The FY18 Agriculture Appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee includes a number of key provisions from the industry’s cottonseed proposal to help provide economic relief to cotton producers until a new farm bill is in place.
A summary of the bill’s cottonseed provisions is in a Committee news release.
National Cotton Council Chairman Ronnie Lee, a Georgia produce, 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 FY18 House Agriculture Appropriations bill includes report language regarding a cottonseed policy and urges USDA to operate the Cotton Ginning Cost Share program beginning for the 2016 crop.
“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 2017 crop years.
Both policy initiatives are needed to help U.S. cotton farmers deal with the ongoing 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, as well as man-made fiber overcapacity.
A letter from 26 Senators and a letter from 109 Representatives sent to the President and Agriculture Secretary Perdue this week both asked that USDA restarts the Cotton Ginning Cost Share program, initially operated for the 2015 crop, for the 2016 crop.