NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2014

Contact:            Mary Jane Buerkle, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
                        (806) 792-4904; maryjane@plainscotton.org

Plains Cotton Growers Applauds Senate’s Passage of Agricultural Act of 2014

In another victory for High Plains cotton growers, the U.S. Senate passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, the Farm Bill, by a vote of 68-32.

“We appreciate the Senate for coming together in bipartisan fashion to pass this bill and move it forward to the President for his signature,” Plains Cotton Growers President Craig Heinrich, a cotton grower from Slaton, Texas, said. “We commend the House Agriculture Committee and Chairman Frank Lucas, along with the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, for creating a legislative package that saves money, cuts the deficit, and reforms and streamlines programs.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill last week, 251-166. PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett noted that the Agricultural Act of 2014 advanced relatively quickly through both the House and Senate because of excellent leadership, and Congressional leaders from West Texas played key roles on the bill’s creation and passage.

“We are fortunate to have strong West Texas representation on the farm bill conference committee in Congressmen Mike Conaway and Randy Neugebauer,” Verett said. “They understand why this bill is so important to our area and to the state, and have been actively working for agriculture, which is the cornerstone of our regional economy.”

However, Verett said, PCG is disappointed that Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn chose not to support the Agricultural Act of 2014.

“This bill saves billions of dollars while achieving meaningful reforms, and is the best we could expect in today’s budgetary and political climate,” Verett said. “Our farmers need some assurance that they will have the tools they need to continue to grow our food and fiber.”

Plains Cotton Growers will join with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Tech University, and other ag-related organizations to host educational seminars regarding implementation of the Farm Bill. The bill includes a transition program for cotton in the 2014 crop year, since enactment will come too late for USDA and the private sector to offer the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), until 2015. Crop insurance continues to be the backbone of the farm safety net for cotton, and the bill includes several important improvements in the crop insurance program that will allow farmers to better tailor their crop insurance to the appropriate risk.

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An advocate for High Plains cotton producers since 1956, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., has been tackling the tough issues facing cotton growers for more than 50 years. PCG’s service area covers 41 counties from the top of the Texas Panhandle southward to the Permian Basin. For more information, call (806) 792-4904 or visit www.plainscotton.org.

 

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