Area cotton is starting to come around after a delayed start, thanks to warm weather, sunshine and even rainfall in some portions of the PCG service area.

Most cotton is at squaring stage, but some blooms have begun to form on earlier-planted cotton. Some producers are applying plant growth regulators.  Most of this week's precipitation fell in northern and eastern areas of the High Plains across the Rolling Plains. Next week's forecast calls for temperatures nearing 100 degrees with slight chances of rain mid-week.

Insect pressure currently is relatively low, but week pressure remains very high, and it will be especially vital for producers to control weeds in later planted cotton that still could be a week away from bloom.

The USDA released their latest 2014 crop acreage estimates on June 30.  Texas upland cotton planting is forecast at 6.45 million acres, up 11 percent from last year  High Plains upland cotton planting (District 1-N and 1-S) is forecast at 4,005,000 acres, which is about a 6% increase from 2013.  The USDA estimates United States upland cotton acreage at 11.2 million acres, up 10 percent from 2013.

In the July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, the USDA forecasted U.S. cotton production for 2014 at 16.5 million bales, up 1.5 million bales from their June report.

The cotton market has responded to these reports of increased acreage and good weather, although not in a positive direction.  December futures were at 67.69 as of noon Friday. Although the market has stabilized somewhat over the last week, it has dropped 10 cents over the past couple of months, said Alyssa Badger, a consultant with HighGround Trading in Chicago.

"The global glut expected to come into the world market paired with a less active Chinese buyer remains the driving force behind this rapid fall," Badger said, noting that the market even brushed off large sales into the export market as 19 countries purchased over 340,000 bales from the U.S. "Another confirmation that we are in a bear market is an increase in open interest each day these prices weaken," she said.

HPWD SCHEDULES HEARINGS FOR PROPOSED CHANGES TO RULES AND MANAGEMENT PLAN

The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 (HPWD) seeks public input at hearings to be held in Levelland July 29 and Canyon Aug. 5.

The July 29 hearing is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. at the Mallet Event Center, 2320 U.S. Hwy. 385, in Levelland. The Aug. 5 hearing is also 3-6 p.m. at the Kuhlman Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office, 200 N. Brown Road, in Canyon.

"All interested persons are encouraged to comment on proposed revisions to our District Rules and Management Plan" said Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo. "We've been working on this for several months and expect to adopt the finalized documents at our regular monthly meeting in August."

Highlights of the proposed rules are available at http://www.hpwed.com along with the full 31-page document that includes administrative detail not included in the summarized highlights.

The current HPWD management plan and proposed revisions are also available on this web page.

"We encourage anyone with questions or comments to be at these hearings or to submit comments in writing to rulecomments@hpwd.com if they are unable to attend," Tate said.

Tate reminds everyone that all written comments must be received in the HPWD office, 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411 no later than 5 p.m. on August 5.

Created in 1951 by local residents and the Texas Legislature, the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 is charged with the responsibility of conserving, preserving, protecting, and preventing waste of groundwater within is 16 county service area.  HPWD is the first groundwater conservation district created in Texas.

WEST TEXAS AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS INSTITUTE ANNUAL CONFERENCE SET FOR SEPTEMBER 9

The annual meeting of the West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 9 at the Scottish Rite Temple-Learning Center, located at 1101 70th Street in Lubbock (South Loop 289 and Intersteate 27).

This year represents the 62nd meeting at WTACI, an unincorporated organization of dealers, industry representatives, agricultural producers, scientists, educators, and agribusiness members who support education and research programs promoting safe and effective use of agricultural chemicals and protection and preservation of the area's natural resources.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include pesticide application and laws and regulations, new herbicide systems, nematode control, an integrated pest management update, and much more.  A detailed list of presentations and speakers will be online soon at http://wtaci.tamu.edu. TDA and CCA continuing education units will be available.

Pre-registration will be online soon at http://wtaci.tamu.edu/Registration.html. Registration forms will be mailed later this month. On line registration fees are $75 for conference attendees and $300 for a booth and must be completed or postmarked by August 31. On site registration will begin at 7 a.m. the day of the conference and will cost $95 for attendees and $325 for booth sponsors.  Lunch will be provided as part of the registration fee.

Opportunities also exist to contirbute to the WTACI Scholarship Fund, which has provided more than $60,000 in scholarships to students majoring in agricultural fields at many Texas universities.

Contact Marcus Sullivan at (806) 790-5404 or marcus.sullivan@chsinc.com for questions about the program and CEU's. If you have trouble or questions regarding registration contact David Pointer, 806-746-4021 or dlpointer@ag.tamuedu.

CELEBRATE COTTON TICKETS ON SALE

Those in the cotton industry who want to see the Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Celebrate Cotton game on Saturday, September 13, have a special opportunity for early access to purchase tickets to that game.

Between now and August 15, you can be sure you have your game tickets by doing one of the following:

*Visit http://texastech.com/promocode and enter COTTON

*Call Paul Ables at (806) 834-2256

*Call Ryann White at (806) 834-0149

*Call Rodrick Evans at (806) 834-1741

Individual tickets are $85 each and game time currently is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Season tickets already have sold out, and it is expected that tickets for this game will sell out as well, so be sure and order your between now and Aguust 15, before the block is released to the public.

PCG has proudly partnered with Texas Tech Athletics to establish this fun event that puts the HIgh Plains cotton industry on a naitonal stage.  Cotton will be everywhere before and throughout the game, from displays around the stadium to promotion, special graphics and fun cotton facts during the game.

Special gameday T-shirts will be distributed (first-come, first-serve) and cotton bales will line each entrance to the stadium, each with signage talking about what the cotton in the that bale can make or how it impacts our economy.

Presenting sponsors for Celebrate Cotton include AgTexas Farm Credit Services, Bayer CropScience, City Bank, Crop Production Services, Deltapine, Diversified Sub-Surface Irrigation Inc., Dodge Ram, PhytoGen, and Warren CAT.

For more information  please call PCG at (806) 792-4904. Spread the word.  Let's make this game a huge success for cotton.

NOMINATON DEADLINE NEARS FOR FARM SERVICE AGENCY COUNTY COMMITTEES

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan Garcia reminds farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that August 1, 2014 is the deadline for local FSA county committee nominations.

County committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Farmers and ranchers elected to local committees share their opinions and ideas on federal farm programs.

"There's still time for eligible farmes and ranchers to get invovled in this year's county committee eletctions," said Garcia.  "Nominate yourself or a candidate of your choice to serve on the local countu committee. I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities.  This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county."

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they work closely with county executive directors and make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergy programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.

Members serve three year terms.  Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a progarm administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA -669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on August 1, 2014. Ballots will be mailed to elegible voters by Nov. 3 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on Dec. 1. The newly elected county committee members will take office on Jan. 1, 2015.