MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) strongly supports the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 released today and urges Congress to quickly pass the measure and the President to sign it into law. A new five-year farm bill will bring some much-needed certainty and predictability to the U.S. cotton industry. The continued safety net is especially crucial as many parts of the Cotton Belt have faced devastating natural disasters this growing season, compounding producers’ financial strains from retaliatory trade tariffs on U.S. cotton.
The new farm bill culminates years of work and commitment by Members of Congress and their staff to update and improve current farm policy within the existing budget resources available.
NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a ginner from Plains, Texas, said, "The NCC greatly appreciates the hard work and dedication of Chairmen Conaway (R-TX) and Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Members Peterson (D-MN) and Stabenow (D-MI) and their staff to develop a final farm bill that recognizes the unique policy needs for all crops and regions across the country. Our industry is especially thankful to Chairman Conaway and his team for their leadership in advancing and protecting cotton's priorities in the legislation. In addition to these House and Senate agriculture committee leaders, Cotton Belt Members of Congress helped develop and move the farm bill through the House and Senate, and our industry is extremely grateful for their ongoing support of the cotton industry."
The bill includes many of the cotton industry’s policy priorities – continuation of the Seed Cotton ARC/PLC program, full access to the marketing loan program, full funding for textile competitiveness programs, effective crop insurance products, no reduction in arbitrary payment limits, and addresses overly restrictive family farm eligibility requirements. This adjustment to the 'family definition' for farm programs will help resolve the unintended and punitive restrictions that resulted from the 'actively engaged' changes made by the 2014 farm law and ensure that all family farms are treated equitably. In addition, the bill includes a yield update opportunity for all producers that will better align program yields with current production levels.
"Following Congressional passage and the President’s signature,” Craft stated, “the NCC looks forward to working with Secretary Perdue and the USDA team on timely implementation of this important legislation."