WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, welcomed an announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis, Tennessee that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will operate the Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program based on a producer’s 2016 cotton acres. This will help cotton farming families who have been struggling to keep their farms operational.
“Over the past several years, cotton farmers have endured many pressing challenges so this announcement is great news for them,” Boozman said. “As producers are visiting with their bankers to obtain financing for the upcoming crop year, this payment could be the difference in getting an operating note or not. I’m pleased to have led the bipartisan effort in the Senate to encourage the Administration and Secretary Perdue to implement a cotton ginning cost share payment to provide relief to our nation’s cotton farmers.”
Last year, Boozman and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) were joined by 24 of their colleagues in urging President Donald Trump to continue the USDA’s CGCS program. The overwhelming majority of cotton grown in the United States is exported, making the industry dependent on open trade relationships with key markets. Unfortunately, lately the market has been heavily distorted by foreign competitors’ domestic subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers to trade. Net farm income is projected to be the lowest level in 12 years.
Last month, seed cotton provisions included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made cotton producers eligible for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs that are authorized in the Farm Bill. However, any assistance triggered by that program would not be paid until the fall of 2019. The CGCS program will complement the seed cotton provisions because assistance will be provided to producers now.