PCG EMAIL SERVICES: COTTON NEWS from Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. - May 26, 2017

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Fri May 26 13:30:42 CDT 2017


COTTON NEWS from Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. - May 26, 2017
4517 West Loop 289         Lubbock, Texas 79414          806-792-4904 
http://www.facebook.com/PlainsCottonGrowers    Twitter: @PCGNews      
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           PRESIDENT PROPOSES SLASHING AG PROGRAMS IN 
            FY18 BUDGET; PCG RESPONDS WITH AG GROUPS

Friday, May 26, 2017              By Mary Jane Buerkle

  After proposing a "skinny budget" in March that focused on discretionary
spending, the Trump Administration released their full comprehensive budget
earlier this week, and agriculture seems to be a primary item on the
chopping block.
  The proposed budget calls for a $240.4 billion reduction in mandatory
spending in USDA programs over ten years, a 27.5 percent budget cut. It
also works to impose tighter AGI means testing eligibility requirements
and indemnity payments.
  Some of the most significant and impactful cuts include:
  Crop Insurance: $28.562 billion reduction over 10 years (36% reduction),
including:
  • $40,000 Payment Limit on premium discounts ($16.218 billion reduction
over 10 years)
  • $500,000 AGI Means Test ($420 million reduction)
  • Elimination of premium discounts on the Harvest Price Option: ($11.924
billion reduction)
  Commodity Title: Cuts of $653 million over 10 years through the
imposition of a $500,000 AGI means test, down from the current $900,000
  Conservation Title: Cut by $5.755 billion over 10 years, or 9.6% through
"streamlining" programs
  Nutrition Title: Cut by $193.287 billion over 10 years (28.7%). Most of
that is through reforms to SNAP.
  PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett noted that Congress has the
ultimate budget-writing authority.
  "That's why it's imperative that we make our voices heard collectively
and individually," Verett said. "We must continue to communicate the fact
that agriculture has done its share of being fiscally responsible with
taxpayer dollars, and now is not the time to make these drastic cuts,
given the current state of the agricultural economy."
  Ag groups responded swiftly, and Plains Cotton Growers partnered with 12
other Texas agricultural organizations to distribute a letter to the Texas
congressional delegation and more than 80 other Members of Congress
addressing their disappointment with and opposition to the President's
proposed budget.
  "Crippling U.S. farm policy, which is already struggling in cases to
meet the need of America's producers, is, quite frankly, reckless," the
organizations said in the letter. "We strongly urge you to reject the
President's proposed FY2018 agriculture budget and to ensure that the
budget adopted by Congress enables the Agriculture Committees to meet the
President's pledge of a strong new Farm Bill passed on time."
  Texas organizations signing on to the letter, found in its entirety at
http://bit.ly/TXAgResponseFY18Budget, include Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.,
Corn Producers Association of Texas, Texas Soybean Association, Texas
Agricultural Cooperative Council, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers
Association, Texas Wheat Producers Association, Texas Cotton Producers,
Inc., Texas Grain & Feed Association, Texas Rice Producers Legislative
Group, Western Peanut Growers Association, Panhandle Peanut Growers
Association, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, and Texas Poultry
Federation.
  The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce issued a statement of their own and also
sent letters to lawmakers.
  "These cuts would be detrimental to the thousands of family farmers in
the Lubbock area," Eddie McBride, Chamber President and CEO, said in a
news release. "The Chamber is well aware of the economic challenges
agriculture and allied industries in this area face, which will soon
translate to challenges for the many and diverse job creators the Chamber
represents as well as for area rural communities."
  The Chamber's full statement can be found at
http://bit.ly/LBKChamberResponseFY18Budget. 
  The American Association of Crop Insurers, Crop Insurance and
Reinsurance Bureau, Crop Insurance Professionals Association, Independent
Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, National Association of
Professional Insurance Agents, and National Crop Insurance Services said
in a joint statement, "Weakening crop insurance and making it more
difficult for farmers to bounce back during tough times will jeopardize
rural jobs and will find little support in rural America or on Capitol
Hill. The rural economy is already suffering through a period of low
prices and a multitude of spring weather disasters. Yet, the
Administration's budget proposal targets the primary tool farmers use to
handle these risks."
  Their full statement can be found at
http://bit.ly/CropInsurersResponseFY18Budget. 

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         Want the facts about the U.S. agriculture and farm policy?
                     http://www.farmpolicyfacts.org
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                  OUR VIEW: THE SHORT STRAW FOR 
                       FARMERS ONCE AGAIN

Wednesday, May 24, 2017         From Farm Policy Facts

  It's called "A New Foundation for American Greatness," but if the Trump
administration's first major budget plan became law, it most assuredly
would harm one of our nation's greatest assets: her farmers, ranchers, and
agricultural production.
  In the midst of one of the worst farm economies in recent history with a
50 percent drop in net farm income, the administration is advocating for
policy that would gut the farm safety net and decimate the risk management
tools that help farmers and ranchers overcome challenges beyond their
control.
  Crop insurance – one of the key pillars of the farm safety net and
popular with both farmers and policymakers alike because everyone shares
in its cost and its benefits – would take a 36 percent hit. Proposed cuts
to conservation, rural development, and trade promotion would also hammer
rural economies.
  We have noted this fact many times, but it is worth mentioning again:
the farm safety net makes up only a quarter of one percent of all federal
spending.
  Put another way, based on 2017 spending levels, if we eliminated the
entire farm safety net, it would take us 1,700 years to pay off the
federal debt. That's assuming that we have the fiscal discipline to
address the real drivers of the debt and eliminate annual deficits.
  Put another way, we spend 38 times more on interest payments on the
federal debt than we do on the entire farm safety net and 66 times more
than we do on federal crop insurance.
  No doubt, budgets entail difficult decisions. And, time and again,
farmers and ranchers have answered the call for deficit reduction and
doing more with less. The 2014 Farm Bill shaved agricultural spending by
$23 billion at the time of passage. It is now slated to save taxpayers
more than $100 billion, which is incredible given what our producers are
facing with depressed prices, weak exports, and the predatory trade
practices of some foreign countries. All the while, consumers continue to
go about their business enjoying the highest quality, lowest cost food in
the world.
  Our investment in agriculture is quite modest. The return is a robust
and affordable food supply that is secure and grown right here at home.
Defense is a priority for this administration, but it is shortsighted to
beef up our military might while diminishing the ability to feed our own
citizens.
  To that point, it was only two months ago that President Trump was
praising the work of our farmers and ranchers for National Ag Day. In a
special proclamation, he encouraged all Americans to recognize "the
preeminent role that agriculture plays" in our daily lives and the
national economy, and to express "deep appreciation" for the folks who
feed and clothe us.
  It is now clear that these words of deep appreciation were, in this
case, a foil for deep cuts to farm policy. It adds insult to injury as the
old saying goes. Farmers aren't looking for praise; they're looking for a
fair shake. Sadly, in the first round of the Washington budget game, they
have come up short on both.

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            USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY COUNTY COMMITTEE 
                NOMINATION PERIOD BEGINS JUNE 15

Thursday, May 25, 2017        From the Farm Service Agency

  The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that the nomination
period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins on
Wednesday, June 15, 2017. 
  "County committees allow farmers and ranchers to make important
decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best
serve their needs," said Acting FSA Administrator Chris Beyerhelm. "We
strongly encourage all eligible producers to visit their local FSA office
today to find out how to get involved in their county's election. There's
an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which
includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers." 
  County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other
producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at
the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day
operations of FSA. Committees consist of three to 11 members and meet once
a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and
conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan
programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. Members
serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are over 7,700 farmer and
ranchers serving on FSA county committees. 
  Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations,
including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may
also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible
to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate
in an agency-administered program, and reside in the local administrative
area where the election is being held. 
  After the nomination period, candidates will encourage the eligible
producers in their local administrative area to vote. FSA will mail
election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 6, 2017. Ballots will
be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by
Dec. 4, 2017. Newly-elected committee members and alternates will take
office on Jan. 1, 2018. 
  To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A
nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee
elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms
for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA
office by Aug. 1, 2017. Locate your local office at
https://offices.usda.gov and visit to get more information.

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          NCC: MAINTAINING NAFTA BENEFITS IS CRUCIAL

Friday, May 19, 2017           From the National Cotton Council

  The National Cotton Council says the United States must remain a
participant in a vibrant North American Free Trade Agreement because it
has been and can continue to be a positive trading platform for U.S.
agriculture, including cotton and textiles.
  NCC Chairman Ronnie Lee said the NAFTA trading partners of Canada and
Mexico are significant markets for United States food and fiber exports.
With purchases exceeding 1 million bales, Mexico has emerged as one of
U.S. raw cotton's top five export destinations, and NAFTA plays a critical
role in North America's highly integrated textile and apparel supply chain.
  "With 95 percent of U.S. cotton exported in some form, we need positive
and stable trading relationships with our international customers to
maintain a healthy U.S. cotton sector," said Lee, a Bronwood, Ga., cotton
producer.
  He stated that as the process of updating and renegotiating NAFTA
proceeds, the U.S. cotton industry "urges the Administration to stay
involved in this important trade agreement and not weaken current
provisions. A strengthening of the textile rules of origin and a
modernization of NAFTA can lead to an expansion of jobs and exports for
our nation. This is a very sound way to grow our economy."

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"Cotton News" is a weekly publication of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
 For additional information contact PCG at 806-792-4904





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