How the 1990 Farm Bill Has Influenced Georgia Cotton and Implications for 1995 and Beyond

W. Donald Shurley


Provisions of the 1990 Farm Bill (The Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990) began with the 1991 crop and will expire with the 1995 crop. The legislation contains new "flex" provisions which allow up to 25 percent of farm base acreage to be planted to other crops. The 1990 Farm Bill continued target price deficiency payment protection and market loan provisions for cotton growers. Cotton growers are also allowed to build base if electing not to participate in any government crop program. Acreage of cotton in Georgia and the southeastern U.S. has increased rapidly since the late 1980's. Under most Georgia conditions, cotton has a competitive advantage on both NFA and OFA flex acres and many growers are building acreage base. Other crop program base flex acres planted to cotton increased almost 30,000 acres in Georgia from 1992 to 1993. Cotton base in the Southeast has increased more rapidly than any of the 4 cotton producing regions. Excluding government payments, cotton has $90 to $100 per acre higher net returns than corn and soybeans. Cotton acreage in Georgia is expected to continue increasing. Any changes in the 1995 Farm Bill are not expected to significantly alter cotton's advantage. An increase in non-payment acres (NFA flex) could result in more cotton acres in Georgia.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 406 - 409
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998