The National Cotton Council’s FY23 federal agriculture appropriations request would support important activities ranging from pest management research to export promotion.
What specific needs did the NCC convey?
Our request to the leadership of the House and Senate appropriations committees’ agriculture subcommittees sought specific funding across USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Farm Service Agency.
The NCC is seeking $15.73 million for the APHIS Cotton Pests Account (a $1 million increase) for aggressively completing boll weevil eradication in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley. Sufficient funding
was requested so the FSA can make up to $30 million in loans to eligible producer-controlled organizations carrying out eradication activities. The NCC requested a $1 million increase directed to ARS for research on cotton seed bug control and level funding for research aimed at controlling cotton blue disease, cotton leafroll dwarf virus and other exotic pathogens.
Among other ARS-related increases sought are: $1.34 million for the cotton genetics lab in Florence, South Carolina, $1.35 million for cotton quality research in New Orleans, Louisiana, $1.4 million for the cotton genetics lab in College Station, Texas, and $2.4 million for building renovations at the College Station-based Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, which houses the valuable ARS cotton germplasm collection. Level funding is sought for the three ARS ginning laboratories to address scientific personnel needs, conduct research, and offset inflation’s impact after years of flat budgets. New funding of $4 million was sought for AMS’ 10 cotton classing offices. This will allow for facility upgrades and automation to enhance the classing system’s efficiency, security and dependability with minimum impact on marketing opportunities.
Export promotion programs a priority?
With the annual value of U.S. cotton fiber and value-added cotton product exports now at $10 billion, the NCC had no reservations in seeking $200 million for USDA’s Market Access Program. Independent studies reveal that for every dollar spent by Cotton Council International as a USDA cooperator in MAP, U.S. cotton exports increase $35. For the U.S. cotton industry, this represents more than one billion dollars in export value. We are also seeking $34.5 million for the Foreign Market Development Program. We believe that program, which requires at least a dollar-for-dollar industry match, greatly supports CCI’s long-term market development and trade servicing programs. CCI’s activities, with help from these two programs, also are an effective catalyst for private sector investments. The industry invests $2 for every dollar CCI receives in MAP funds and $1.75 for every dollar of FMD funds it receives.
These export promotion funding requests also were conveyed to these Congressional leaders by the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports. The Coalition, of which the NCC is a member, pointed out that a recent econometric study conducted by IHS Markit and Texas A&M University showed that public-private U.S. agricultural export market development programs like MAP and FMD are highly effective and generate a substantial return on investment. The full study, the Coalition letter to congressional appropriators, and more information about the value of U.S. agricultural exports are at www.AgExportsCount.org. The NCC’s appropriations request letter is at www.cotton.org/issues/2022/upload/22appropslet.pdf.