The U.S. cotton industry is planting amid uncertainty “as we see what what’s happening in Washington.”
Cotton acreage will likely fall below 10 million acres in 2013. The political landscape adds to the decline in acres to create uncertainty.
When Congress stopped short of the fiscal cliff, they extended the 2008 Farm Bill. Provisions in place will continue in 2013.
When Congress gets around to taking up the farm bill again, they’ll have to put five years of cuts into four years.
Despite passage of a new farm bill in the full Senate and passage out of the House Agriculture Committee, a new farm bill languished in the presidential political year.
Mark Lange, National Cotton Council president and CEO says there are more questions than answers as growers look toward the 2013 season.
“Things got kicked down the road,” Lange says.
Congress failed to address the debt limit, pushed back sequestration 60 days. The nation still faces a March 1 sequestration deadline where 8% mandatory cuts are waiting should Congress fail to act.
“These debates will provide an opportunity for changes to farm programs to reduce the deficit,” Lange told a group at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. The chairman of the Frank Lucas, R-Okla., House Agriculture Committee indicated a mark-up of the bill at the end of February. The next baseline for the negotiations will be less, Lange points out.
“Agriculture is the low-hanging fruit,” Lange says. “Congress might take its time.”
Amidst the legislative uncertainty, U.S. cotton is still dealing with the Brazil case. “The U.S. may have to give more on cotton,” Lange says.
A Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations could cause further difficulties for the U.S. textile industry.