Ag News

Federal disaster bill includes cotton farm bill provision

 On Dec. 21, 2017, the U.S. House passed a supplemental disaster appropriations bill to address losses due to hurricanes and wildfires, including measures to assist producers affected by storms in 2017. The total package was for $81 billion, of which $3.8 billion is designated for agricultural producers.

The bill (H.R. 4667) also contained provisions that would make cottonseed eligible for farm bill crop insurance programs and would expand the Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Program for dairy producers.

“Cotton producing families across the Cotton Belt are continuing to suffer with low prices and increased input costs, compounded this year by natural disasters in major cotton-producing areas,” said National Cotton Council Chairman Ronnie Lee from Bronwood. We look forward to continuing to work with both the Senate and the House to ensure a final legislative measure is enacted in the near future that includes cotton policy to help stabilize the industry in the face of these challenging financial conditions.”

Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Cotton Commission and other agricultural stakeholder organizations have pursued measures to make cotton or cottonseed eligible for Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) established under the 2014 farm bill.

The cottonseed provision in the appropriations bill could provide temporary relief for cotton growers who have struggled with an extended period of low commodity prices for cotton.

The supplemental appropriations bill passed by a 251-169 vote, with Georgia’s Rick Allen (R-12th District), Sanford Bishop (D-2nd District), Buddy Carter (R-1st District), Drew Ferguson (R-3rd District), Tom Graves (R-14th District), Karen Handel (R-6th District), Austin Scott (R-8th District) and David Scott (D-13th District) all voting in favor.

The bill awaits consideration in the Senate.