Budget Deal Restores Farm Bill Coverage for Cotton
Cotton is once again a Title I commodity under the Farm Bill.
Critically-needed policy that restores eligibility for cotton in the Title I ARC/PLC programs of the current Farm Bill was part of a supplemental disaster bill included in the new bipartisan budget legislation approved by Congress in the early hours of February 9. President Trump signed the bill into law soon after.
The legislation – which also includes important agricultural disaster assistance, as well as additional support to dairy producers – earned the appreciation of the National Cotton Council and other industry organizations.
“This measure will provide cotton producers and lenders some certainty as they prepare for the 2018 growing season,” NCC Chairman Ronnie Lee said. “The new policy will help ease the financial burden as producers struggle to cover total costs.”
The Georgia cotton producer said the U.S. cotton industry is very appreciative of the strong leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Cochran (R-MS) and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway (R-TX) that made it possible to advance this important policy through the House and Senate. He said the industry also is very grateful for the key support of Representatives Aderholt (R-AL), Bishop (D-GA), Peterson (D-MN) and Arrington (R-TX), and Senators Roberts (R-KS), Cornyn (R-TX), Boozman (R-AR), Shelby (R-AL), Leahy (D-VT), and Stabenow (D-MI).
“Our industry is also thankful for the strong support and commitment to this issue by the Cotton Belt Members in the House and Senate, and the recognition by Congressional leadership that this situation had to be addressed,” Lee stated. “These Members recognized the need for cotton policy that could stabilize our industry. They are keenly aware of the challenging financial situation that American cotton producers and their families have faced and continue to face.”
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., also commended Congress for passage of the budget legislation.
“The Bipartisan Budget Act not only helps our government move forward, but ensures defense funding, which is essential, and incorporates long overdue disaster relief in hurricane-affected areas, among other necessary provisions,” PCG President Johnie Reed said.
“We have worked toward a long-term solution for cotton growers for many years now, and we appreciate our friends in Congress who have been steadfast in their support and understanding of our needs,” Reed said. “This is significant for cotton growers who, for years, have operated without a viable safety net, and this will allow many growers to stay in business.”
The National Cotton Council and other industry groups have worked for more than two years to get stabilizing policy in place in advance of the next farm bill.
“And, we will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to get a new farm bill enacted that will enable America’s farmers and ranchers to continue producing the abundant and affordable food and fiber our nation and world has come to expect,” he said.
Sources – National Cotton Council, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.