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Special Report

Rural Economies Receive Boost

In a speech at the National Farmers Union Convention, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of $96.8 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to support specialty crop producers, local food entrepreneurs and farm-to-school efforts, which in turn will increase access to healthy, nutritious food for American families and children. The announcement was part of USDA efforts ... Read More »

West Will Adjust To Fewer Cotton Acres

By Brent Murphree: Raised beds have been the standard row configuration in the West since modern cotton farming began more than 100 years ago, but that doesn't mean all Arizona producers have to be tied to the method.Wuertz should know about water conservation. His family has raised cotton on drip irrigation, a major water saver, in Coolidge for many years. However, on ground that is leased or where the cost of drip irrigation installation outweighs the advantage, planting on level ground seems to give the producer a savings advantage. Pat Cockrill, another producer in the Coolidge area, says he saves a great deal on his water bill as well. "It depends on the year," he says. "We can save at least half an acre-foot and sometimes close to a full acre-foot of water." In Coolidge, Ariz., several producers have been planting their crops on level ground with borders for irrigation. It is a traditional method for crops such as grain and alfalfa... Read More »

North Carolina Cotton Industry Leader Leaves Legacy of Leadership and Learning

North Carolina cotton producer and industry leader Billy Carter passed away on New Year’s Day, 2011, but he left behind a legacy that even today continues to improve tomorrow’s agricultural leaders through the Billy Carter Cotton Leadership Scholarship Endowment. North Carolina State University seniors Jennifer Evans and Cassandra Ingram never knew Carter, but they have grown to appreciate what he did for agriculture, and what his scholarship has done for them in their college careers. “I had the chance to meet Billy’s wife Beverly, their daughter and several other family members at a NCSU scholarship recognition event, and after my conversations with them, it was clear how much impact Mr. Carter had on agriculture not only domestically, but internationally as well,” explains Cassandra Ingram of High Point, N.C. Read More »

Ginners Investing In Industry’s Future

Today’s Texas cotton ginner has a forward-thinking approach to the future and isn’t deterred by low prices or fewer acres. That’s the opinion of Ross Rutherford, product general manager of Lummus Corporation, and a long-time observer of the Texas cotton ginning industry. In fact, Rutherford says a prime example of this philosophy is the way Texas ginners continue to invest in technology and timely upgrades. “A lot of this is being driven by consolidation within the ginning industry, but much of it is a reflection of our customers looking to the future,” he says. Low cotton prices are nothing new for producers and ginners, according to Rutherford. And, since crop options are limited in the country’s largest cotton production state (Texas), gin owners aren’t afraid of making investments in machinery. Some examples of new ginning equipment will be on display at the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association Trade Show on April 9-10 at the Lubbock Civic Center. Read More »

Snowpack Slows In The West

An unusually warm, dry January slowed snowpack accumulation in much of the West, according to data from the second 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Water and Climate Center (NWCC). California, Arizona and New Mexico, as well as parts of Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Nevada, remain in prolonged drought. “January is usually a big month for snowpack accumulation,” NWCC hydrologist Cara McCarthy says. “But most of the West didn’t see significant gains this month. With isolated exceptions, only Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Montana received near average precipitation last month.” “This is as low a snowpack as I’ve seen across the Sierra Nevada and Cascades for many locations at this time of year,” he says. Several Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) sites in those ranges are snowless, which is very unusual for this time of year. Even the precipitation in the Southwest wasn’t enough to take these regions out of drought conditions. Read More »

TPA Crucial For U.S. Agriculture

By Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau American agriculture exported more than $152 billion in products last year alone, and there’s room for more growth yet. With Trade Promotion Authority expected to take center stage on the legislative agenda this spring, farmers and ranchers are ready for trade agreements that create business and boost the American economy. TPA legislation isn’t new, ... Read More »

California Farmers Work To Improve Water Quality

By Christine Souza, California Farm Bureau In counties throughout California, farmers and ranchers are working to improve the quality of water that leaves irrigated fields by using best management practices to reduce sediment, silt and other materials through regional Irrigated Lands Regulatory Programs. The managers of one successful program say a new order by a regional water board will mostly ... Read More »