May 19 , 2006
Texas producers affected by last year's record hurricane season can now sign up for four crop and livestock assistance programs, USDA has announced.
The USDA programs are funded by a $250 million relief package authorized by Congress immediately following the storms.
Assistance is available through four programsLivestock Indemnity Program, Feed Indemnity Program, Hurricane Indemnity Program and Tree Indemnity Program. Some $250 million from Section 32 funds were authorized immediately following the destructive hurricanes.
To be eligible for the assistance, a producer's loss must have occurred in one of 261 counties in six states that received a primary presidential or secretarial disaster designation.
Eligible Texas counties include Angelina, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gregg, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Marion, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler and Walker.
Additional information about USDA hurricane assistance is available at USDA Service Centers nationwide and online at http://www.usda.gov/HurricaneInfo.xml.
How many acres will be planted to corn, cotton and sorghum? What will spring planting conditions mean for state and national agriculture?
In an effort to answer these questions and others with reliable, objective information, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be surveying farmers and ranchers in late May and continuing through early June.
The survey will provide the firsthand indications of the potential production of major crops for 2006 and will update livestock trends. Texas producer associations and other agricultural supporters value the up-to-date facts because they know the survey results are an unbiased snapshot of agriculture from the best sourceproducers. Producers rely on the data to reach vital production, marketing and investment decisions.
The USDA, NASS, Texas Field Office will conduct the survey.
"We safeguard the confidentiality of all survey responses," Robert Garino, deputy director of the Texas Field office said. "Information from individual operations is combined with other responses to provide the needed data."
All agricultural statistics published by NASS are available at www.usda.gov/nass/. For more information, call the USDA, NASS Texas Field Office at 1-800-626-3142.
"This is a decision we obviously welcome. Now we can turn our full attention toward the original intent of this programbuilding markets for cotton."
Comments by William P. Crawford, president and chief executive officer of the Cotton Board, on the decision to dismiss a motion against the Cotton Research & Promotion Act by plaintiffs Cricket Hosiery, Inc., The William Carter Company, Artex International, Inc. and others that claimed the cotton promotion program violated their constitutional free speech, free association and due rights process.
Students of Texas A&M University and the Corps of Cadets will travel to the Texas Panhandle this month to lend their hand in the rebuilding process of the many ranches left ravaged by wildfires.
More than 1,000 square miles of ranchland in the eastern Texas Panhandle were claimed by fires beginning on March 12. Over the next six days, the blaze claimed a dozen lives, thousands of cattle and miles of fence lines.
Hearing of the disaster, the students offered their assistance to those in need.
They will arrive May 15 in Pampa and stay at the Graceland East Ranch near Borger through May 28, helping ranchers clear the many homes and barns laid waste by the fires, as well as assist in rebuilding the downed fence lines.
"We're all ready to make this happen," said Ricky Martin, of the Gray-Roberts County Farm Bureau. "We're hoping this project will be a huge success not only for the people who suffered losses but for our community and organization as a whole."
The Gray-Roberts County Farm Bureau will coordinate the student's efforts, as well as serve as the main staging point for the relief projects. For more information, contact the Gray-Roberts office at (806) 665-8451.
Supermarket executives have been tracking the increasing organic food demand and the bigger chains have decided now is the time to offer lower cost store-brand organics, according to the Wall Street Journal.
SuperValue Inc. this month is introducing about 50 organic items under the Nature's Best store brand. Safeway Inc. has already introduced 150 of its own organics brand products. Both chains expect to have as many as 300 of their own organic food items on the shelves by the end of 2007. Stop & Shop and Sam's Club stores are also beginning to offer organic foods under store brands. In general, store brands are being priced anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent below national-brand organic products. These product introductions are a reaction to growing demand for organics at prices closer to conventional foods.
In the May 5 edition of Texas Agriculture, we incorrectly stated that candidates for TFB's new leadership program, FarmLead, must be under 40 years of age as of Sept. 1, 2006. In fact, those candidates should be over 40 years of age as of Sept. 1. FarmLead is designed for mature farmers and ranchers who want to improve themselves and the agricultural industry.