Farm Policy/Legislative Affairs

Legislative Affairs

Major activities carried out during 2011.

Farm Legislation

Early in 2011, NCC Chairman Charles Parker met with Congressional Members and officials with USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. He stressed that NCC members supported the 2008 farm law but were conducting economic analysis and looking carefully at any new proposals for revenue or insurance products. Parker, joined by NCC President/CEO Mark Lange and NCC Senior Vice President John Maguire, also met with several freshman members of the House Agriculture Committee, including Stephen Fincher (R-TN), a cotton producer. Those Members advised the NCC to be critically assessing alternatives in the delivery of a farm safety net.

parker conaway

NCC Chairman Charles Parker met with key Congressional Members and USDA/USTR officials regarding what cotton would need in new farm law.

At its Mid-Year meeting, the NCC's Board approved an upland cotton policy position for the 2012 farm bill in response to the challenges of deficit reduction and cotton program changes that would resolve the longstanding World Trade Organization (WTO) Brazil case. In recommending this adjustment to the current cotton program, the U.S. cotton industry said it would 1) strengthen growers' ability to manage risk by making an affordable revenue-based crop insurance program available for purchase and 2) be complemented by a modified marketing loan that is adjusted to satisfy the Brazil case. The industry believed this safety net structure would best utilize reduced budget resources and respond to public criticism by directing benefits to growers who suffer losses resulting from factors beyond their control.

NCC Vice Chairman Chuck Coley joined American Cotton Producers Chairman Jimmy Dodson in meetings with members of the House and Senate agriculture committees in Washington, DC, to explain the rationale behind and details of the NCC's proposed "Stacked Income Protection Program." The producer leaders were joined in the meetings by Lange, Maguire and Gary Adams, the NCC's vice president, Economics & Policy Analysis. The NCC proposal also was presented to officials of USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative office in preparation for scheduled quarterly meetings with Brazilian officials conducted as part of the Framework Agreement.

Late in the year, the NCC commended the House and Senate agriculture committees for their diligent efforts in crafting a farm policy recommendation that included the STAXproposal and delivering it to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Unfortunately, the joint committee was not able to reach an agreement on a debt reduction package.

In other farm program activity:

The NCC submitted comments to the USDA Risk Management Agency's (RMA) proposed rule for a Good Producer Refund (GPR) and worked with RMA on the final rule preparation. In its comments, the NCC noted, for example, that the proposed rule would seem to be of most benefit to homogenous operations in very low risk areas of the country. The provision to only allow one loss in a ten-year period to be eligible for the refund would make it almost impossible for producers of large and especially diversified operations to be eligible for the refund.

ACP Chairman Jimmy Dodson told a Farm Foundation forum that risk management tools, particularly crop insurance, "are extremely important to cotton producers." He was a panelist on a discussion of "The Future Role of the Federal Government in Agricultural Risk Management" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


The NCC’s Conservation in Cotton Production portal, available at, includes in-depth information such as financial and technical assistance needed for maintaining/adopting such practices as this windstrip.

The NCC encouraged interested producers to visit NCC's Conservation in Cotton Production website,, which includes a short informational video on the Conservation Stewardship Program and a one page program fact sheet.  

Legislative Affairs

The NCC joined other agriculture groups on a letter to the House Appropriations Committee's chairman and ranking member expressing concern that the proposed cuts to agriculture were disproportionate in H.R. 1, the FY11 Continuing Resolution. They said H.R. 1 would cut $5.21 billion, or 22.4 percent, from agriculture-related programs and operating budgets during the remaining seven months of FY11 -- more than double the 10.3 percent cut proposed in overall non-defense discretionary spending.

The NCC later issued a press statement saying it was deeply concerned by the extent of the cuts to commodity, conservation and nutrition programs proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). The statement said the cuts represent 20 percent of the funding baseline for agricultural programs over the next 10 years, and come on top of $6 billion in cuts resulting from the renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement in 2010. NCC Chairman Parker noted in the statement that agriculture consistently has acknowledged that deficit reduction is a shared responsibility with the expectation that other programs will make equivalent reductions.

The NCC also joined with 21 other agricultural and commodity organizations on a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NC) expressing strong opposition to the inclusion of cuts to current farm bill and crop insurance mandatory funding in any compromise package on FY11 appropriations.

The NCC also issued a statement saying it strongly opposed amendments to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill that (1) rewrite provisions of the 2008 farm bill and (2) violate a government-to-government agreement established between the United States and Brazil. The statement came after the House Appropriations Committee accepted on a voice vote an amendment by Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that would prohibit any farm program payments being made to eligible individuals or entities with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $250,000. If enacted, this new test would have become effective on October 1, 2011, and replaced the adjusted gross income tests in the 2008 farm law. The Committee did accept an amendment by Rep. Flake to reduce direct payments on cotton base by $147 million to repay the Commodity Credit Corporation for payments made to the Brazilian Cotton Institute as part of a Framework Agreement between the United States and Brazil.

Later, the House rejected a series of amendments to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would have severely compromised the cotton program by amending the '08 farm law two years before it is scheduled to expire.This included the payment eligibility amendment by Representative Flake and his amendment that would have terminated counter-cyclical payments for upland cotton, prohibited repayment of cotton marketing assistance loans at the adjusted world price or issuance of loan deficiency payments for upland cotton and would have prohibited cotton storage payments.


A NCC statement said a blatant circumvention of the farm program development process was avoided with defeat of a FY12 ag appropriations bill amendment that targeted cotton specifically.

The NCC issued a statement saying that a blatant and inappropriate circumvention of the farm program development process was avoided with the defeat of the amendment that "would have targeted cotton specifically and undermined a critical safety net for cotton farmers who face uncertain economic and weather climates and seriously jeopardized an industry that makes significant contributions to our nation's economic well-being."

The NCC also joined with 132 other farm organizations on a letter to President Obama, House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) expressing strong opposition to any deficit reduction package that would disproportionately affect U.S. farmers/ranchers and rural America -- noting particular concern with the depth/timing of cuts to agricultural policies reportedly being considered for inclusion in legislation to increase the debt limit. When negotiations bogged down, the NCC joined 33 other organizations on a letter to President Obama and House and Senate leaders seeking prompt action on the debt ceiling/deficit reduction negotiations that did not require disproportionate cuts in agriculture and related programs.

Late into the year, the NCC monitored the Senate's plan to begin combining unfinished annual spending bills into packages in order to complete work on FY12 appropriations measures ahead of the November 18 expiration of the Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the federal government. There was concern over the introduction of damaging amendments similar to those introduced when the House Appropriations Committee was considering the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

After LightSquared Inc. announced plans to build "the nation's first wholesale-only, mobile broadband network," the NCC became very active in the Save Our GPS coalition with global positioning system (GPS) manufacturers, farm equipment companies and agricultural organizations. The coalition monitored legislation that could infringe upon the bandwidth used by agricultural GPS, affect the accuracy upon which precision agriculture applications depend and seriously compromise its overall effectiveness. The NCC submitted a coalition letter to the Federal Communications Commission emphasizing the need to fully test new filters proposed to reduce interference, determine the cost of retrofitting existing GPS devices with the new filters and determine who would be responsible for paying for retrofits. The NCC also co-sponsored a briefing for Congressional staff to educate them regarding the risks of moving forward with LightSquared's proposal without properly vetting their technology and suggested remedial measures.

In other activities, the NCC:

mississippi river flooding

The NCC worked to gain clarification for crop insurance indemnity eligibility for flooded cropland as a result of the Mississippi River levee breaches.
  • corresponded frequently with Congress urging lawmakers to act to approve legislation to repeal 1099 information reporting requirements. The NCC emphasized that businesses need to know that they would not be required to maintain burdensome and expensive records -- including having to report information to the IRS on payments for goods of $600 or more annually to other businesses. Later, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4, the "Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011."
  • joined onto a letter with 11 other agricultural and commodity organizations to Senators urging them to co-sponsor S.700, which would amend the tax code to permanently establish a five-year depreciation schedule for agricultural equipment placed in service after December 31, 2009. The bill was introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
  • posted on its website a Risk Management Agency bulletin addressing questions regarding crop insurance coverage for flooding that resulted from the Corps of Engineers' actions to relieve pressure on the Mississippi River Levee system in Missouri. The NCC also worked with RMA regarding a similar Corps' action for the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana. The NCC urged its producer members to contact local Farm Service Agency offices to determine what assistance may be available from disaster declarations (from flooding or drought).
  • coalesced with eight other agricultural organizations in support of the Agricultural Trade Facilitation Act, introduced by Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA), that would establish Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) negotiating objectives for the on-going Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
  • reiterated its support for the expanded availability and proposed improvements of area-wide revenue and yield insurance productsin its comments to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation regarding Area Risk Protection Insurance.
  • continued discussions with USDA regarding estimates for U.S. mill use in the absence of the U.S. Commerce Department reports.
  • welcomed the successful mark-up of the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2011 by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee – as an opportunity for U.S. textile manufacturers' customers to expand exports of value-added products containing U.S. cotton.