National Cotton Council delegates recently endorsed a concept that would assist the national boll weevil eradication program in its final and most difficult stage on the Texas-Mexico border.
How did the concept come about?
The NCC’s Boll Weevil Action Committee (BWAC) provided Congress in 2006 an estimated timeline for completion of boll weevil eradication. Subsequently, USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) initiated efforts in Mexico to provide technical assistance for boll weevil eradication in northern areas bordering the United States. Although some areas of northern Mexico have been declared weevil-free, other northern areas have security issues along with relatively high weevil populations. As a result, migration of the pest has resulted in a continuation of the battle against the weevil in the southern areas of Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV).
Recognizing that the current estimated eradication completion timeline ends in 2013, the BWAC developed a new approach to continue eradication efforts along the border and prevent re-infestation. The BWAC determined that: 1) the LRGV should serve as a buffer to protect the remainder of the U.S. Cotton Belt and 2) creation of an industry-supported supplemental funding source would be important in establishing a national buffer zone and completing the overall eradication of the boll weevil in the LRGV. The supplemental funding source, The National Boll Weevil Protection Fund (Fund), would be in addition to continued requests for federal cost share funding from Congress through APHIS.
What is the concept?
The Fund concept was developed by the NCC’s BWAC with input from the respective boll weevil foundations across the U.S. Cotton Belt. Delegates at the recent 2013 NCC Annual Meeting endorsed the concept, and it is now under consideration by those foundations.
The Fund’s purpose would be two-fold: 1) assist in active eradication efforts of the boll weevil in the Texas LRGV as the national program buffer and 2) prevent boll weevil re-infestation of cotton in currently eradicated areas of the U.S. Cotton Belt. The proposal calls for the Fund to be in place for five years beginning in 2014. The Fund concept will be re-evaluated after five years. The concept calls for the Fund to be administered by the NCC under the guidance of the NCC’s BWAC. If management of the Fund by the NCC is approved by the NCC Board and the foundations, agreements will be executed with all parties outlining the Fund’s provisions.
One provision recommended by the BWAC is for each boll weevil foundation to annually contribute funding amounts of up to 75 cents per planted acre. Another provision will provide for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation to operate the buffer and request
funds annually, as needed, for program operation based on budget requests submitted to the BWAC.
Mark Lange is president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.