WASHINGTON — Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) announced a solution for putting cotton back into the agriculture safety net could come earlier than the next Farm Bill if the Senate takes action on a supplemental appropriations bill the House passed in late December. The bill includes a provision that would bring cotton back into Title I of the Farm Bill, and would cover cotton as both a seed and lint for the first time ever.
Arrington has been meeting with House and Senate leadership to ensure the cotton fix was included in the final House bill and is in the strongest position to pass the Senate. This provision would come at one of the most challenging economic times in our nation’s agriculture history, with farm income over the last three years experiencing its steepest decline since the Great Depression.
“Cotton was the only commodity taken out of the Title I safety net during the 2014 Farm Bill, which has had a devastating effect on producers throughout the seventeen-state Cotton Belt and put many in West Texas in jeopardy of losing their farms,” said Arrington. “You can’t overstate the importance of cotton to West Texas, and restoring its safety net status would save billions of dollars to our local economy and is the single biggest factor for ensuring a prosperous future for families living on the South Plains. Cotton is the lifeblood and identity of West Texas.
“This has been my top priority, and I will continue fighting alongside Chairman Conaway and Senators Cornyn and Cruz to make sure this gets done. By doing so, we will not only ensure a strong, viable ag sector for West Texas and rural America, but we can ensure our family farmers can continue what they’ve been doing since the beginning of time – feeding and clothing the American people!”
Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers, who has spent time meeting with key Congressional leaders on this package said, “Our growers need a long-term, viable safety net to ensure a strong future for the cotton industry. Timing is of the essence and by including this fix in legislation prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, our growers will have more certainty going into the new year.”
Richard Gaona, President of Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers, said, “Ensuring our cotton farmers have the necessary risk management tools is critical to not only their success, but the success of our region. I’m grateful we have leaders in Congress like Jodey Arrington who are fighting for the future of our farmers.”
Arrington applauds his colleagues in the House for including the cotton fix in the supplemental appropriations bill and is calling on the Senate to act without further delay to help stave off a crisis in the U.S. cotton industry.
Congressman Jodey Arrington is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. He serves as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, House Budget Committee, and Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.