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- Editor's Note -

Belt’s Bright Spot?
Texas High Plains

By Tommy Horton
Editor


There was a time when the Texas High Plains was known mostly for short staple stripper cotton, high winds, hailstorms, droughts, country western music and Texas Tech University. Oh yeah, let’s don’t forget about one of rock ‘n roll’s all-time legends, Buddy Holly. It would be criminal to leave him off the list.

You can add one more item to that list. High-yielding and superior quality cotton. The word was starting to spread a few years ago when picker varieties began to find a home in West Texas and all over the Lone Star state. Now the rest of the world suddenly knows what’s happening.

Believe it or not, this region has shown it can compete with anybody when it comes to fiber quality. Now comes word that because of cotton acreage reductions in other regions, close to half of the ‘08 crop will be planted in Texas. Let’s take that one step further. In terms of yields, projections are pegging the High Plains for another 5-million bale plus crop, with the rest of the state adding 3 million bales.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Farm Bill, higher production costs and competition from other commodities, Texas remains cotton country – plain and simple. That theme was obvious at two important annual meetings in Lubbock last month – the Texas Cotton Ginners and Plains Cotton Growers.

Since Cotton Farming has co-sponsored the TCGA meeting for 17 years, we naturally like to think we understand the mood of the Texas ginner as well as anybody. And because Plains Cotton Growers conducts its meeting in conjunction with the TCGA annual meeting and trade show, we always have a ringside seat on how producers are feeling.

The comment we heard the most in Lubbock was one of pride. Although Texas producers and ginners would like to see an uptick in cotton acreage in other regions, they relish their opportunity. They like the idea of the entire world watching to see if they can hit the 8-million-bale mark again.

As you can tell by reading our TCGA wrapup story on pages 8 and 9, Texans have long known they were capable of hitting such high marks in cotton fiber quality. Even when they are sandblasted by high winds and untimely hailstorms, they aren’t easily discouraged. Call it being stubborn or just being Texans. Somehow, they find a way to persevere.

This state’s cotton industry has always been important to the rest of the Belt. Now, in this age of acreage shifts and transitions into corn and ethanol, it’s nice to know that our friends in Texas are sticking with cotton – no matter what everybody else is doing.

Speaking for the rest of the country, we’d like to offer a big “thank you.”

If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. Or send e-mail to: thorton@onegrower.com.


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