NCC Appreciates Senators’ Cottonseed Designation Request
The NCC appreciates Senator John Boozman’s (R-AR) initiative in getting his Cotton Belt colleagues to sign onto a Jan. 4 letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack urging him to designate cottonseed as an ‘other oilseed’ as a means to bring some “much needed stability and support to cotton producers and the broader cotton industry.”
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council appreciates Senator John Boozman's (R-AR) initiative in getting his Cotton Belt colleagues to sign onto a January 4 letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack urging him to designate cottonseed as an 'other oilseed' as a means to bring some "much needed stability and support to cotton producers and the broader cotton industry."
NCC Chairman Sledge Taylor, a Mississippi cotton producer and ginner, said that just as the cotton industry appreciated the 100 Representatives who pressed the Secretary to use 2014 farm law authority for this designation, "we are very pleased with Senator Boozman and his colleagues for their efforts on this important request. As I've stated before, in order to provide timely relief from current financial pressures, the U.S. cotton industry needs this designation for cottonseed to be covered either under the law's Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage programs for the purpose of farm safety net participation."
In describing U.S. cotton's current economic challenges, the Senators' letter stated that lower prices for cotton lint and cottonseed contributed to a decline in average market revenue of more than $150 per harvested acre in 2014 compared with 2013. It noted that current expectations for prices and yields indicate that market revenue will decline by another $24 per acre in 2015, resulting in cotton revenues 25 percent lower than the average market returns for 2010 through 2013.
"This revenue decline occurs at a time," the letter stated, "when production costs remain at elevated levels, with the differential between costs and market revenue the largest it has been in the past ten years."
The NCC recently had urged its members to contact their Senators and ask them to join onto the letter to Secretary Vilsack. The letter eventually was signed by 19 Senators from 12 cotton-producing states who collectively represent 94 percent of the 2015 U.S. planted cotton acres. Joining Senator Boozman on the letter were Senators: Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Vitter (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Tom Cotton (R-AR), David Perdue (R-GA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Corker (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) John Cornyn (R-TX).
The Senate letter follows a letter to the Secretary from 100 Representatives as well as letters with the signatures of 376 state and regional agricultural lenders and letters from the Farm Credit Council, the American Bankers Association, and the Independent Community Bankers of America – all urging Secretary Vilsack to use the authority granted in the 2014 farm law to designate cottonseed as an 'other oilseed.'
The NCC and other U.S. cotton industry organizations also have requested that the Secretary use this authority to designate cottonseed as an 'other oilseed.' That request was reiterated in testimonies of U.S. cotton industry witnesses at a recent House Agriculture Committee's General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee hearing.
In addition, numerous agriculture and commodity groups have sent letters to Secretary Vilsack conveying their support for the cottonseed designation. Among them are the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Sugar Alliance, National Farmers Union, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and the USA Rice Federation.