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Cotton’s Agenda

Exerting Extra Effort

During 2015, the National Cotton Council worked diligently to encourage the implementation of sound farm programs while managing numerous trade and regulatory issues that threaten to undermine industry competitiveness. What about the farm law and trade matters? The NCC helped convince policy makers to implement the 2014 farm law’s insurance provisions beginning with the 2015 crop. We worked closely with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to improve the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) provisions for the 2016 crop year. Based on those discussions, RMA recently announced several key STAX modifications for 2016, among them: 1) allowing producers to elect a zero percent coverage range by practice; 2) allowing written agreements that affect insurable acreage to apply to STAX; and 3) making STAX coverage available for cottonseed through an optional endorsement. NCC staff and industry officials also coordinated with USDA to ensure the marketing loan program would allow cotton redemption from the loan at the adjusted world price to minimize disruption of flow and forfeitures. Equally important was getting USDA to implement a reporting and tracking system so producers and cooperatives could know their status relative to the unified payment limit. The NCC worked on multiple trade concerns. We helped defeat potentially damaging amendments to the cotton and textile industries during Congressional consideration of Trade Promotion Authority. During the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, we insisted that a yarn forward rule of origin be required for products granted preferential access to the U.S. market. Read More »

Recognize the Realities

gary adams, ncc

What is the primary concern? The World Trade Organization (WTO) failed to meet the July 31, 2015 deadline to agree on a work program for the WTO Ministerial scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya in December. However, there have been repeated comments from numerous countries and WTO officials for there to be “something more” done on cotton policy at this meeting. Thus, the NCC has engaged with U.S. trade officials at the WTO in Geneva and in Washington, as well as with Congress, to ensure U.S. trade negotiators maintain a firm commitment not to accept any further restrictions on U.S. cotton policy. Did you testify before Congress? Gary Adams testifies NCC President/CEO Gary Adams testified that other countries’ agriculture and trade policies threaten U.S. cotton’s viability. In mid-October, I testified at a House Agriculture Committee hearing on “Foreign Subsidies: Jeopardizing Free Trade and Harming American Farmers.” The Committee wanted to further explore the trade-distorting tools that some countries are using and the detrimental impact on American farmers. I told the Committee that U.S. cotton farmers are indeed competing with international farmers who are benefitting from higher support levels. I cited a recent International Cotton Advisory Committee report that estimated average direct assistance to cotton production across all countries at $0.26 per pound – but only $0.07 per pound average support for U.S. cotton production. The NCC opposes any efforts to further limit U.S. cotton policy in the WTO’s upcoming Ministerial. Read More »

Winning The War

gary adams, ncc

The National Cotton Council (NCC) is confident persistence will pay off when industry members pursue a zero tolerance goal regarding contamination of seed cotton and lint. Why is contamination such a threat? The NCC believes contamination prevention is so important that we are re-establishing our Quality Task Force to monitor ongoing quality issues and stay abreast of all reported contamination ... Read More »

Raising The Profile

gary adams, ncc

Cotton Council International (CCI), the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) export promotions arm, conducts a wide array of activities to help raise U.S. cotton’s global profile with the ultimate goal of enabling the fiber to command a premium in the world marketplace. What is CCI’s specific mission? CCI, whose reach extends to more than 50 countries through 17 offices worldwide, uses ... Read More »

Protecting Pollinators

gary adams, ncc

The National Cotton Council (NCC) continues to urge the use of scientific research and local solutions, such as state pollinator plans, as ways to improve pollinator health. Why is this action necessary? As directed by President Obama’s 2014 memo, a Pollinator Health Task Force recently released “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.” Goals identified ... Read More »

Conveying Concerns

The National Cotton Council (NCC) continues to monitor 2014 farm law implementation and provide USDA with input for ensuring that the legislation’s final rules do not undermine U.S. cotton’s competitiveness. How are payment limits being implemented? ■ The farm bill institutes a unified $125,000 payment limit applying to Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage payments, as well as marketing ... Read More »

Continuous Improvement

gary adams, ncc

How has U.S. cotton’s environmental footprint improved in recent years? A large and reliable supply of quality lint is required to help U.S. cotton compete for market share among other fibers, including man-made. Today, though, proof of responsible production is needed to satisfy many leading apparel brands, retailers and manufacturers. Fortunately, environmental gains by U.S. cotton producers over the past 30 years have been well established by USDA and other third parties. Consider: compared to 30 years ago, soil loss has declined 68 percent; water use (irrigation) decclined 75 percent; energy use is 31 percent less; and greenhouse gas emissions are 22 percent less. Productivity, though, has improved substantially. U.S. cotton farmers only need two-thirds of the land required 30 years ago to produce an equivalent amount of cotton. Much of this improvement can be attributed to U.S. cotton producers’ annual $50 million contribution to agricultural research. Read More »