Cotton Women Scholarship is presented annually to the child or grandchild of a member of the Georgia Cotton Women. This scholarship is also in the amount of $1,500 and payable one-half each semester. In the event there is no child or grandchild of a GCW member eligible for this scholarship, the Scholarship Committee has the discretion to the present the award to another qualified candidate.
Scholarship application and letters of recommendation must be postmarked by May 1 to:
Georgia Cotton Women
P.O. Box 2186
Moultrie, GA 31776
For an electronic copy of this application, contact email@example.com. The completed application and accompanying documents must be mailed to the above address. The application cannot be submitted electronically.
The National Cotton Council is concerned that China’s announcement of significantly higher proposed tariffs on U.S. raw cotton shipped to that country would significantly harm the economic health of the U.S. cotton industry.
For the current 2017 crop year, China stands as the second largest export market with purchases of approximately 2.5 million bales of U.S. cotton.
“I cannot overstate the importance of China’s market to U.S. cotton farmers and the importance of U.S. cotton in meeting the needs of China’s textile industry,” NCC Chairman Ron Craft said. “The cotton industries of the United States and China enjoy a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.”
According to the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service GAIN Report, cotton has been listed among multiple U.S. agricultural products that could potentially be hit with higher tariffs from China — specifically an in-quota tariff that would increase from one percent to 26 percent. Following the announcement, the cotton market reacted accordingly – almost limit down on nearby contracts.
The GAIN Report noted that China’s proposal of retaliatory tariffs on selected U.S. agricultural products is in response to the recent U.S. proposed tariffs on Chinese imports resulting from the Section 301 investigation into the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property.
Craft said the NCC strongly encourages the two governments to engage in immediate discussions “that can resolve trade tensions and preserve this long-term collaborative relationship. The U.S. cotton industry stands ready to assist the U.S. government and our trading partners in China to find a resolution to this damaging trade dispute.”
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black presented Georgia State Governor Nathan Deal with a 100 percent Georgia Grown cotton t-shirt during a press conference held at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, March 20. The conference was held to announce a new line of Georgia Grown t-shirts grown and sewn locally in Georgia in partnership with the Georgia Cotton Commission, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and Georgia’s cotton farmers.
“With the largest row crop industry in this state being cotton, it is an honor to present 100 percent cotton shirts grown and sewn in Georgia,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “We are thrilled to identify a transparent supply chain to produce a high quality, Georgia-made product that consumers will be proud to wear.”
The 100 percent cotton shirts are sourced from South Georgia and ginned at Osceola Cotton Company in Irwin County, Georgia. Platinum Sportswear receives the finished fabric and sews the shirts at their facility in Wilkes County, Georgia. The entire process is completed within a 600-mile radius.
Georgia Grown has partnered with local screen printers, including Georgia Industries for the Blind, to complete the design process for local businesses and organizations. All shirts are completely customizable and feature a 100 percent Georgia Grown cotton tag.
“With more than $73 billion in economic output each year, agribusiness is the largest industry here in the No. 1 state for business,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “An important part of that industry, which is directly tied to this Georgia Grown project, is our cotton sector, as almost 20 percent of all American cotton comes from Georgia. With this project, we are recognizing the farmers, growers and raisers who are ultimately responsible for so much other business all along the farm-to-consumer supply chain and I am proud to stand alongside Commissioner Black in support of this campaign. All the best things are Georgia Grown, so I look forward to seeing these shirts on citizens across the state as we continue to be the No. 1 state for business and the best place to call home.”
Creating a supply chain that occurs in three different agrarian regions of Georgia has helped to rebuild Georgia’s textile manufacturing industry and brought revitalization to rural Georgia.
“We are so proud of the effects this supply chain has had on Georgia’s rural regions. Being able to establish a process that begins and ends in Georgia reiterates that Georgia is indeed Nature’s Favorite State,” Commissioner Gary W. Black said.
The 100 percent Georgia Grown t-shirts are available for purchase online at store.georgiagrown.com. For information about wholesale pricing and orders, please contact Lesia Walker of Georgia Industries for the Blind at Lesia.firstname.lastname@example.org or 229-248-2666, ext. 305. For more information regarding the program, please contact Georgia Grown at 404-656-3680.
Thrips are the most consistent insect pest of cotton in Georgia and the southeast. Near 100 percent of the cotton planted will be infested by thrips each year. For this reason preventive insecticides applied as a seed treatment and/or an in furrow application at planting are recommended. At-plant insecticides for thrips control provide a consistent yield response. Thrips infestations in cotton vary by location, planting date, and year. In some situations (high thrips infestations and/or slow seedling growth) supplemental foliar insecticides may be needed in addition to at-plant insecticides. Foliar insecticides are recommended when 2-3 thrips per plant are counted and immatures (crème colored and wingless) are present.
Thrips injury on seedling cotton is a function of thrips pressure and seedling growth. Seedlings are most susceptible to thrips feeding during early growth stages; economic damage rarely occurs once seedlings reach the 4-leaf stage and are growing rapidly. Thrips injury is more severe when seedlings are not growing rapidly (i.e. stress from cool temperatures or herbicides); rapidly growing seedlings can better tolerate thrips feeding.
A new tool, Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton (TIPs), is available to aid growers in thrips management decisions. Entomologists from the southeast cooperated with researchers at North Carolina State University who developed the TIPs tool. Data from Cotton Commission funded projects evaluating thrips management programs by planting date were used to aid in the creation of and to validate the tool. Additionally, county agents collected thrips infestation data from over 300 commercial fields during 2016 and 2017 as part of the TIPs tool verification effort.
The TIPs tool uses planting date, temperature, precipitation, and knowledge of when and how intense thrips infestations will be to predict risk of thrips injury to cotton. The TIPs tool can be used to identify planting dates which are at greatest risk for thrips injury. The TIPs tool will give the best predictions within 10-14 days after you use it, so use at multiple times during the planting and thrips management season would be beneficial. Dr. George Kennedy has prepared the webinar “Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton: An Online Tool for Informed Thrips Management”. The webinar includes an overview and how to use the TIPs tool and can be found at http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/edcenter/seminars/cotton/ThripsInfestationPredictor/.
High risk planting dates will require more aggressive thrips management compared with low risk planting dates to achieve acceptable thrips control. Management options for high risk planting dates would include the use of in-furrow liquid insecticides such as acephate, imidacloprid, or aldicarb or the use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment plus a supplemental foliar application at the 1-leaf stage. In low thrips risk environments neonicotinoid seed treatments will generally provide acceptable control. The TIPs tool should allow proactive decisions to be made relative to thrips management. The Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton tool can be found at http://climate.ncsu.edu/CottonTIP.
Note – This article was written by University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Extension Agronomist Phillip Roberts. The Commission thanks Dr. Roberts for his time in writing this article and appreciates all the hard work that Dr. Roberts and the entire UGA Cotton Team does in conducting research and disseminating information to Georgia’s cotton growers. For more information on the UGA Cotton Team, visit www.ugacotton.com.
On March 3rd at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tennessee, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program for the 2016 crop. This program provides assistance to American cotton producers who were left out of USDA safety net programs during that crop year. The Georgia Cotton Commission welcomes this program.
Colquitt County farmer Bart Davis, who also serves as the Chairman of the Georgia Cotton Commission, said “We are greatly appreciative to Secretary Perdue for making this program available to cotton producers. At a time of tight margins and depressed commodity markets, this announcement could not have come at a more opportune time. This program will make it easier for cotton producers to secure financing for the 2018 crop.” Davis also noted the economic impact of the program, “This announcement will have ripple effects in Georgia’s economy and have a significant impact in rural communities across our state.”
CGCS program payments were based on 20% of the average producer’s ginning costs per acre. Growers in Georgia and the southeastern region are eligible for $23.21 per acre based on cotton acres reported to USDA for 2016. Growers are encouraged to go their local USDA-Farm Service Agency office to enroll in the program between March 12th and May 11th.
Thanks to Dr. Don Shurley and Dr. Adam Rabinowitz for providing this information.
A Little History. You will recall that under provisions of the 2014 farm bill, landowners were given the opportunity to make a one-time election to keep existing crop bases on the farm as they were or to update these bases. This decision applied to “covered commodities” only and excluded cotton.
Bases of covered commodities (corn, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, oats, sunflowers, canola, etc.) could be “retained” as they were as of September 30, 2013 or these bases could be “reallocated” based on the farm’s planting history for 2009-2012. Total base acres of covered commodities could not be increased but could be “reshuffled” based on 2009-2012 planting.
If a farm had cotton base, that base was pulled aside and could not be updated/changed. Cotton was not a covered commodity and not eligible for ARC/PLC. Cotton base on a farm became generic base.
What Now. Since 2014, the generic base on a farm has just been sitting there. It has had no value for cotton and cotton has had no income safety net since cotton is not eligible for ARC/PLC payments. The only contribution generic base has had is the provision that says acres planted to covered commodities on that farm can earn temporary base of the commodity and are eligible for ARC/PLC up to the amount of generic base. But this did nothing for cotton specifically.
For several years, cotton industry leadership sought ways to improve the safety net for cotton producers and to get cotton back in Title I and eligible for ARC/PLC. With the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, “seed cotton”—a combination of lint and seed, is now a covered commodity under Title I of the 2014 farm bill. This becomes effective with the 2018 crop year.
Under the new seed cotton program, generic base on a farm will no longer be in effect starting with the 2018 crop year. Generic base must be converted to seed cotton base or other covered commodity bases.
Conversion Options. To convert generic base, landowners will have 2 options to choose from:
The higher of 1-A or 1-B
1-A—80% of generic base, or
1-B—the average cotton acres planted 2009-2012, but not to exceed the generic base
With 1-A and 1-B, any generic base remaining becomes “unassigned base”
Or Option 2
2—allocate generic base to seed cotton base and base of other covered commodities based on 2009-2012 acres planted; there would be no “unassigned base”
If a farm has generic base (former cotton base under the 2008 farm bill) but no covered commodity (including cotton) has been planted on the farm during 2009-2016, all generic base on that farm will automatically become unassigned base and not eligible for ARC/PLC. Conversion options would not apply.
Some have asked why a more current planting history is not allowed. Remember that in the 2014 “retain or reallocate” decision, cotton was excluded. This new seed cotton program is simply going back to that same window of history given to other covered commodities (2009-2012) and now giving the landowner the opportunity of several alternatives to convert generic base/former cotton base to seed cotton base or seed cotton base and bases of other covered commodities based on that same window of history.
An Example. Let’s suppose farm (FSN) 4178 has the following 2009-2012 planting history. With the exception of cotton, this is the exact same history used back in 2014 for the retain or reallocate decision. The 2009-2012 average includes any years the crop was not planted. The farm has averaged 19.25 acres of corn, 105.25 acres of cotton, 32.5 acres of peanuts, and 7 acres of soybeans.
The farm has 111 acres of generic base (former cotton base under the 2008 farm bill). This generic base must be converted to seed cotton base (option 1-A or 1-B) or seed cotton base and base of other commodities (option 2). Here are how the choices compare for this example:
Option 1-A would result in 88.8 acres of seed cotton base and 22.2 unassigned base acres.
111 acres generic base x 80% = 88.8 acres seed cotton base
111 – 88.8 = 22.2 acres unassigned base
Option 1-B would result in 105.25 acres of seed cotton base and 5.75 unassigned base acres.
2009-2012 average cotton acres planted = 105.25 acres
Seed cotton base = lesser of generic base acres (111) or average acres planted (105.25)
111 – 105.25 = 5.75 acres unassigned base
1-B results in higher seed cotton base. So, 1-B can be compared to Option 2
Option 2 would result in 71.24 acres of seed cotton base, 13.03 acres of corn base, 22 acres of peanut base, and 4.74 acres of soybean base. This allocation is determined based on each crops proportion of the 2009-2012 average acres planted:
Seed cotton base = 105.25/164 = 64.2% x 111 acres generic base = 71.24 acres
Corn base = 19.25/164 = 11.7% x 111 acres generic base = 13.03 acres
Peanut base = 32.5/164 = 19.8% x 111 acres generic base = 22.0 acres
Soybeans base = 7/164 = 4.3% x 111 acres generic base = 4.74 acres
Total bases = 111 acres; Unassigned base = 0 acres
Making the Decision. Potentially, every farm (FSN) could be different because of the amount of generic base and planting history. It is possible, however, that your farms could be divided up into different “types” based on similar bases, planting history, and seed cotton payment yield and a decision made for choice of conversion option by type.
Obviously, the major factor in the decision will be expected total ARC/PLC payments with each option. In the hypothetical example shown, Option 1-B gives the highest seed cotton base. Option 2 has less seed cotton base in exchange for corn, peanuts, and soybean base. Future ARC and PLC payments, and thus which conversion option may be best, depends on market prices, yields vs historical yields (for crops in ARC), and PLC reference prices.
The University of Georgia Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and UGA Cooperative Extension are developing a decision aid that will be available to assist producers and landowners to analyze the conversion options.
Answers to a Few Questions. The seed cotton program and conversion of generic base does not in any way impact your current crop bases for other covered commodities. The conversion will simply add to the other bases you may now have on the farm. The decision regarding generic base conversion option is on a farm-by-farm basis. You can select one option for one farm and a different option for another farm. The treatment of any “unassigned base” in future farm bills is uncertain and will likely depend on budget availability.
Appreciation is expressed to the Georgia Cotton Commission and the Georgia Peanut Commission for funding support. Appreciation is expressed to the National Cotton Council for review and comment.