The National Cotton Council is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to approve the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, without damaging amendments to farm policy.
NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, ginner, says the legislation, recently approved by the House Agriculture Committee, includes critically important policies for cotton producers and the entire U.S. cotton industry. He notes that although budget constraints did not allow all of cotton’s priorities to be included, the Agriculture Committee is to be commended for its work.
“Cotton producers rely on the certainty and predictability of farm law to obtain the financing necessary for capital investments and annual crop production,” Craft says. “Without strong commodity and crop insurance policies underpinning U.S. agriculture, lenders would be reluctant to provide financing to an industry operating at the mercy of weather extremes and volatile global market prices.”
He says that a strong farm bill also supports a healthy and thriving rural economy that includes cotton gins, warehouses, marketing coops and merchants to market the crop, cottonseed handlers, and textile manufacturers. Currently, the 20,000 U.S. cotton farms and other cotton businesses employ 126,000 people and generate more than $21 billion in annual revenue.
“The current trade tensions further underscore the importance of having a strong, predictable farm policy,” Craft says. “Cotton is heavily export dependent, and this Farm Bill continues important policies to help U.S. cotton producers compete in a highly competitive global marketplace.”