Press Releases

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today responded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) denial of assistance to U.S. cotton producers by urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to reconsider his determination that he lacks the legal authority to act.    

Boozman laid out the challenges facing cotton producers in a letter he authored to Secretary Vilsack last month which encouraged USDA “to take any policy actions that can have a stabilizing effect on the U.S. cotton industry.” The letter—which was signed by 18 other senators—specifically states relief could be provided if USDA designated “cottonseed as an ‘other oilseed’ for purposes of the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs.”

“This designation would help bring some much needed stability and support to cotton producers and the broader cotton industry. We view this action as consistent with the intent of Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill, which maintained the authority for USDA to designate crops as ‘other oilseeds’ for program purposes,” Boozman’s letter stated.

USDA responded by saying it lacked the ability to act, but Boozman reiterated that the Secretary has the discretion to make this designation.

“Cotton producers continue to be hard hit by the plunge in global prices. I urge Secretary Vilsack to reconsider his decision. He has the authority to act on this crisis and help ensure our cotton producers have the ability to compete fairly in the international market,” Boozman said.

Read the letter Boozman authored to the USDA in its entirety by opening the attached .pdf file.

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