Throughout 2017, the National Cotton Council conveyed its views on numerous legislative, regulatory and trade issues that could influence U.S. cotton industry members’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.
Among specific NCC policy priorities were: securing short-term economic assistance for cotton producers; communicating needs for ensuring long-term viability including policy recommendations for the next farm bill; providing input on tax reform proposals; stepping up contamination prevention efforts; crafting a strategy for enhancing U.S. cotton’s sustainability message; and improving U.S. cotton flow.
Regarding economic assistance, the NCC shared its farm bill priorities at Congressional hearings – including the consistent call for cotton to be a part of the next farm bill’s Title I programs. A strong voice was given to seeing that cottonseed policy could be included as part of the final agriculture appropriations measure and the Administration was asked to authorize another ginning cost-share program. After the House passed a supplemental spending bill late in 2017 that established seed cotton as a covered commodity under the 2014 farm bill’s Title I ARC/PLC programs, the NCC stated that it would continue working with the Senate and the House to ensure enactment of a final legislative measure that included cotton policy.
In the trade arena, the NCC was very active in emphasizing to the Administration, Congress and others the importance of exports and sound trade policy. A significant effort was made to protect U.S. cotton supply chain’s interests by providing the Administration with reasons for maintaining the integrity of the North American Free Trade Agreement throughout those negotiations.
Social media use increased to enhance news and information dissemination, and the NCC’s newly designed website, www.cotton.org, offered a better organized and more navigable experience for its members to access important information.
The NCC joined other agricultural organizations in support of various regulatory reform measures and continued to vigorously manage regulatory issues with the potential for undermining U.S. cotton. From “Waters of the U.S.” to Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, the NCC was diligent in commenting on proposed rules and working closely with EPA, the FDA, OSHA and other agencies to ensure our industry’s business climate was not compromised and operations impeded.
In compliance with a NCC resolution, the COTTON USA Sustainability Task Force was created. It set goals to build upon the strong environmental gains our industry already has achieved over the past 30 years.
Cotton Council International ramped up its promotional effort with the introduction of an educational campaign centered around why U.S. cotton is “The Cotton The World Trusts.” The effort proved successful as COTTON USA launched its new “WHAT’S NEW IN COTTON™” initiative with the objective of inspiring U.S. cotton’s global customers to 1) think about the many opportunities involved with using U.S. cotton and 2) ultimately specify more U.S. cotton usage in their products.
The Cotton Foundation Board of Trustees approved funding for 12 general projects totaling $202,000. Approved projects covered research and educational efforts related to pest management, sustainability, contamination detection, agronomic practices, regulatory issue information gathering, and education.
More details of the NCC’s 2017 activities follow under the major headings of Legislative Affairs, Trade, Communications, Technical, Cotton Council International and The Cotton Foundation.
Ronnie Lee, Chairman (2017)
Gary Adams, President/Chief Executive Officer
President/Chief Executive Officer