House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway debuted the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 April 12, and cotton and peanut farm groups liked what they saw.
The bill continues key polices important to the cotton industry and championed by the National Cotton Council.
“The centerpieces of the cotton safety net are continuation of 'seed cotton' as a covered commodity eligible for the ARC/PLC program with the current reference price of $0.367/lb., maintaining crop insurance options, and continuation of the upland cotton marketing loan program. The bill will simplify how program limitations are applied and address a current concern with the overly narrow family member definition for program eligibility,” the NCC says in a statement.
The NCC supports several additional measures in the bill, including:
· Improvements to Extra Long Staple cotton policy.
· Enhancement for the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program for U.S. textile mills.
· The consolidation of some conservation programs and improve access and flexibility to utilize the programs to focus on protecting and enhancing natural resources on farms.
· Continuation of cost share market development and promotion programs with level funding.
· Addressing multiple duplicative regulatory burdens currently affecting producers.
The Georgia Peanut Commission released a statement in support of the House version of the farm bill, which maintains the current Price Lose Coverage program peanuts in the 2014 Farm Bill with the current reference price for peanuts; separate peanut payment limit as established in the 2002 Farm Bill; and storage and handling provisions.
The House bill is the first, but major, step to a complete farm bill, which will continue through the Congressional process and hopefully be passed and signed into law for the 2019 crop. The current farm bill will expire with the 2018 crop year.