MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) is very appreciative of Congress, President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for their efforts on the new farm law.
The President signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) into law today in a Washington, DC, ceremony attended by NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a ginner from Plains, Texas. Last week, the Senate passed the bill by an 87-13 vote, and the House followed with a 369-47 vote. The votes represent some of the largest, bipartisan margins in history in support of a farm bill.
“The commitment to farmers by Congress, especially the Cotton Belt Members who supported the farm bill, and the Administration to get this farm law into place this year will enable our nation’s farmers to continue producing safe, abundant, and affordable food and fiber,” Craft stated. “Their persistence on and support of this legislation means the continuation and enhancements of a much-needed safety net. I know this is especially crucial for U.S. cotton producers as many are still dealing with natural disasters that occurred this growing season while others will undoubtedly face other harmful weather events ahead.”
Craft said going forward, the new farm law, which was forged within existing budget resources, will provide U.S. farmers with stability and help them better manage their risk not only from weather events but swings in commodity prices and other global marketplace situations such as the current retaliatory trade tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.
The new farm law includes many of the U.S. cotton industry’s policy priorities – continuation of the Seed Cotton ARC/PLC program, full access to the marketing loan program, full funding for textile competitiveness programs, effective crop insurance products, no reduction in arbitrary payment limits, and addressing overly restrictive family farm eligibility requirements. This adjustment to the 'family definition' for farm programs will help resolve the unintended and punitive restrictions that resulted from the 'actively engaged' changes made by the 2014 farm law and ensure that all family farms are treated equitably. In addition, the bill includes a yield update opportunity for all producers that will better align program yields with current production levels. Report language attached to the new farm law encourages USDA to work with the cotton industry to make administrative changes in the cotton warehouse and shipping provisions to help ensure the timely flow of cotton to the marketplace.