Needed: a strong, predictable farm policy

Published 7:46 pm Friday, May 11, 2018

To the Editor:

I strongly support the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 that was approved by the House Agriculture Committee, and urge the House of Representatives to pass this bill without any damaging amendments to farm policy.

This Act includes critically important policies for cotton producers and the entire U.S. cotton industry. A strong farm bill helps support a healthy and thriving rural economy that includes cotton gins, warehouses, marketing co-ops and merchants to market the crop, cottonseed handlers and textile manufacturers.

Cotton farmers rely on the certainty and predictability of a farm bill to obtain the financing necessary for capital investments and annual crop production. Without strong commodity and crop insurance policies underpinning U.S. agriculture, lenders would be reluctant to provide financing to an industry operating at the mercy of weather extremes and volatile global market prices, and in competition with heavily subsidized and protected foreign producers.

The current trade tensions further underscore the importance of having a strong, predictable farm policy. Cotton is a heavily export-dependent crop with nearly all our production exported in some form — from raw cotton to textile products. This farm bill continues important policies to help U.S. producers compete.

This bill also continues and enhances an important investment in U.S. jobs by strengthening the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program for U.S. textile mills. This program allows our textile industry to reinvest and modernize to be as efficient and cost competitive as possible, while maintaining and expanding jobs in rural areas of the Southeast.


Todd Waters