“If you hold it, they will come.” That paraphrase seems to describe the series of farm bill educational meetings conducted by The National Cotton Council, the USA Rice Federation and the land-grant universities over the last month.
In all, the NCC had more than 4,000 persons attend the 49 sessions it held from Feb. 25 to March 25 in every state in the Cotton Belt. Attendance ranged from a low of around 50 to a high of 250 growers at one meeting in Lubbock, Texas. USA Rice held some meetings in conjunction with the NCC and others alone.
Each of the meetings drew dozens of questions ranging from procedures for reallocating bases under the new law to how soon USDA might release the county average yields and payment schedules for the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) or Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) programs.
The NCC’s best guess for the latter is within the next 90 days. NCC staff members said they plan to conduct another round of meetings in the fall when more details such as the premium costs are available.
PETE DUNN, left, and Ann Ruscoe, Diversified Crop Insurance of Clarksdale, Miss., visit with Chip Morgan, executive vice president of the Delta Council; and Bobby Carson, producer from Marks, Miss., at a farm bill meeting in Clarksdale. Delta Council helped sponsor the series of educational meetings in the Delta.
ELLINGTON MASSEY, left, Rudyard, Miss.; Sledge Taylor, Como, Miss.; and Abbott Myers, Tunica, Miss., were among producers attending a farm bill meeting in Clarksdale, Miss. Taylor is vice chairman of the National Cotton Council, which conducted the meeting along with the USA Rice Federation.
MARK LANGE, left, president and CEO of the National Cotton Council, and Walker Sturdivant, producer from Greenwood, Miss., discuss one of the provisions in the Agriculture Act of 2014 following a farm bill meeting conducted jointly by the NCC and the USA Rice Federation in Indianola, Miss.
STEELE ROBBINS, left, instructor at Mississippi Delta Community College, visits with Reece Langley, vice president for government affairs at the USA Rice Federation, following a farm bill education meeting in Indianola, Miss.
TRAVIS SATTERFIELD, left, producer from Benoit, Miss., and John Rodgers Brashier, producer from Indianola, Miss., share a laugh following a farm bill meeting in Indianola. Brashier moderated the session.
BOWEN FLOWERS, left, producer from Clarksdale, Miss.; Bobby Carson, grower from Marks, Miss.; Mark Lange, president and CEO of the National Cotton Council; and Obie Easley, executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency office in Coahoma County, Miss., discuss the Agriculture Act of 2014’s provisions following a farm bill meeting in Clarksdale. Flowers, chairman of the American Cotton Producers, moderated the meeting.
MARK LANGE, left, president and CEO of the National Cotton Council, and Walker Sturdivant, producer from Greenwood, Miss., ponder a question from Dan Branton, producer and for Delta Council president from Leland, Miss., at a farm bill meeting in Indianola, Miss.
KEVIN BRINKLEY, left, vice president, marketing and business development for The SEAM in Memphis, Tenn., visits with Steve Celinsky, economist with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in Memphis, following a farm bill education meeting at the Memphis AgriCenter.
JIMMY FULLEN, left, producer from Ripley, Tenn., talks with Bill King with L.P. Brown Co., in Memphis, Tenn., following a farm bill educational meeting at the Memphis Agricenter.
SHANE STEPHENS, left, vice president, Staplcotn, Greenville, Miss.; talks with Gary Adams, vice president for economics and farm policy at the National Cotton Council, following Adams’ presentation on the new farm bill at the Memphis, Tenn., Agricenter.