U.S. Senator Thad Cochran announced that cotton producers in Mississippi and around the country will benefit from a bipartisan effort to enact agriculture policy changes to help them overcome economic hardships that threaten the industry.
The cotton provisions were in the legislation to keep the government open through March 23 and to set spending levels for FY2018 and FY2019. The Senate and House approved the measure early Friday morning and President Trump has signed it into law. Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted in favor of the legislation.
“I am grateful for the bipartisan effort to aid cotton producers, who have struggled with economic and other hardships for several years,” said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. “Making cotton producers in Mississippi and elsewhere eligible for Price Loss Coverage should give them a measure of certainty when prices fall too low.”
Language in the bill will make cotton eligible for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program beginning with the 2018 crop year. This would put cotton producers on par with other major U.S. commodity producers. PLC payments would help cotton farmers withstand low market prices and other economic challenges. The bill offsets the cost of the cotton provisions with changes to other farm bill programs.
Cochran worked with Appropriations Committee Vice chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Minn.), and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) to include cotton and dairy provisions in the Continuing Resolution and budget agreement legislation.
These provisions are an extension of work by Cochran and Leahy to include similar cotton and dairy provisions reflected in the committee-reported FY2018 Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
This PLC and Margin Protection Program for dairy farmers would be in place as Senate and House agriculture committees begin work on a new farm bill later this year.
Also of interest to Mississippi, the emergency supplemental section of the bill provides more than $17.3 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including $770 million for the Mississippi River and Tributaries project to repair works damaged by natural disasters and to construct projects to reduce flood and storm damage.