MEMPHIS – National Cotton Council Chairman Larry McClendon expressed gratitude for the House of Representatives’ overwhelming approval of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 and urged a similar strong showing in the Senate.
In calling for President Bush to reconsider a veto of the bill, McClendon said, “Enacting this new farm legislation will provide a predictable safety net for farmers and their lenders. Farmers are planting their 2008 crops in the midst of high input costs. Although commodity prices are good, markets are extremely volatile and there’s never a guarantee the weather will cooperate. Farmers always will face an inordinate amount of risk, but this legislation helps mitigate that unpredictability.”
The Arkansas producer/ginner said the U.S. cotton industry is extremely appreciative to Cotton Belt Representatives who have worked tirelessly to ensure the new legislation included the industry’s priorities to maintain an effective safety-net; enhance market orientation and competitiveness; assist domestic manufacturers and minimize counter-productive limitations on program eligibility.
“In conjunction with the Senate, members of the House agriculture committee demonstrated extraordinary diligence in crafting a sound piece of legislation that will provide stability to U.S. agriculture and continue the safe, affordable and secure supply of food and fiber for all Americans,” McClendon said. “We urge enactment of this multi-year bill, which will provide far more certainty than a potential extension of current legislation. In the current environment, we believe this is the best possible bill for production agriculture.”
Assuming the President carries through on the veto, McClendon also stressed the need for a strong vote next week in both the House and Senate in order to override the veto.
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 seven industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad. The Memphis-based organization 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.