MEMPHIS – National Cotton Council leaders welcome Senate passage of farm legislation and applaud Senators Chambliss (R-GA) and Lincoln (D-AR) for convincing their colleagues to reject amendments that would have unraveled legislation which includes significant improvements and reform.
NCC Chairman John Pucheu, a Tranquillity, CA producer, said, “the industry is deeply appreciative to Senators Chambliss and Lincoln and their colleagues for developing legislation that will continue to provide all segments of the cotton industry with an effective, budget responsible safety net which includes improvements to enhance competitiveness, assist domestic manufacturers and allow commercially viable operations to participate. It is certainly a compliment to the Committee that the legislation was approved by the widest bipartisan margin in recent history 79-14.”
The legislation includes provisions which make responsible reforms to payment limitations. It is important that the Senate confirmed the significance of those reforms and rejected efforts to radically change those provisions by significantly lowering limits, undermining the value of the non-recourse loan as an orderly marketing tool, and modifying the Adjusted Gross Income test in a way that would have denied benefits to full time farmers.
The Senate also rejected an amendment to replace balanced, effective commodity programs with a revenue insurance program that is unworkable for diversified operations in the Sunbelt.
American Cotton Producers Chairman Jay Hardwick, a Newellton, LA producer, said, “growers and their bankers are grateful that Senators Chambliss’ and Lincoln’s efforts preserved responsible reform and improvements and resulted in the rejection of unworkable proposals that were clearly detrimental to Sunbelt growers. We are also pleased that the Senate has produced a balanced package that provided significant financial resources to conservation, nutrition, research, international market development and energy programs.”
NCC Vice Chairman Larry McClendon, a Marianna, Arkansas producer/ginner said, “we look forward to working closely with members of the House-Senate conference committee and encourage them to move expeditiously to produce legislation that will preserve responsible reform and improvements and to send the legislation to the President for his signature so farmers and ranchers have a predictable and effective long-term policy in place.”
As the unifying force of the U.S. cotton industry, the Memphis-based National Cotton Council brings together industry representatives from the 17 cotton-producing states to establish policies reflecting the common interests and promoting mutual benefits for its broad membership and ancillary industries. The U.S. cotton industry provides employment for some 440,000 Americans and generates more than $120 billion in annual economic activity.
The NCC’s mission is ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.