The National Cotton Council’s 2015 activities were focused on effective farm law implementation and managing numerous trade and regulatory issues. Integral to those efforts was extensive communication with Congress and the Administration through meetings and numerous letters, many by way of various coalitions.
Regarding the farm law, the NCC was committed to convincing policy makers that the legislation’s insurance provisions must be implemented with the 2015 crop. That included the Stacked Income Protection Plan’s availability – with key improvements for 2016. Work with USDA was aimed at ensuring the marketing loan program would allow cotton redemption from the loan at the adjusted world price to minimize disruption of flow and forfeitures. Equally important was the NCC’s work with USDA to implement a reporting and tracking system so producers and cooperatives can know their status relative to the unified payment limit.
Actions to affect legislative outcomes were prolific. For example, the NCC was very engaged with Congress on efforts to pass a multi-year surface transportation bill and we pushed hard for a permanent or long-term tax extenders bill that would restore the $500,000 Section 179 expensing and 50 percent bonus depreciation provisions. Similarly, total involvement in the federal appropriations process was necessary primarily to 1) oppose any amendments that would reduce funding for agricultural programs or adversely affect farm policy and crop insurance and 2) secure funding for the cotton industry’s other priority programs.
On the trade front, the NCC worked closely with the National Council of Textile Organizations to defeat amendments of concern to the cotton and textile industries during Congressional consideration of Trade Promotion Authority. As the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations concluded, the NCC supported the textile industry’s efforts by urging the U.S. Trade Representative to insist that a yarn forward rule of origin be required for products granted preferential access to the U.S. market. The NCC also continued 1) heavy involvement in the Turkish anti-dumping investigation and 2) close communication with the Administration and Congressional leadership to ensure that U.S. trade negotiators defended U.S. cotton and not agree to any further concessions in advance of the World Trade Organization December 2015 ministerial meeting.
The NCC was active on numerous regulatory issues. On the critical “waters of the U.S. rule,” for example, the NCC: 1) submitted extensive comments to the EPA/Corps of Engineers proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule, 2) supported legislation that would prohibit these agencies from moving forward with that rule and 3) testified before a House Agriculture Committee subcommittee to emphasize that the proposed rule would require costly federal permits for many essential farming practices. The NCC worked on many other regulatory matters ranging from fuel spill prevention to food labeling.
Cotton Council International’s many activities this past year ranged from a successful Orientation Tour to the launch of “I Love My Cotton,” a new global advertising campaign which inspired consumers and further spread U.S. cotton’s benefits to markets worldwide. CCI helped the industry with a unique opportunity to increase U.S. raw cotton’s global visibility when it granted licenses to several U.S. bale packaging firms to imprint the COTTON USA logo on their packaging materials for use on U.S. bales ginned during the 2015-16 season.
Strong support of The Cotton Foundation continued, enabling the 501(c) (3) institution to fund 20 general research projects totaling $320,000 for 2015-16. Approved projects included studies related to pest management, sustainability, pollinator protection, fiber quality, agronomic practices and education.
More details of the NCC’s 2015 activities are described below under the major headings of Farm Policy, Trade, Communications, Technical, Cotton Council International and The Cotton Foundation.
President/Chief Executive Officer