MEMPHIS –The National Cotton Council (NCC) is urging Representatives to vote for the Farm Bill Conference Report when the House considers it on January 29.
NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson said the U.S. cotton industry appreciates the Agriculture Committee for including the cotton industry's proposal and supports enactment of the new legislation. He emphasized that the provisions, which authorize a new crop insurance product tailored to cotton, represent a significant concession and departure from previous programs, but are a necessary and important step in achieving a final resolution of the long-standing Brazil WTO case.
"We especially appreciate the inclusion of a transition program for the 2014 crop year since enactment comes too late for USDA and the private sector to offer the new insurance product until 2015," the South Texas cotton producer said. "We believe the transition program is structured in a fiscally responsible way that both complies with WTO obligations and can be efficiently delivered by USDA."
Dodson also expressed the industry's concern about the inclusion of instructions to the Secretary to propose changes in the criteria used to determine eligibility for commodity programs beginning in 2015 and the further reduction in the Adjusted Gross Income eligibility test. He noted that the re-imposition of limitations on Marketing Loan benefits could disrupt orderly marketing in times of low prices.
"These changes come on the heels of full implementation of the historical changes mandated by the 2008 farm law," Dodson said. "Compliance with ever changing rules is costly and undermines the benefits of effective and predictable farm policy."
He emphasized that "in spite of our serious concerns about the new eligibility rules and limitations, we strongly support the cotton provisions, recommend prompt approval of the conference report and commend the work of the conference leaders and committee members. A viable production agriculture sector is critical to our national security and our economy. This legislation is essential to the stability of production agriculture."