The National Cotton Council has actively conveyed to Congress and the Administration its priorities for a meaningful farm bill — one with an effective safety net and comprehensive risk management tools.
How has the NCC communicated priorities this year?
The NCC, as well as many national/regional cotton organizations, joined 400 other agriculture groups on a letter to the House and Senate budget committees’ leadership requesting sufficient budgetary resources to write a new bipartisan, multi-year, comprehensive and meaningful farm bill.
Earlier this year, the NCC, along with more than 50 other agricultural associations, sent a letter to Administration leaders and to leadership of the House and Senate budget and appropriations committees, urging them to protect crop insurance programs from any cuts during this year’s appropriations process. The letter noted that with ongoing weather events and market disruptions, it is as important as ever to protect the rural safety net.
What are some more recent actions?
Throughout the year, NCC staff has been educating dozens of new Congressional Members about production agriculture’s contributions to the national economy, the need for strong farm law and the challenges facing U.S. agriculture.
NCC Chairman Shawn Holladay testified at a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee’s General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit Subcommittee exploring measures for inclusion in the 2023 farm bill. While the West Texas producer emphasized that the 2018 farm law’s general structure has benefitted the cotton industry, additional funding and other reforms are needed to address challenges both on the farm and throughout the supply chain. Among recommendations developed by the NCC’s Farm Policy Task Force that Holladay proposed during the hearing were:
• increasing the seed cotton reference price;
• restoring the Economic Adjustment Assistance for Textile Mills rate to its original value;
• increasing the marketing loan program maximum rate and modernizing various marketing loan program repayment provisions;
• increasing the Pima loan rate and adding marketing loan functionality; and
• continued support for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.
NCC Director Patrick Johnson reiterated the need for those critical farm bill enhancements during a hearing examining producer farm bill priorities conducted by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee’s Commodities, Risk Management and Trade Subcommittee. The Mississippi producer said the current farm law has served the industry well but emphasized the need for more funding in a new farm bill.
How have Congressional agriculture committee leaders responded?
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), for example, expressed his hope that in the next farm bill, a safety net will be in place that can stand the test of changing markets and extreme weather events. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR) both expressed the desire to see producers provided with a broader range of risk management tools.