NEWS & ISSUES

State Insurance Commissioner to Investigate Commercial Insurance Issue

Responding to the Association, State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has issued an information request from all commercial insurance carriers operating in California on the availability and cost of commercial insurance for business operating in California.  This follows meetings in Sacramento and in our office on the issue with Commissioner Lara, where the Association reported on the overwhelming lack of commercial insurance following the devastating wildfires in the state, and the cost of insurance that is available.  The Commissioner has given insurance companies 60 days to respond to the request with a deadline of June 14th, 2021.  While this is no guarantee our issue is going to be resolved this year, at least the Commissioner is following through on his promise to investigate the issue and put serious pressure on the insurance industry to not penalize those of us who have nothing to do with the wildfires.  Stay tuned for more details as the investigation continues.

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CCGGA Annual Meeting Announced

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) is announcing the 2021 CCGGA Annual Meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 12th at the International Agri-Center located at 4500 S. Laspina in Tulare, California.  Registration packets will be going out to all regular and associate members this week.  There is an information packed agenda that begins at 7:30 with registration and ends following lunch.  The featured speaker will be Dan Walters from CalMatters.    Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers, and has written more than 9,000 columns for the Sacramento Union and the Sacramento Bee and continues his column for CalMatters, a non-profit journalistic organization which distributes to dozens of California news outlets.  He has written about California and its politics for a number of other publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He is also an author and contributor, two books of which are, “The Third House: Lobbyists, Power and Money in Sacramento” and “The New California: Facing the 21st Century”.

Association staff has met with Agri-Center staff and COVID safety protocols will be in place for now including mask requirements and social distancing.  You can click on the respective links to access the Tentative Agenda and Registration FormAttendance is free, but you must be registered!

The Association hosts the 2021 Sticky Cotton & Insect Review Summit​

This past week, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association held its first ever virtual 2021 Sticky Cotton & Insect Review Summit, bringing together merchants, growers, gin managers, researchers, and PCAs together to discuss this important issue.  The summit began with a 2020 season in review by Bob Hutmacher with UCCE, followed with a presentation by Ian Grettenberger with UC Davis on aphids & whiteflies and best practices. Providing an update on the sticky cotton ginning research was Derek Whitelock, USDA ARS SWCGRL. President & CEO Roger Isom provided an insight of the legislative efforts surrounding pesticide registration/use in California. Four different chemical manufactures provided updates on aphid and whitefly tools.

The major focus and objective of the summit was on the prevention of sticky cotton. Multiple PCA’s discussed and provided some insight on what can be done to combat whitefly and aphids in the field and providing their thoughts were Bob Hutmacher, UCCE, Andy Gulley, Simplot, Tony Touma, and Nick Groenenberg.

Action items coming out of the meeting included the following:

• Here is the link to our website that including reports and materials related to Sticky Cotton
• Additional questions for growers to further assist on cotton research efforts *Note: Answers provided are anonymous

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s 2021 Sticky Cotton & Insect Review Summit.

What does Cotton Acreage Look Like for California in 2021?

The critical water supply is weighing heavily on predicted cotton acreage in California this year as we head into the 2021 planting season.  As a result, California is preliminarily expecting a 30% decrease in overall cotton acreage for 2021.

According to preliminary planting intentions survey conducted by the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association this month, the Association is currently estimating approximately only 96,224 acres of pima and Hazera and 35,577 acres of upland statewide for the 2021cotton season plus or minus 10%.   This survey is based on surveys from all of the gins in California and things could change when planting is actually completed and final field surveys are completed by CDFA.  If it plays out, it will represent a 34% decrease in pima acreage and a 14.3% decrease in upland acreage in California as compared to 2020. Again, this is preliminary, but reflects what all gins are reporting.

CARB Passes Final End to Agricultural Burning in San Joaquin Valley

While the end has been preordained for some time due to the passage of SB 705 (Florez), the final death sentence was handed down by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) this past week.  The decision was in response to the proposed phase-out plan adopted by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District last November.  CARB initially said it wasn’t enough and issued a staff report that sped up end dates for certain burning and set an absolute end date on January 1, 2025.  It should be noted that even this wasn’t enough for the environmental justice community or some of the CARB Board members, as many called for end to all agricultural burning right now.  Association Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin testified on the proposal citing the need for time for newer technologies to come on line that would replace the old biomass facilities.  McGlothlin highlighted several companies and technologies that the Association has been working with over the past five years, but have not quite reached the finish line.  Association President/CEO Roger Isom also testified and argued that many of the state’s own policies have contributed to the problem with the requirement for biomass plants to burn 80% forestry waste and the waste diversion requirement for landfills that has resulted in landfills not accepting ag waste any longer.  Isom also stated we need significant funding to help growers, especially smaller ones, pay for chipping and incorporating the material back into the soil and for the new technologies to get up and running.  Thankfully, the CARB did not end burning this year, giving a slight reprieve until 2025 and some board members pledged to help get the funding necessary to solve the problem.

Be on the Lookout: New Form Required for Some NRCS Customers

If you are a producer or landowner who participates in USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation programs, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) may be reaching out by mail with information about a form you’ll need to fill out.  Starting this year, all producers and landowners participating or applying to participate in certain NRCS conservation programs must complete form CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan. “In California, this new form will be needed for customers who are selected for funding in both EQIP batch periods ending March 3 and June 9,” stated Carlos Suarez, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Historically, to participate in these programs, legal entities could file either the CCC-901, Member Information or the CCC-902, while individuals were not specifically required to file the CCC-902 with FSA. Now, to ensure FSA and NRCS are properly determining payment eligibility and maximum payment limitations, all customers must have a CCC-902 on file to establish eligibility.  These changes will not affect participants who already have a Form CCC-902 with a “determined” status recorded with FSA.   Customers who do not have a CCC-902 on file with FSA will be sent a letter in the mail in the coming weeks with detailed information on what is needed and how to file the form. The letter requests that the form be completed within 30 days of receipt of the letter.  For added convenience, USDA is offering options for remote or in-person submission of the CCC-902.   Fiscal year 2021 is considered a transition year to ensure all NRCS program participants can meet this updated filing requirement. Beginning in FY 2022, if form CCC-902 is not on file your payments may be impacted.

NCC Predicts 25% drop in CA Cotton Acreage for 2021

At this week’s Annual Meeting of the National Cotton Council (NCC), preliminary forecast for cotton acreage in California reflected an unexpected overall 25% drop in acreage.  Pima acreage was forecast at 108,000 acres, down from 147,000 acres in 2020 reflecting about a 26.5% drop in acres.  Upland was expected to be at 28,000 acres, down from 34,000 acres in 2020 representing approximately a 17.7% drop in acreage.  Total acreage is predicted to be 136,000 acres, down from 181,000 acres in 2020 meaning an overall predicted reduction in acreage of approximately 25%.  If this plays out, the overall cotton acreage would be the lowest planted cotton acreage in California since before 1920.  The biggest factors for the decline include water availability and pricing.  However, prices and demand for cotton are on the increase, and with more storms on the way these numbers could change.  The Association has just sent their Annual Predicted cotton acreage survey to all gins and hope to have expected numbers by mid-March.

March 15 Deadline for 2021 Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

The deadline for the 2021 Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs is March 21, 2021. Meeting this deadline is critical. If producers fail to complete enrollment by the deadline, they will be ineligible to receive payment for the 2021 crop year should a covered commodity payment trigger for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs. For more information, visit farmers.gov/arc-plc.

New Data on 2020 Variety Trails & FOV4 Screening

The University of California released new research data on the 2020 Pima and Upland /Acala cotton variety trails through research funding provided by California Cotton Growers and Ginners Association. The research was led by UC CE Specialist / AES and Center Director Bob Hutmacher in cooperation with the University of CA staff headed by Mark Keeley, TarileeFrigulti-Schramm and Jorge Angeles, and UCCE Farm AdvisorsDan Munk, Brian Marsh, Jose Dias, Nicholas Clark and staff. Data on the 2020 FOV race 4 Commercial Entry Screening Summary was also released.   The summary with Fusarium race 4 screening summary results is from field trials in Tulare County and Merced County in 2020.  This research was funded through Ca Cotton Alliance, Cotton Incorporated State Support and Cotton Incorporated Core. You can find direct links to the yield data below, and hvi fiber quality summaries from the same trials will be posted at the same site.

• 2020 University Of California Pima Cotton Variety Trials- Yields
• 2020 University Of California Upland/Acala Cotton Variety Trials- Yields
• 2020 University Of California Fusarium Race 4 Field Screening Summaries

You can always find research data on our website here.

Mark McKean reelected American Cotton Producers chair

Mark McKean of Riverdale, California, was reelected as chairman of the American Cotton Producers (ACP) of the National Cotton Council (NCC) for 2021 during the NCC’s virtual 2021 annual meeting. He was formerly an ACP vice chairman and currently serves as a NCC director. He has served on and continues to serve on various ACP and NCC committees and task forces. Mark is also an advisor and former Chairman of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association. Congratulations, Mark.