YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Weaving a cotton safety net
By Gary Joiner
Texas cotton farmers need help. Cotton prices are at their lowest level since the 2009 recession. Demand and exports are hurting. The value of the lint they grow is below the cost of production.
Unfortunately, the safety net for cotton contained in the latest farm bill isn't working, either. It's not catching the cotton farmers who are in 55 percent free fall in net farm income.
One element that would help is cottonseed. Texas farmers and others like them across the country are asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make cottonseed eligible for farm safety net programs. Currently, it is not. Vilsack can change that by classifying cottonseed as an "other oilseed." Let's hope he does.
A positive decision by the secretary is critical. It would help keep many farmers on the land. And it would also boost the confidence of lenders to partner with them for another crop year. Waiting for the next farm bill will be too late.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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