MEMPHIS – National Cotton Council Chairman Larry McClendon expressed appreciation to House and Senate Conference Committee leaders and members for their work on the 2008 farm legislation.
“While we have much to learn about the details of the legislation,” McClendon said, “we believe it is important that Congress has completed its work on new farm legislation which will provide certainty and stability to this important segment of our economy. Farmers are preparing to plant or have planted their 2008 crops in highly uncertain circumstances including rapidly escalating input costs and a futures market which is not functioning properly.
“It is important that new farm legislation be put in place as soon as possible to provide a predictable safety-net for farmers and their lenders. While we are currently enjoying record prices for some commodities, we know markets are unpredictable so sound farm policy is important for the future. We are especially appreciative to Cotton Belt members of the House and Senate who have worked tirelessly to ensure the new legislation included the industry’s priorities to maintain an effective safety-net; enhance market orientation and competitiveness; assist domestic manufacturers and minimize counter productive limitations on program eligibility.”
The Arkansas producer/ginner said the NCC is concerned about the potential adverse impact of the significant change made in the means test which will become effective with the 2009 crop.
“While we are anxious to learn more about the details,” he said, “we believe enactment of new legislation is a far more desirable outcome than the uncertainty of a short term extension which would result in writing legislation in even more challenging budget circumstances. Therefore, we urge Congress to act promptly to approve the legislation and urge the President to sign it.”
The U.S. cotton industry provides employment for some 440,000 Americans and generates more than $120 billion in annual economic activity. The NCC’s mission is ensuring the ability of all seven industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad. The Memphis-based organization brings together industry representatives from the 17 cotton-producing states to establish policies reflecting the common interests and promoting mutual benefits for its broad membership and ancillary industries.