MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) applauds House and Senate appropriations and agriculture committees’ leaders for seeing that essential assistance for the U.S. cotton industry was included in the FY23 omnibus spending package.
Commended for their efforts on this important legislation are Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), along with Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ranking Member John Hoeven (R-ND); and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rose DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), as well as House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Ranking Member Andy Harris (R-MD). In addition, the NCC recognizes the continued support of Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) along with House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) and Ranking Member G.T. Thompson (R-PA).
NCC Chairman Ted Schneider said, “The U.S. cotton industry is grateful that Congress approved this much needed legislation. This relief will help stabilize the cotton sector as many producers suffered devastating losses from this season’s extreme drought and other weather events and merchandisers who suffered economic loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The package includes $3.741 billion for disaster assistance for U.S. ranchers and farmers, including cotton and other row crop producers. The assistance will aid producers who have suffered losses of revenue, quality or production losses of crops (including crops prevented from planting in 2022), due to droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, tornadoes, winter storms, freeze, including a polar vortex, smoke exposure, and excessive moisture occurring in calendar year 2022. The package also provides $100 million for USDA to make payments to cotton merchandisers who have experienced economic losses.
Schneider, a Louisiana producer, said the industry also appreciates that the package includes $15.45 million for cotton pest management activities, $4 million for USDA’s cotton classing laboratories, and increased funding for cotton genetics and fiber quality research programs within the Agriculture Research Service.
The agreement also directs USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to continue to work with stakeholders to better understand how to capture supplemental information for certain crops to help offset data losses from the discontinuation of agricultural statistics district level estimates.
Among other bill provisions:
Growing Climate Solutions Act — Incorporates updated language from the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which directs USDA to establish a program to register entities that provide technical assistance and verification for farmers, ranchers and foresters who participate in voluntary carbon markets with the goal of providing information and confidence to producers.
Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA 5) Reauthorization — Reauthorizes pesticide registration and review process user-fee programs administered by EPA and increases registration and maintenance fees to support a more predictable regulatory process, create additional process improvements, and provide resources for safety, training, bilingual labeling, and other services to advance the safe and effective use of pesticides.
Pesticide Registration Review Deadline Extension — Extends deadline for EPA to complete registration review decisions for all pesticide products registered as of October 1, 2007. EPA is facing a significant backlog of pesticide registrations due to a variety of factors over the past several years, which raises potential implications for continued access to numerous crop protection tools. With this extension, EPA will be allowed to continue its registration review work through October 1, 2026.
The Memphis-based NCC has a mission of ensuring the ability of all seven cotton industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.