Louisiana Cotton Farmers Can Access New Cost Share Program
WASHINGTON - Louisiana cotton farmers now have access to the Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program thanks to a policy change by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a change that Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, has long advocated for.
USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue announced the program over the weekend. Cotton producers may receive a cost share payment based on the producer’s 2016 cotton acres reported to the Farm Service Agency, which is administering the program. The sign-up period for the program runs from March 12 to May 11.
Dr. Abraham wrote to Perdue in January to advocate for the cost share program in an effort to assist Louisiana’s cotton producers, who have faced economic uncertainty due to low prices and global oversupply as well as damages suffered from weather events.
“This program offers meaningful, timely and targeted assistance to cotton growers to help with their anticipated ginning costs and to facilitate marketing,” Dr. Abraham wrote. “While the Cotton Ginning Cost Share program makes payments to cotton producers for cotton ginning costs, the benefits of the program are felt by the broader marketing chain associated with cotton and cottonseed, including cotton gins, cooperatives, marketers and cottonseed crushers and the rural communities that depend on them.”
Sec. Perdue said in a statement, “I hope this will be a needed help as the rural cotton-growing communities stretching from the Southeastern U.S. to the San Joaquin Valley of California prepare to plant. This infusion gives them one last opportunity for assistance until their Farm Bill safety net becomes effective.”
The CGCS program is the latest major policy changed implemented this year that aims to assist the cotton industry. The bipartisan budget agreement, which Dr. Abraham supported, contained “cotton fix” language to allow cotton producers access to more effective crop insurance programs.
Prior to the passage of the budget agreement, cotton farmers had to use the STAX program for their crop insurance, though, many producers would have preferred the ARC and PLC crop insurance programs that other row crop producers use. The budget agreement gave cotton producers access to those programs.