MEMPHIS – The National Cotton Council (NCC) has serious reservations regarding the Peterson-(Bob) Goodlatte (R-VA) farm bill package announced by House Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN). It appears extra money is being taken from cotton’s baseline and nothing is being provided in return. Additionally, the changes in payment eligibility and tightening of the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) means test fall disproportionately on cotton producers.
Last spring, the National Cotton Council provided Congress with a 14-point package that better aligned the marketing loan with market signals, improved cotton’s price competitiveness, increased the efficiency of cotton flow and permitted accelerated movement of cotton into the marketplace. The NCC demonstrated how these provisions could be accomplished at no net cost and the components of the package were generally included in the both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill.
The proposed farm bill recently described by Chairman Peterson no longer contains several key provisions sought by the NCC, including assistance to the domestic cotton textile industry. In fact, the proposal reduces cotton loan values by introducing changes to the calculation of Commodity Credit Corporation loan premium and discounts but fails to address associated competitiveness provisions also linked to the loan.
The NCC is urging House and Senate agricultural leadership to work within the parameters of their respective bills, which will result in sound cotton policy.
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 industry’s seven segments’ ability to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.