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WASHINGTON–As the coronavirus continues to take an economic toll on agriculture producers, U.S. senators from both parties have come together to encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with the cotton industry so that needed aid can be delivered in a timely manner. 

A letter from 21 senators to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue—led by Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA)— noted that while all sectors of the agricultural economy have been impacted by this public health crisis, the U.S. cotton industry has been particularly hard hit during this time, making the need for assistance all the more urgent.

“Since the beginning of 2020, cotton futures prices have declined 30 percent. As retail stores around the globe have shuttered, orders from U.S. textile mills have dropped as much as 90 percent in the last month. Cotton merchandisers and distributors are also facing additional costs for storage, interest, and other carrying costs as worldwide demand is significantly depressed,” the senators wrote. 

The senators encouraged USDA to work with the industry to craft policies that will aid each segment of the cotton industry.

“We understand the cotton industry has reached consensus on a package of recommendations to assist all segments of the industry. We encourage you to work with the industry, so that needed aid can be delivered in a timely manner. In responding to the current crisis, Congress and the Administration have acted swiftly to assist the people of our country during this time. We ask that you use that same approach to ensure that this critical industry represented throughout our states receives the necessary assistance,” they wrote.  

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Burr (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) signed the letter Boozman and Warner authored.

The full letter is available below.

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