Senate Farm Bill Passes, NCC Expresses Concerns for Cotton
The National Cotton Council (NCC) and Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) commend the U.S. Senate for passing their proposed farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
Yet through the accolades expressed to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow D-MI) of Michigan for successfully moving the policy package through the Senate and gathering the votes to pass the bill – as well as the efforts of all Cotton Belt Senators who worked to defend and improve policies important to the U.S. cotton industry – there are still some concerns for cotton that the industry believes must be addressed in the conference committee with the House farm bill.
In a statement issued following Senate passage, the NCC expressed concerns about funding for the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (EAAP) to help U.S. textile manufacturers stay competitive. Initially eliminated in the farm bill version voted out of the Senate Agriculture Committee, EAAP had only three years of full funding restored in the Senate’s farm bill. The NCC noted the work of Senators Isakson (R-GA), Jones (D-AL), Tillis (R-NC), Burr (R-NC), Graham (R-SC), Boozman (R-AR), Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Perdue (R-GA) for fighting for EAAP restoration and other cotton priorities.
The NCC is also concerned about the addition of an amendment by Senator Grassley (R-IA) that tightens the restrictions on farm management contributions for commodity program eligibility, potentially making the farm law’s safety net less effective.
The NCC considers the House version of the farm bill as more effective in fully addressing the policy needs of the U.S. cotton and textile industries, as well as commercially-viable family farming operations in general.
Now the challenging work begins as the House and Senate versions go to conference committee in July to develop one cohesive farm bill acceptable to Republicans, Democrats and the Administration before current farm legislation expires on September 30.
The NCC, as U.S. cotton’s central organization, looks forward to working with its supporters in the House and Senate throughout the conference committee process to achieve the U.S. cotton industry’s policy priorities in the final legislation.
“We look forward to working with the House and the Senate as the bill goes to the conference committee, and ultimately toward final passage of the farm bill before the expiration of the 2014 Farm Bill in September,” said PCG President Stacy Smith.
Likewise, the NCC intends to move forward with its supporters in the House and Senate through the conference committee process to protect the U.S. cotton industry’s priorities in the final legislation.
Based on information provided by the National Cotton Council and Plains Cotton Growers.