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Cottonseed Provisions Part of FY18 Ag Appropriations Bill

Several key provisions from the cotton industry’s cottonseed policy initiative are included in the FY18 Agriculture Appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee July 20.

The bill includes report language about adding a cottonseed policy under Title 1 of the 2014 Farm Bill. It also urges USDA to operate the Cotton Ginning Cost Share program beginning with the 2016 crop. Both actions are designed to help provide economic relief to U.S. cotton producers until a new farm bill is in place.

National Cotton Council Chairman Ronnie Lee, a Georgia producer and ginner, said, “The National Cotton Council thanks Chairman Cochran (R-MS) for his strong leadership on this issue to help ensure a cottonseed policy can be included as part of the final agriculture appropriations measure considered by Congress later this year. The cottonseed policy, if enacted, would apply beginning with the 2018 cotton crop – the last year of the current farm bill – and would help address the significant economic challenges currently facing America’s cotton farming families.”

Lee said the NCC also appreciates the support of Senator Leahy (D-VT), vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Senator Hoeven (R-ND), chairman, and Senator Merkley (D-OR), ranking member, of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

“The NCC thanks Chairman Aderholt (R-AL) and Ranking Member Bishop (D-GA) for their support on this language urging USDA to take action to provide near-term support,” Lee stated.

In addition to the cottonseed policy that would be effective for the 2018 crop, the NCC is continuing to work with Congress and the Administration on a Cotton Ginning Cost Share program for the 2016 and subsequent crop years. Letters of endorsement from 26 Senators, 109 Representatives, cotton industry organizations and affiliated agribusinesses were sent to President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue earlier this week, urging USDA to resume the successful program that helps offset growers’ ginning costs.

Both policy initiatives are needed to help U.S. cotton farmers deal with on-going financial stress and bridge the policy gap for cotton until the new farm bill is implemented. With market returns well below total costs of production, cotton producers face global market conditions that are affected by the foreign subsidies, tariffs and trade policies of other countries, and manmade fiber overcapacity.

 

 

Source – National Cotton Council

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