MEMPHIS -- The National Cotton Council (NCC) congratulated House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for their success in moving new farm legislation through the Committee with no significant changes and with a strong bipartisan vote (35-11) to recommend the legislation to the full House.
The NCC is especially grateful to the Committee for including the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) with provisions consistent with the industry's proposal and the new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) enhancement to crop insurance in the final package. The NCC also commended the Committee for not accepting any amendments to further restrict program eligibility, reduce payment limitations or impose limitations on marketing loan benefits.
NCC Chairman Chuck Coley said, "In an environment where a single piece of equipment costs in excess of $650,000 and where price volatility requires access to capital and risk management tools, our growers and their lenders need the certainty that they will be eligible for programs without regard to organizational structure or income."
Coley also expressed appreciation to Committee leaders and members for addressing the interests of the entire cotton industry by including provisions to assist U.S. textile manufacturers, extending the marketing loan and adjusted world price redemption process, extending the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program that provide seed money for important promotion programs, and extending the extra-long staple program.
In underscoring the bill's importance, the Georgia producer said, "Given the diversity of U.S. agriculture, we are pleased that the legislation reported by the Committee provides choices that offer a balanced safety net for all commodities and regions while facilitating market-driven cropping and marketing decisions."
While acknowledging the daunting challenge of maintaining a reasonable safety net given current budget constraints, Coley also commended the Committee's cotton provisions for providing a basis to resolve the long-standing Brazil WTO case.
Coley said, "We commend the Committee leaders and the members of the Committee for acting in a timely way to move this important legislation to the next step. We urge the House leaders to promptly schedule time for the House to consider and pass the legislation reported by the Agriculture Committee. The rural economy is one of the few bright spots and it is essential that long term policy be enacted before the expiration of current law to allow farmers and agribusinesses to plan for the future. We look forward to working with the House leadership to move the bill reported by the Committee."