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U.S. highlights – adverse weather affects cotton crop; disaster-area farmers may withdraw from acreage reduction programs while non-declared disaster area farmers have other options

U.S. highlights – adverse weather affects cotton crop; disaster-area farmers may withdraw from acreage reduction programs while non-declared disaster area farmers have other options – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service report

Adverse weather throughout the cotton belt continued to draw considerable discussion as to the outcome of the U.S. cotton crop for 1991/92. Rain and flooding delayed plantings in the Delta whereas West Texas and the Far West were plagued by inadequate moisture levels and cold weather which slowed crop progress. Some analysts predict cotton acreage in the Delta may be reduced by about 250,000 to 350,000 acres from USDA’s March 28 planting intentions report. In West Texas, farmers are about 2 weeks behind planting schedule as they waited for rain which finally began in early June. Pima cotton growers have not fared well either. In Arizona and California, unseasonably cold weather and too much rain restricted plant development. USDA will announce its first 1991/92 Pima production estimate on August 12. Secretary Madigan announced that farmers flooded out by torrential rains and impacted by drought which prevented planting, would be permitted to withdraw enrolled crops from respective acreage reduction programs (ARP) only in counties designated as official disaster areas. Under the new provisions, producers in disaster counties will be allowed and farmers in countries next to those that have been declared disaster areas.

— Withdraw their contracts to participate in the ARP. Liquidated damages will be waived and the producer may plant any crop in any quantity, except for other crops for which the producer has signed a contract to participate in the ARP. — ASCS may extend the certification date in disaster-designated counties to allow producers more time to designate acreage as having been prevented from planting or as “conserving use” for payment. — Countries which have not been designated as disaster areas, may be eligible for special disaster provisions on a crop by crop basis if ASCS recommends that there has been a loss of a lest 30 percent of a producers crop. — Emergency Feed Program and Emergency Conservation Program funds are authorized for counties where heavy flood damage occurred. Other options already available to non-declared disaster areas are:

— A producer may file for prevented planted credit; this will protect the farm acreage base, but no deficiency payments will be earned. — A producer participating in a commodity ACR Program may file a failed acreage report with respect to the commodity and earn deficiency payments and protect the crop acreage base for that commodity. — A producer may report Conserving Use Acreage for payment under the 0/92 provisions in lieu of requesting prevented planting credit for wheat and feed grains, receive deficiency payments with respect to such acreage, and plant minor oilseeds, but not soybeans. — If a producer’s planted and prevented planted acreage is at least equal to 50 percent of the producer’s maximum payment acreage, the producer may designate acreage as “conserving use” for payment acreage under the 50/92 provisions for upland cotton and rice, and receive deficiency payments, but may not plant minor oilseeds or soybeans on the 50/92 acres. — Acreage that has been prevented from planting to a program crop may be considered as flex acres, which protects the farm acreage base for that program crop and allows the producer to plant soybeans or any other flex crop and receive price support. — Finally, producers may withdraw from their contract to participate in the ARP and certify zero acreage as having been planted to the program crop. This protects the farm acreage base for that crop.

COPYRIGHT 1991 U.S. Department of Agriculture

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