MEMPHIS – National Cotton Council Chairman Chuck Coley said that U.S. agriculture will be losing a true champion with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) not running for 2014 re-election.
Coley's response was to Sen. Chambliss's statement today in which he said, "After much contemplation and reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014."
Coley, a Vienna, GA, cotton producer/ginner, said Senator Chambliss has been "extraordinarily responsive to the concerns of production agriculture, including cotton. He has demonstrated a depth of knowledge about production agriculture, conservation, nutrition and research programs as evidenced by his work on the 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2012 farm bills."
Regarding federal farm programs, Coley said Chambliss, who at one time served as chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee, sought to ensure U.S. producers were not harmed by over-reaching statutes governing payment limits and payment eligibility and warehouse storage credits. He led efforts to get much-needed disaster assistance approved. He also worked tirelessly at preventing the passage of legislation governing environmental issues that threatened to undermine agriculture's viability, among them pesticide permitting and greenhouse gas regulations.
Coley noted that Senator Chambliss also intervened on behalf of U.S. cotton in trade negotiations. Specifically, he opposed "early harvest" resolutions in the cotton text of the World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations saying he could not support any resolution of the cotton issue "without the conclusion of an underlying agriculture agreement."
"Senator Chambliss responded to the needs of the entire Cotton Belt and to all U.S. cotton industry segments, including textile manufacturers," Coley said.
Specifically, Senator Chambliss supported continuation in the Senate's 2012 farm bill of the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program for domestic textile manufacturers – recognizing that program's success in revitalizing the U.S. textile manufacturing sector, increasing the cotton consumption by U.S. textile mills and adding jobs to the U.S. economy.