U.S. Cotton Encouraged By Conferees’ Farm Bill Budget Allocation
NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood said the U.S. cotton industry is pleased that the House/Senate Farm Bill Conferees reached an agreement on the budget allocation between the commodity titles and will continue to press for industry priorities in the final package.
"This is an important step that moves the conference process toward completion of a farm bill for the 2002 crop and beyond," the Gunnison, MS, producer said.
Hood’s statement was in response to yesterday’s announcement by the Conference’s lead negotiators -- Representatives Larry Combest (R-TX) and Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) and Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) – that an agreement had been reached on the needed framework to speed negotiations for early April completion of the House-Senate Conference Report on a farm bill that fits within the $73.5 billion, agreed-upon 10-year structure.
"We believe the spending authority between titles is balanced and fairly allocated," Hood said, "and the $46 billion for the commodity provisions will allow sufficient funds to provide for an improved safety net similar to what was approved in the House version of the farm bill."
Gaylon Booker, NCC president and chief executive officer, said U.S. cotton’s central organization also is encouraged that conference committee leadership instructed staff to develop consensus between the two bills with the goal of having a potential bill for consideration by the conferees when they return April 9.
Hood emphasized that now that the conferees have reached an agreement on the budget guidelines, the NCC will continue to press for inclusion of the industry’s priorities in the final package.
"That includes working for a bill that does not contain unnecessary and damaging provisions that would further limit payments or target benefits," Hood said.
The Memphis-based NCC has a mission of ensuring the ability of all U.S. cotton industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and manufactured product markets at home and abroad.