Provide safety net for cotton growers: Congress to Trump

A bipartisan Congressional coalition has called attention of President Donald Trump to the ongoing economic struggles of thousands of American cotton farming families across the country and their need for an effective safety net. The coalition has asked Trump to use his authority to operate on an ongoing basis the Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program.

The letter signed by 109 Democrats and Republicans reads, “Mr. President, in an effort to help stabilise the entire industry, we strongly urge you to use your authority to operate on an ongoing basis the Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program effective beginning with the 2016 crop year.”

“The cost share program, administered by the department of agriculture, is desperately needed to provide policy stability in the absence of a comprehensive policy for cotton farmers in the existing farm bill to effectively respond to sustained and deep economic losses due to price and revenue declines. This cost share program was operated by the previous Administration for the 2015 crop year and is an effective and efficient means of providing economic relief to America’s cotton farming families,” the letter noted.

The Congressmen said that without some action by the Federal government, American cotton farming families will continue to see their equity erode or take on a greater debt load as they hope to keep their family farms in operation. They argued that America’s cotton farming families are struggling to compete on a lopsided global playing field heavily weighted to its competitors in countries like China and India that benefit from sharply rising government subsidies.

They cited that over the past decade, the numbers of businesses involved in the ginning and warehousing of cotton have declined by 33 and 21 per cent, respectively. “It is imperative that we protect the remaining 20,000 businesses in this industry that employ 126,000 people and generate over $21 billion in revenue or America risks losing this important sector of our economy in the same way we lost much of our textile industry, once the largest part of the US manufacturing sector.”

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