MEMPHIS –The National Cotton Council is pleased that the Senate acted swiftly to approve the Farm Bill Conference Report (Agricultural Act of 2014) and appreciates the leadership provided by Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS). NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson said, “Congress has demonstrated strong bi-partisanship and we urge President Obama to sign this long-awaited bill into law. This measure is fiscally responsible, will help our nation’s farmers manage risk, and provide them with stability so they can continue providing Americans with safe, abundant and affordable food and fiber. Without a doubt, a strong production agriculture sector is essential to our nation’s security and economic well-being.”
The South Texas cotton producer said this comprehensive five-year farm bill includes provisions important to the U.S. cotton industry’s viability. That includes authorization of a new crop insurance product tailored to cotton production and the inclusion of a transition program for the 2014 crop year as enactment comes too late for USDA and the private sector to offer the new insurance product until 2015. He said these provisions also are an important step in achieving a final resolution of the long-standing Brazil World Trade Organization case.
Dodson reiterated industry concerns over inclusion of instructions to the Secretary to propose changes in the management and labor criteria used to determine eligibility for commodity programs, which begins in 2015, and the further reduction in the Adjusted Gross Income eligibility test, effective in 2014. He noted the re-imposition of limitations on marketing loan benefits could disrupt orderly marketing in times of low prices.