Georgia Cotton Commission urges timely passage of farm bill
The Georgia Cotton Commission along with 66 other organizations, including Georgia Farm Bureau, sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Agriculture committees along with the farm bill conferees thanking the respective leaders for their work so far through this process, particularly for seed cotton provisions that were introduced in February. The letter also outlined cotton industry goals that have yet to be negotiated during the conference process.
GFB will be sending a letter to the conference committee leaders this week outlining a number of farm policy priorities that should be included in the final 2018 farm bill.
Among the cotton industry goals are:
•Completing the farm bill by the end of 2018, so producers can go to lending institutions to show market stability for the next five years;
•Increased funding for the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (EAAP) that is included in the House version of the farm bill. EAAP helps support domestic consumption of cotton and increases the competitiveness of American textile manufacturing, while supporting direct and indirect jobs in rural communities, many of which are in Georgia and the southeast;
• Removing “actively engaged” provisions added at the last minute by the Senate. Adoption of these changes downplays the importance of the contributions made by family members on farms and makes passing multigenerational farms to relatives other than children harder;
• Ratifying the no cost adjustments to cotton marketing loan programs included in the House Farm Bill;
• Maintaining adjusted gross income means test at current levels to more appropriately support family farms, especially in times of depressed markets;
• To give the United States Department of Agriculture the tools to monitor the flow of cotton throughout the manufacturing process and the oversight to make regulatory changes to make that process more efficient and transparent.
Georgia Reps. Austin Scott (R-8th District), David Scott (D-13th District), and Rick Allen (R-12th District) are members of the Farm Bill Conference Committee, which is scheduled to have its first public hearing on Sept. 5. Conferees will negotiate differences in the House and Senate versions of the legislation, which also provides nutritional assistance for Americans of all backgrounds and supports the underpinnings of struggling rural communities. Producers and other interested people are encouraged to contact their senators and representatives in Washington, D.C., to share their opinion on these issues.