Secretary of Ag Nominee Sonny Perdue Gets Hearing

Yesterday the US Senate Agriculture Committee held the confirmation hearing for former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be the next Secretary of Agriculture. Governor Perdue was introduced by former US Senator and former Ag Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss and US Representative David Scott, who currently serves on the House Ag Committee. Both Senator Chambliss and Congressman Scott are from Georgia and are good friends of the cotton industry.

During Governor Perdue’s opening statement, he laid out his top 4 priorities as Secretary of Agriculture if confirmed. First, Governor Perdue said he would focus on creating jobs for rural America. Second, he said he would like to prioritize customer service at USDA. Third, Perdue said that he would ensure a safe and viable food supply. And last, he said he work with farmers to help them sustain the land for future generations. During the question and answer portions of the hearing, Perdue mentioned on several occasions that he understood the difficulty that cotton farmers have gone through these last couple of years. He committed to working with Congress and others in the administration to ensure that farmers and consumers needs are adequately met in the next farm bill.

Other notable agricultural interest from Georgia were also in attendance at the hearing. Congressman Sanford Bishop, AFBF President Zippy Duvall, GA Ag Commissioner Gary Black, and State Senator Tyler Harper all behind Perdue and next to his family during the hearing.

Click here to watch the full hearing from the Senate Ag Committee. 

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GCC 10th Annual Meeting Videos Available

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to inform you that our Annual Meeting videos are now available on YouTube. We held our 10th Annual Meeting on January 25th in conjunction with the UGA Cotton Production Workshops. Members from the UGA Cotton Team held breakout sessions regarding insect pest management, soil fertility, economics, and various other topics. We also had speakers from Cotton Incorporated, The National Cotton Council, and Cotton Council International as guest speakers at our portion of the meeting. A local broadcast company recorded each of these sessions as well as the lunch awards ceremony and has created a playlist on YouTube. These videos will give producers a good update on the current topics of interest to growers who were not able to attend, or to those who did attend but would like a quick re-fresher on the topics. To access these videos, search “Georgia Cotton Commission 10th Annual Meeting” on YouTube or go to the producer page on our website at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.

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Cotton Market Jump/2017 Chinese Reserve Auction

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we will update you on the recent events in the cotton market. The last couple of weeks have seen a slow but steady rise in the futures price of cotton. This past week saw a sharp increase with the nearby contract getting close to 80 cents and the December ’17 contract going above 75 cents for the first time. Most analyst point to the March 6th start date of the 2017 Chinese Reserve Auction as causing this price jump. From May through August of 2016 the Chinese government began their first round of daily auctions to sell some of the cotton in their reserves. The 2016 auctions had a daily cap of 138,000 bales with a yearly total of just over 9 million bales. There was a noticeable jump in the market last year throughout the course of the auction. The 2017 auction quantities are expected to be around the same daily amounts with the Chinese government stating they’d like to sell about 30,000 tons per day, which is about 120,000 bales/day. Initial reports indicate that they are selling at that pace. The National Cotton Council has some good YouTube videos explaining the Chinese Reserve Auction program.

Click the links below to hear Dr. Jody Campiche explain the situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbmcgCJVod8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jKLwrM4yDU

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STAX Enrollment: 2015 vs 2016

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission report we want to give a brief update about crop insurance numbers. This year’s cotton insurance price is set at $0.73 per pound per the formula used by RMA which looks at the futures price of the December cotton contract from mid-January to mid-February. RMA has a neat online Price Discovery Tool that can help growers find the correct insurance price for their various commodities. In 2015, 92% of all cotton acres in Georgia had some type of crop insurance coverage with 40% of all cotton acres enrolled in STAX. In 2016, 96% of all cotton planted in Georgia had some type of crop insurance coverage with STAX coverage on 37% of the planted acres. This increase in the amount of insurance bought in 2016 versus 2015 and a decrease in the amount of STAX acres enrolled in Georgia mirrors national data. All cotton crop insurance nationally in 2015 was 91% and jumped to 93% in 2016 while STAX acres decrease from 31% nationally in 2015 to 25% in 2016. See chart below.

Click here for a chart of all 2015 data from last year’s blog.

  2015 2016
GA All Cotton Insurance 92% 96%
GA STAX 40% 37%
US All Cotton Insurance 91% 93%
US STAX 31% 25%

Complete NASS Surveys/NCC Planting Intentions Report Released

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to remind growers to complete and return your NASS surveys. USDA NASS is currently surveying growers across the country in order to compile the yearly USDA Prospective Plantings report. The data collected by NASS is confidential and extremely important for agriculture as this data is used in many policy making discussions.

The USDA Prospective Plantings report is not the only planting intentions report for cotton. Recently, the National Cotton Council released its annual Planting Intentions report that surveyed cotton growers across America. The NCC Planting Intentions report found that total US cotton acres would be up by 9.4% to 11 million acres. In Georgia, the survey found a 3.1% decrease in acres from 2016. It is important to remember though that this survey was conducted throughout December 2016 and into January 2017, and therefore may not reflect the true amount of acres to be planted given the recent increase in the price of cotton. You can find this report at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.

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Ronnie Lee NCC Chairman, Kent Fountain National Ginner of the Year

We bring great news from the Georgia cotton industry. Ronnie Lee, a cotton farmer from Bronwood, was named as the 2017 Chairman of the National Cotton Council, and Kent Fountain, a ginner from Surrency, was named National Cotton Ginner of the Year. Ronnie Lee and his sons farm in Terrell, Lee, and Sumter Counties and also own and operate McCleskey Cotton Company, RCL Flying Service, LGT LLC, and Adela Logistics. Lee is past president and chairman of Southern Cotton Growers and has served on the board of the National Cotton Council since 2015. Kent Fountain is managing partner of Southeastern Gin and Peanut and is the past president of Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association and the National Cotton Ginners Association. Fountain currently serves as the ginner vice-president on the Board of Directors of the National Cotton Council. The National Cotton Ginner of the Year is named in honor of Horace Hayden, a former National Cotton Ginners Association executive secretary. Visit our website at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org for more updates about cotton leaders from Georgia.

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“Cotton, The Story” Educational Kits Available

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to inform you of our new cotton educational kits. As many of you know, Georgia cotton producers pay $1 per bale for research, promotion, and education. Our education program includes both physical events that we attend to teach about cotton and educational materials that we can send to teachers. About ten years ago the Georgia Cotton Commission developed an educational kit called “Cotton, The Story” that can be used from kindergarten through high school.

In 2016 we shipped out our 1,000th and final kit and therefore had to update and remake the kits. The new kits contain both literature and physical cotton items such as a miniature bale, cottonseed, lint, and a cotton boll. There is also an educational video in the kit that was created by the National Cotton Council that gives a good overview of the cotton industry in America. We will ship these kits to any school that request one, we only ask that the kit be housed in the school’s media center so it can be available to every class in the school. Visit our “education” page at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org for more details.

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Free Seminars/Workshops for Producers

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission report we want to inform growers of some upcoming free seminars. There will be a Farm Labor Seminar held on February 23rd at the Decatur County Ag Center in Bainbridge. Representatives from the US Department of Labor, OSHA, and the Georgia Department of Labor will be on hand to answers any labor questions producers might have. AgGeorgia Farm Credit and AgSouth Farm Credit have teamed up to provide free financial workshops to producers. The workshops are called AGAware and will take place starting February 24th in Perry, March 17th in Greensboro, and August 25th in Waynesboro. The purpose of AGAware is to promote and educate the next generation of farmers by helping growers put together strong farm financial plans. Both the Farm Labor Seminar in Bainbridge and the AGAware workshops held across the state are free to producers. We encourage you to visit our website and look in the “Events” section to find out more about these free workshops.

FARM LABOR SEMINAR CLICK HERE.

AGAWARE WORKSHOP CLICK HERE. 

Record Attendance at 10th Annual Meeting

We had record attendance at our Annual Meeting this year with over 400 farmers, county agents, UGA specialist, and industry representatives in attendance. Our main speakers brought us updates from the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated, and Cotton Council International. These speakers updated the growers on topics ranging from the next farm bill to international marketing efforts. The UGA Cotton Production Workshop breakout sessions were also well attended. During our lunch session, cotton growers from across the state were award the 2016 Georgia Quality Cotton Awards. For those of you that could not attend, all sessions were recorded and will be posted to our website soon. The UGA Cotton Team is also still conducting county production meetings across the state. Contact your local UGA County Agent to find out your county’s schedule. For more information visit our website at http://www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.

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Using Pesticides Wisely Trainings

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission report we want to remind growers about the Using Pesticides Wisely Training. Both Xtendimax and Engenia dicamba formulations have been approved to apply of Xtend cotton in Georgia as well as the new Enlist Duo 2,4-D formulations. Check our website and the UGA Cotton Team’s website for the final federal and state labels. It is important for growers to remember that in order to be compliant with the new labels you must have attended the Using Pesticides Wisely training. Many of you attended these trainings in 2015 and 2016, but for those of you who didn’t there will be six more trainings across the state this year.

  • February 2nd at 3pm at the Screven County Extension Office
  • February 13th at 9am at the Pierce County Extension Office
  • February 15th at 1pm at the Moby Dick Restaurant in Colquitt, GA
  • February 17th at 9am at the Houston County Extension Office
  • March 7th at 1pm at the Olin Tatum Ag Building in Cartersville, GA
  • March 14th at 1:30pm at the Elbert County Extension Office

Click here to download a flyer about the events.