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Farm Bill

A Welcome ‘Shot In The Arm’

cotton ginning

The National Cotton Council (NCC) is urging U.S. cotton producers to participate in USDA’s Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program (CGCS), a one-time initiative with a June 20-Aug. 5 sign-up window. What is the CGCS program’s purpose? Using administrative authority it has under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter, USDA created the CGCS program to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton. USDA ... Read More »

March 2016 Industry News

Billy Carter Scholarship Recipients

New MOA To Stop Pigweed Cotton farmers now have a new pre-emergence herbicide and class of chemistry in the fight against resistant weeds. SePRO Corp. has announced that on Feb. 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered Brake herbicide for cotton. The company says that Brake offers exceptional cotton tolerance with extended residual weed control, providing a great start and maximizing yield potential. Brake is a strong residual herbicide that provides the foundation for comprehensive weed control, regardless of traits. It controls herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth and other broadleaf weeds and grasses. This herbicide excels under wet conditions, providing assurance when farmers are unable to make timely post-emergence herbicide applications. “Having the opportunity to develop Brake alongside the grower community has been invaluable for this new class of chemistry for cotton,” says Bill Culpepper, CEO SePRO Corp. To learn more, go to brakeherbicide.com. Still Time To Join The 2015 One Ton Club Cotton farmers who plant FiberMax cotton seed are eligible to join the One Ton Club if they harvested 2,000 lb./A on at least 20 acres in 2015. The qualification deadline is April 6, 2016. Growers who qualify for membership receive FiberMax One Ton Club Read More »

Working To Improve Profitability

Farmers now have access to the breakthrough technology of Enlist cotton in 2016. As part of the Enlist weed control system, the Enlist cotton trait represents the most innovative advancements in weed control technology for the cotton industry. Enlist cotton provides exceptional crop tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide — a combination of glyphosate and new 2,4-D choline — and full tolerance to glufosinate herbicides. “We have a level of glufosinate tolerance now that is comparable to the other products that you see in the marketplace,” says Chris Main, Ph.D., PhytoGen cotton development specialist for the Upper Mid-South. “In 2016, cotton farmers will have the option to apply glufosinate over the top of these varieties with confidence since the glufosinate tolerance has been increased.” Growers such as Virginia-based Mike Griffin participated in the 2015 Enlist cotton grower research plots. He understands the importance of new technology and is ready to use the Enlist system on more acres. “The Enlist system specifically has been brought forward to help control weed species that have been unmanageable,” he says. “We look forward to using this technology to help us with resistant and hard-to-control weeds.” What other efforts are targeting economic improvement? Early in 2015, the NCC sought relief from the onerous payment limit provisions of the 2014 farm law by urging Congress to restore USDA’s authority to allow marketing loan redemptions with commodity certificates. Fortunately, commodity certificates were restored in the omnibus appropriations act approved late in 2015. Redemptions with certificates are applicable to the 2015 crop, and any marketing loan gains under certificate redemptions do not apply... Read More »

Cotton’s Challenges Communicated

The National Cotton Council recently seized an opportunity to tell a key Congressional panel about the dire economic and regulatory challenges facing the U.S. cotton industry. What was the venue? The early December hearing was conducted by the House Agriculture Committee’s General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. Testifying were: NCC Vice Chairman Shane Stephens, a Greenwood, Miss., warehouser; NCC Producer Directors Shawn Holladay, Lubbock, Texas; and Cannon Michael, Los Banos, Calif.; and two other producer leaders: Kent Wannamaker, president, Southern Cotton Growers, Saint Matthews, S.C.; and Nathan Reed, Arkansas state chairman, American Cotton Producers, Marianna. They were joined by Mike Wright, executive vice president, Agricultural Lending for City Bank, Lubbock. Where do the challenges lie? Vice Chairman Stephens detailed the current economic conditions characterized by reduced acreage, struggling cotton demand and the lowest prices since 1989. Providing an agricultural lender perspective, Wright painted a bleak picture for the Subcommittee saying that with margins getting tighter every year due to higher production costs and lower commodity prices – producers need above-average yields just to break even. There is no doubt, he stated, that some cotton farmers will not qualify for financing next year, and the ability to obtain financing will become increasingly more difficult as crop prices remain low. Wright’s testimony was reinforced by Reed who testified that production costs in the Mid-South have risen continually over the past decade and he feared that region is at a tipping point. Reed cautioned that once the infrastructure of gins, warehouses and related businesses are gone, they are not likely to return. Read More »

CRP Enrollment Opens

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reminds farmers and ranchers that the next general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program ends on Feb. 26, 2016. Also, December 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of CRP, a federally funded program that assists agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil ... Read More »

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 »

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 »