TITLE 4.AGRICULTURE

Part 1. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Chapter 20. COTTON PEST CONTROL

Subchapter C. STALK DESTRUCTION PROGRAM

4 TAC §20.22

The Texas Department of Agriculture (the department) adopts on an emergency basis, amendments to §20.22, concerning the authorized cotton destruction dates for Pest Management Zone 9 (Zone 9).

The department is acting on behalf of cotton farmers in Zone 9. Zone 9 includes Reeves, Pecos, and Ward counties. Currently Zone 9 has no date for cotton stalk destruction. The present emergency rule amendment will establish a cotton stalk destruction deadline of February 1. The department believes that establishing a cotton destruction date is both necessary and appropriate. The emergency amendments are effective only for the 2004 crop year.

After greater than expected insect problems resulted in the zone during the 2003 crop year, the Zone 9 Cotton Producers' Advisory Committee (CPAC) has requested that the department institute a February 1 deadline for crop destruction by shredding in order to avoid significant problems in the 2004 crop year and to further the goal of eradicating the boll weevil and the pink bollworm. As a result, these emergency amendments are necessary for the 2004 crop year. A separate proposal will be published that will effect the same changes on a permanent basis for following years. A failure to enact this cotton destruction deadline could create a significant economic loss both to Texas cotton producers in these areas and to the state's economy.

The emergency amendments to §20.22(a) establish the date for cotton stalk destruction for Zone 9 as February 1, for the 2004 crop season only and provide that the destruction of plants in Zone 9 shall be by shredding. Language referencing tilling requirements for Zone 9 are deleted. While the requirement of tilling to a depth of 2 or more inches has been removed, this does not prevent a producer from tilling the field after shredding has been completed. The department intends to adopt the amendments to 20.22(a) on a permanent basis.

The amendments are adopted on an emergency basis under the Texas Agriculture Code, §74.006, which provides the Texas Department of Agriculture with the authority to adopt rules as necessary for the effective enforcement and administration of Chapter 74, Subchapter A; §74.004, which provides the department with the authority to establish regulated areas, dates and appropriate methods of destruction of stalks, other parts, and products of host plants for cotton pests and provides the department with the authority to consider a request for a cotton destruction extension due to adverse weather conditions; and the Government Code, §2001.34, which provides for the adoption of administrative rules on an emergency basis, without notice and comment.

§20.22.Stalk Destruction Requirements.

(a) Deadlines and methods. All cotton plants in pest management zones 1-8 shall be rendered non-hostable by the stalk destruction dates indicated for the zone. Destruction shall periodically be performed to prevent the presence of fruiting structures. Destruction of all cotton plants in Zone [ Zones ] 9 by shredding and in Zone 10 shall be accomplished by shredding and plowing and completely burying the stalk. Soil should be tilled to a depth of [ 2 or more inches in Zone 9 and to a depth of] 6 or more inches in Zone 10.

Figure: 4 TAC §20.22(a)

(b) - (d) (No change.)

This agency hereby certifies that the emergency adoption has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 16, 2004.

TRD-200400316

Dolores Alvarado Hibbs

Deputy General Counsel

Texas Department of Agriculture

Effective Date: January 16, 2004

Expiration Date: March 30, 2004

For further information, please call: (512) 463-4075