What is in this article?:
- Washington currently is a town with a limited focus.
- “Budget and appropriations are all we talk about in D.C.,” said John Maguire, vice president for Washington operations for the National Cotton Council, during the 54th annual meeting of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
- Maguire said the continuing resolution budget passed by the House of Representatives requested $61 billion in cuts from non-defense discretionary spending. “That’s only 12 percent of the U.S. budget,” he said.
He said three primary philosophies exist for cuts.
- Put everything in deficit reduction. “Freshmen Republicans only hear ‘eliminate.’”
- Reduce direct payments.
- Target payments and create a payment trigger.
Modifying ACRE and continuing to shift to a revenue program may be part of the debate. Maguire said the renewable fuel blenders’ credit may not survive but could be diverted to renewable fuel infrastructure.
He said no funding exists after this year for a permanent disaster program.
Likely targets also include lower payment limitations and cuts in conservation programs. He said NCC and other agriculture interests remind Congress that agriculture took a $6 billion hit last year with the reinsurance reductions. “Do we need to cut ag more?”
He said the marketing loan is another key for the cotton industry. “It’s more valuable to cotton than it is to other commodities, and we’re trying to explain that to new members of Congress.”
And then there’s Brazil looming over farm bill debates. “We will need enough change in the cotton program to convince Brazil that they won or enough change to convince our trade representatives to fight for it.”