On cotton and STAX…

“I think that STAX does work well for some cotton producers, especially for dryland cotton producers. I have some dryland cotton myself and it’ll work well in those areas.

“But we’ve mitigated a lot of risk due to irrigation. This is not as good a safety net as we’ve had in the past.

“Also, when you couple that with some of the provisions inside this bill – especially when you add in the AGI and ‘actively engaged’ when you have landlords to take care of – it really dilutes the safety net of even the STAX program.”

On minimum reference price for rice being set at $13 per cwt. and minimum reference price for peanuts set at $530 per ton…

“What we have to focus on is what can be done to make this work for southern agriculture. When it gets to the Senate floor, we’ve got to be very actively engaged…

“When we talk about a good marketing loan program with rates that better reflect current marketing prices and also a target price that better reflects where we are in the market, then a counter-cyclical payment that will help provide and take care of some of the loss that has come from direct payments. Those are some of the issues we have to look at.

“They keep talking about crop insurance or risk management tools that are also revenue-based. What we’re looking at now does not work for most of southern agriculture, especially rice. We have to look at changes in those to make them work better.

“I know a lot of this works well for the Midwest. That’s great. But we must be more diverse, more flexible and provide some kind of safety net for southern agriculture.

“I also want to say that in dealing with the … $13 per hundredweight … depends a lot on what it’s based on. If it’s on actual planted acres and bushels you’re producing, then that’s where we have to be. But if you’re going to cut that by 85 percent, or so, of your acreage – and it could be even lower than that if you go by base acreage – and an Olympic average on yields, the way it’s figured will make a huge difference. If you use some kind of formula like that, that $13 eventually gets down to about $10 when you’re not on actual planted acres and yields.”

On plans for southern state Farm Bureaus from here…

“We’ll be working closely with (Arkansas) Sen. Boozman and Sen. Mark Pryor in trying to work out some changes in the bill on the floor.

“Historically, the farm bill has been written in the House. This is kind of a change that the Senate would come out of committee with a bill before the House. Usually, the House puts together a bill and the Senate tweaks that and makes changes.

“We’ll be actively engaged and will (travel) to Washington if we need to. We’ll be working with our senators like the other southern states will work with theirs. If we need to be there, we will be there testifying or whatever is needed…

“We’ll also be working hard to get the House bill to provide some kind of safety net. (Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee) has committed to us one-on-one and in the media to a safety net that covers all commodities in all regions. I believe the House version will provide a choice for farmers, price protection programs, and will focus on commodities and regional differences. That’s what we’re looking for out of the House.

“Then, hopefully, we can improve the Senate (version) and make changes that will provide a safety net for southern agriculture. Hopefully, we’ll be successful there.”

Anything else?

“Right now, I’m applying urea fertilizer and paying $800 per ton. Energy costs are high. We’re looking at extremely high input costs.

“Again, we mitigate a lot of risk through irrigation. So, we have an extra input cost that, for the most part, the Midwest doesn’t have. That’s one of the regional differences we keep talking about.”

For more farm bill coverage, see here.