Throughout 2018, the National Cotton Council (NCC) addressed economic challenges facing the U.S. cotton industry.
Efforts on securing near-term assistance involved pursuing another gin cost-share program. The NCC also conducted regional informational conference calls and webinars regarding provisions of the 2018 Seed Cotton Program that Congress approved early in the year. Long-term stability also involved protecting the industry’s farm policy priorities in the new farm bill as it was developed, debated and signed into law late in 2018.
The NCC was very active on the trade front, ranging from monitoring the development of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to discussions regarding China’s market access. The NCC also monitored the implementation of the Market Facilitation Program authorized by the Administration to help mitigate the economic effects of China’s retaliatory tariffs.
The NCC worked to maintain federal funding for boll weevil eradication while coordinating an implementation strategy that will enhance boll weevil eradication efforts in Mexico. The NCC also coordinated the implementation of a plan for pink bollworm eradication transition to post-eradication status after USDA announced that insect pest had been eradicated from U.S. cotton-producing areas.
Increased social media use boosted the NCC’s news and information dissemination, which included the posting of multiple items on the NCC’s website, www.cotton.org.
A significant educational effort involved the distribution of a NCC-developed contamination prevention video to appropriate NCC members. Through its Quality Task Force, the NCC closely monitored incidences of lint contamination being reported by our textile customers. The NCC also hosted a “Contamination Summit” that brought together industry leadership, John Deere and TAMA representatives, and researchers to focus on educational and research programs directed at contamination detection and prevention.
Several priorities involved close coordination with EPA on regulatory matters. Among those were the NCC’s engagement with EPA on a rewrite of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and with the agency, states and stakeholders to maintain the cotton registration/label for in-season use of labeled dicamba herbicides beyond 2018 and 2,4-D herbicides beyond 2021. The NCC also worked with the Food and Drug Administration, Congress, and state/regional gin associations to eliminate the requirements for cotton gins to comply with the new animal feed safety regulations.
At the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit, Cotton Council International (CCI) President Ted Schneider updated the 400-plus attendees on how the U.S. cotton industry intended to meet its 2025 sustainability goals. The CCI-coordinated Summit was one of numerous CCI activities that played a pivotal role in expanding foreign demand for U.S. cotton fiber and cotton products. The NCC worked to maintain full support for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program, as CCI continued to be the largest recipient of these federal marketing/promotion funds.
The Cotton Foundation Board of Trustees approved funding for 10 general research projects totaling $197,000 for 2018-19. Included are studies related to pest management, sustainability, regulatory issue information gathering and education.
More details of the NCC’s 2018 activities follow under the major headings of Legislative Affairs, Trade, Communications, Technical, Cotton Council International and The Cotton Foundation.
Ron Craft, Chairman (2018)
Gary Adams, President/Chief Executive Officer
President/Chief Executive Officer