Georgia cotton grower and new National Cotton Council (NCC) Chairman Chuck Coley told the annual meeting of the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers (RPCG) in Abilene, Texas the Council has a clear consensus on some top issues.
Coley was elected NCC chairman at this year's annual Council meeting in Fort Worth and the 2012 RPCG meeting at Abilene - in conjunction with the Texas Farm, Ranch, and Wildlife Expo - was his first NCC address as new chairman. The Vienna, Ga. cotton producer, ginner, and peanut grower said much was accomplished at Fort Worth.
"Council delegates re-affirmed our farm policy position for the 2012 Farm Bill to support the Stacked Income Protection Program - or STAX - an area-wide crop insurance-based, shallow loss risk management program, along with adjustments to the marketing loan," Coley said. "Earlier, the Council was successful in including STAX in the Agriculture Committees' proposal to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reductions. Even though the Joint Committee failed to produce a deficit reduction plan by the Congressionally-mandated deadline, we will be working for adoption of STAX during the 2012 farm bill re-authorization."
But difficult times surely are ahead.
"There will be proposals to increase agriculture's budget cuts," Coley assured. "Recall that the Agriculture Committee recommended to the Joint Committee a $23 billion reduction over 10 years. In contrast, the Administration's budget, released last week, calls for $32 billion over 10 years, which would be primarily achieved by the elimination of direct payments and through a sharp reduction in crop insurance funding."
Coley said cotton also faces the challenge by some other agricultural organizations for a "one-size fits all" approach for commodities instead of a package of options--"Cotton has its own specific challenge with the WTO Brazil case and the need to negotiate a settlement," Coley added. "That said, we are convinced that the STAX and the marketing loan changes offer the most effective proposals to satisfy the WTO Brazil case in spite of the initial criticism included in the Brazilian government letter. The Council has developed some strong counter-points to the Brazil letter and shared these with Congress, USDA, and USTR."