The provisions in the new Agricultural Act of 2014 (federal farm law) could be a good fit for many of the nation’s cotton producers but possibly not as much in the West.

During a National Cotton Council (NCC) farm bill meeting held March 19 in Maricopa, Ariz., NCC Senior Government Relations Representative Robbie Minnich spent one and a half hours combing through the new farm law’s cotton provision with about 75 growers and industry members.

Growers, including Lee Banning, asked about 20 questions about the law and its potential impact on their farming operations. Banning is not happy with some aspects of the law.

He said, “I think growers in the southwestern U.S. will get burned in this farm bill since most of us in this area grow alfalfa and forage crops which are not covered under the program.”

Banning is a partner in Santa Maria Farms in central Arizona which includes about 150 acres of Upland cotton and about 1,400 acres of alfalfa.

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“I think the jury is out on the cotton portion. If you are an alfalfa producer with cotton base and you rotate back and forth between cotton and alfalfa then this farm bill may cut your legs off.”

Banning says the old cotton base coverts to a generic base under the new law. If a drought or severe insect infestation led to crop failure, the new law does not have financial support or insurance programs available.

Minnich’s 39-slide PowerPoint presentation outlined the cotton provisions plus the commodity conservation and trade provisions. He explained what the NCC understands about the new farm law so far and what it doesn’t. Some of the details are under review by several USDA agencies.

Minnich says the cotton provision creates fundamental changes in cotton’s safety net, a greater reliance on crop insurance products, and continues the marketing loan program with some changes.

Five NCC representatives, including Minnich, conducted 49 farm bill meetings in 16 Cotton Belt states during March.