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Industry News For January 2019

Plan Now to Attend The Annual 2019 LATMC In February

The Louisiana Agricultural Technology & Management Conference sponsored by the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association will be held Monday morning through Wednesday noon, Feb. 11-13, at Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana.

Jay Mahaffey will be featured in the pre-conference symposium on Monday morning, talking about good agronomics and decision-making in grain crops and cotton. Attendance in this symposium will be limited, and pre-registration is required.

In addition to the general sessions where presentations will include factors influencing soil fertility to the latest in precision ag, there will be specific crop breakout sessions on cotton, rice and sugarcane. More than 30 sustaining members will be exhibiting, and most of these will be participating in emerging technology presentations at the conference. Our conference format has changed, so don’t miss the chance to see what we’ve done to make this meeting better than ever.

Technical presentations during meals (breakfasts and luncheons) will be given by our sponsoring sustaining members. A mixer will be held after sessions on Monday for networking among peers. This is one of the most important aspects of the conference. In addition to visiting with fellow consultants and others in our industry, you can participate in a silent auction held at this time with proceeds going to scholarship funding.

This conference provides recertification of consultant and commercial applicator licenses. Certified Crop Adviser Continuing Education Units are also available. The preliminary program will be posted on the LACA website at www.laca1.org.
Contact Denise Wright, executive director, at denise@laca1.org or 337-945-3694 for more information.

NCC Expresses Appreciation For Tariff Mitigation Assistance

The National Cotton Council conveyed its thanks to President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for authorizing the second round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in December that producers of certain commodities, including cotton, now will be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program payments for the second half of their 2018 production. As in the first round, the MFP will provide 6 cents per pound on the remaining half of a producer’s 2018 cotton production — Upland and extra-long staple (ELS).

Once harvest is complete, producers must certify their production to the local USDA Farm Service Agency office before payments will be made. The signup must be completed by Jan. 15 with certification due by May 1. Information and instructions are at www.farmers.gov/mfp. The MFP payments are subject to the existing $900,000 adjusted gross income means test and a separate $125,000 per person payment limit for the eligible crops.

NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, ginner, says, “The National Cotton Council is very appreciative of Secretary Perdue and his team at USDA. This tariff mitigation program will help address a portion of the losses cotton producers are facing in the marketplace.”

UPI Inc. Announces Name Change

UPL logoOn Jan. 1, United Phosphorus Inc. will be known as UPL Inc. and will adopt a new logo.

The company says the change will more accurately reflect the global brand of which it is a part. It says the change will also align the company with its corporate parent and related subsidiaries that manufacture and market agrochemicals, industrial chemicals and specialty chemicals around the world.

UPL Inc. will operate under its current structure and contact information will remain the same.

U.S. Cotton Industry Committed To 2025 Sustainability Goals

At the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, Cotton Council International President Ted Schneider updated the more than 400 attendees on how the U.S. cotton industry intends to meet its 2025 sustainability goals.

Central to his remarks was the introduction of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol — an integrated data collection, measurement and verification procedure that will document U.S. cotton production practices and their environmental impact. The data are intended to benchmark farmers’ gains towards industry goals and will provide the global textile supply chain more assurances that U.S. cotton is produced in a responsible manner.

Here are the U.S. cotton national 2025 sustainability goals, as announced in 2018:
• 13 percent increase in productivity, i.e. reduced land use per pound of fiber
• 18 percent increase in irrigation efficiency
• 39 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
• 15 percent reduction in energy expenditures;
• 50 percent reduction in soil loss
• 30 percent increase in soil carbon

“I would argue that U.S. cotton is already among the most sustainably produced in the world,” Schneider says.

As evidence, he cited the comprehensive regulatory environment in the United States and the close connection of U.S. growers to their land. He also referenced the high adoption rates of precision agricultural techniques by U.S. cotton growers and an almost 40-year track record of environmental improvement.

“We know that U.S. cotton growers continue to embrace new technologies and management techniques that reduce impact and increase yield, but today’s textile industry needs more than just our word,” Schneider says. “The Trust Protocol is meant to address that need with a tangible and transparent snapshot of U.S. cotton growing practices and the gains resulting from them.”

The details of the Protocol are being fine-tuned, and a pilot program will be launched in 2019 and fully implemented with the 2020 cotton crop year. Participating growers would be required to adopt a data tool that allows for the quantitative measurement of key sustainability metrics, such as the FieldPrint Platform from Field to Market.

Growers also would complete a self-assessment checklist of best management practices, with a sampling of participating producers subjected to independent verification. The online interface and associated databases are currently being developed by a Memphis-based company, The Seam.

Industry Reacts To Updated Trade Agreement With Mexico And Canada

“The National Cotton Council is extremely appreciative of the Trump Administration’s work to update and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, and our industry welcomes the conclusion of the negotiations,” says NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, ginner.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will ensure continued duty-free access for U.S. cotton to Mexico and Canada, with Mexico representing a Top 5 export market for U.S. raw cotton. Both Canada and Mexico are Top 5 export markets for cotton textile and apparel exports.

“The NCC is pleased to see the addition of a textile and apparel chapter to the USMCA and inclusion of provisions to promote greater use of U.S. origin textile products, incentivize North American textile production, and strengthen customs enforcement in textile and apparel products,” Craft says.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the administration in addressing other trade issues to grow exports of U.S. cotton and cotton products and enhance our market share and competitiveness in key markets.”

Making Changes At The Gin? Remember To Get A Permit

cotton ginThe California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association recently reminded gins not to forget about securing air pollution permits when needed. Following are its comments.

“With numerous issues arising in the last two months, it has become necessary for us to remind everyone of the requirements for obtaining an air pollution permit.

“We advise and encourage all cotton gins to give us a call before making any changes to their operations to be sure of any possible requirements. Any time there is a change in equipment, throughput, air flow or emissions, a permit application may be triggered. It depends on the air pollution control district and the degree of the change, but you almost always trigger the need for an ‘authority to construct.’

“One issue we see quite often, are equipment modifications made without an authority to construct and paid a penalty as a result, and still had to file an application for the authority to construct. If you change any equipment from what is listed on the permit, even if it is removed, an application to modify the permit must be filed.

“Once you have completed your installation and are ready to ‘implement’ your authority to construct, remember to notify the air pollution control district. They must be made aware of the implementation so that they can conduct an inspection.

“On an ongoing basis, please be sure to check all permit conditions. Many times some form of recordkeeping is required, such as tracking throughput. But there are also other requirements that sometimes get forgotten, such as watering the gin yard. These requirements should be checked frequently. Also make sure that personnel are keeping them up to date.

“Violations are not cheap, and the fines are continuing to increase. Make sure you aren’t one of those statistics.”