Ensuring U.S. cotton's viability in 2012 required the National Cotton Council (NCC) to manage a wide range of issues, from the farm bill to pollinator protection. Of course, our foremost priorities this past year focused on the farm bill, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Brazil case, agricultural appropriations, international contract defaults and the more recent Peruvian countervailing duty investigation.
A major goal was to see the adoption of comprehensive, balanced, long-term farm policy. That involved work with the agriculture community and Congress, where House and Senate hearings enabled us to advocate STAX inclusion as an effective risk management program and one that demonstrated our industry's commitment to permanently resolve the Brazil case. We voiced opposition to Congressional efforts to further restrict or deny program eligibility based on size or income. NCC testimony also emphasized the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program's importance to the U.S. textile industry.
Although no new farm bill was passed in 2012, the NCC continued monitoring its development into 2013. We were not sure how, if any, the farm bill process would be affected by the 2012 elections. The elections did not change which party controls the White House, House or Senate but brought changes to the 113th Congress' composition and to key committees – changes that will affect the Cotton Belt.
The NCC efforts on the farm bill necessitated timely communication to NCC members. That included escalated use of our website, www.cotton.org, where a 2012 Farm Bill section was created for posting numerous farm bill documents ranging from talking points to testimony.
On the trade front, after indications of possible re-engagement of the Doha negotiating agenda, the NCC reiterated that the U.S. cotton industry would push that any changes to cotton provisions must be part of and not in advance of an overall, comprehensive agreement. The NCC also worked intently to achieve a successful outcome to the countervailing duty case in Peru.
The NCC was engaged in multiple regulatory and environmental issues, among them the clean water act permits, pollinator protection, farm dust regulation and the endangered species act mega-suit.
As always, the NCC worked to improve U.S. cotton's reputation. Included in that effort were the NCC's issuance of a "Contamination Prevention Alert" and distribution of a bulletin/poster. The aim was to encourage industry members and their employees to pay particular attention to contamination prevention during the 2012 harvest season.
Such initiatives enabled Cotton Council International's (CCI) global demand-building activities to better capitalize on U.S. cotton's status in the global marketplace. CCI's message about the U.S. cotton industry's continued commitment to quality and timely delivery was reinforced in numerous meetings with representatives of our largest customer during a leadership exchange trip to China. The CCI-supported biennial Sourcing USA Summit also was particularly beneficial in promoting U.S. cotton fiber exports. Strong industry and government support in 2012 leaves CCI poised to elevate U.S. cotton's position further in the global cotton supply chain while providing superior service to U.S. cotton's customers.
The Cotton Foundation heightened its commitment to cotton research and education as its Trustees approved $361,242 to fund 25 general research projects for 2012-13. Approved work included studies related to pest management, herbicide resistance, fiber quality, agronomic practices and education. A new Foundation special project supported by a Monsanto grant – the Emerging Leaders Program – will boost our efforts at ensuring the U.S. cotton industry benefits from a continuity of sound leadership.
|C.B. "Chuck" Coley
President/Chief Executive Officer