Texas Agriculture July 1, 2016 : Page 13

Sign-up underway for Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program By Jessica Domel News Editor Texas cotton farmers have until Aug. 5 to enroll in the U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Cotton Ginning Cost-Share pro-gram. The program, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vil-sack, is designed to provide mean-ingful, timely and targeted assis-tance to cotton growers to help with anticipated ginning costs and to fa-cilitate marketing. An estimated $300 million in as-sistance payments will be available through USDA Farm Service Agen-cy (FSA). Payments are expected to go out in July. “I was glad to hear about it (the program),” Ricky Yantis, Lamb County cotton farmer and chair of the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Cot-ton Advisory Committee, said in an interview with the TFB Radio Network. “We’ve been waiting a long time to get word on assistance. There have been several ideas float-ing around for a while. We’re just glad to finally see Secretary Vilsack and the USDA have recognized the dire straits cotton farmers are in.” Texas farmers are eligible to re-ceive a one-time payment of $36.97 per acre of cotton planted in 2015, as reported to FSA. According to FSA, the average ginning cost for each production region and the amount of reported cotton acres were considered in de-veloping an amount each area is eli-gible to receive. “It will certainly help and come in handy as there were a lot of produc-ers in the last year who struggled to make ends meet,” Yantis said. “At the end of the year, there was even a lot of trouble financing and restruc-turing. All of this money will come in and help secure future progress for the cotton industry that’s really struggling right now.” Following USDA’s announce-ment regarding the program, cotton groups in Texas and across the U.S. expressed their appreciation for the That includes a $40,000 per produc-short-term solution. er payment limit, requirement to be “We had hoped for some flex-actively engaged in farming, conser-ibility in the payment limit, but vation compliance and a $900,000 we are grateful for the assistance, adjusted gross income limit. because our produc-ers certainly need it,” I was glad to hear Johnie Reed, presi-dent of Plains Cotton about it (the program), Growers (PCG) and We’ve been waiting a long a cotton farmer from time to get word on Kress, said in a state-ment. “We recognize assistance. that this is a program —Ricky Yantis for the near term, and we remain committed Lamb County to working with Con-gress and others in trying to estab-Farm groups, including TFB and lish cottonseed as an ‘other oilseed’ the American Farm Bureau Fed-under Title I of the 2014 Farm Bill, eration, encouraged USDA to con-which would provide long-term sta-sider the gin cost-sharing program bility for our industry.” and the inclusion of cottonseed as According to FSA, the program an oilseed in the farm bill to help will have the same eligibility re-cotton farmers hurt by high input quirements as the 2014 Cotton prices, low commodity prices and Transition Assistance Program. the absence of an effective farm bill safety net. “Our commodity committee has discussed several times over the past few meetings about some kind of assistance. We spent a lot of time talking about the cotton seed des-ignation as an eligible oilseed, and we focused a lot of efforts on those comments until the USDA finally said that wasn’t going to work,” Yantis said. “Secretary Vilsack said at the time that it wasn’t going to work, but that he was willing to try to find something that would. It’s always nice to have them recognize the fact that our input costs are going up and everything we do is getting higher and higher yet we’re selling cotton for the same price my daddy sold cotton for in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.” Sign-up for the program is cur-rently underway and will continue through Aug. 5 at FSA offices. Program details can be found here: http://bit.ly/1suvjFU. Got posts? We’ve got the driver. Powerful driving force J ULY 1 , 2016 Q Q Drives most types of posts up to 3.5” in diameter Runs off any small air compressor Portable, lightweight, easy to use Designed & manufactured by a rancher Q Q Q fencepostdriver.com | 800.980.7599 Starting at $450 13

Sign-Up Underway for Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program

Jessica Domel

Texas cotton farmers have until Aug. 5 to enroll in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program.

The program, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, is designed to provide meaningful, timely and targeted assistance to cotton growers to help with anticipated ginning costs and to facilitate marketing.

An estimated $300 million in assistance payments will be available through USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Payments are expected to go out in July.

“I was glad to hear about it (the program),” Ricky Yantis, Lamb County cotton farmer and chair of the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Cotton Advisory Committee, said in an interview with the TFB Radio Network. “We’ve been waiting a long time to get word on assistance. There have been several ideas floating around for a while. We’re just glad to finally see Secretary Vilsack and the USDA have recognized the dire straits cotton farmers are in.”

Texas farmers are eligible to receive a one-time payment of $36.97 per acre of cotton planted in 2015, as reported to FSA.

According to FSA, the average ginning cost for each production region and the amount of reported cotton acres were considered in developing an amount each area is eligible to receive.

“It will certainly help and come in handy as there were a lot of producers in the last year who struggled to make ends meet,” Yantis said. “At the end of the year, there was even a lot of trouble financing and restructuring. All of this money will come in and help secure future progress for the cotton industry that’s really struggling right now.”

Following USDA’s announcement regarding the program, cotton groups in Texas and across the U.S. expressed their appreciation for the short-term solution.

“We had hoped for some flexibility in the payment limit, but we are grateful for the assistance, because our producers certainly need it,” Johnie Reed, president of Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) and a cotton farmer from Kress, said in a statement. “We recognize that this is a program for the near term, and we remain committed to working with Congress and others in trying to establish cottonseed as an ‘other oilseed’ under Title I of the 2014 Farm Bill, which would provide long-term stability for our industry.”

According to FSA, the program will have the same eligibility requirements as the 2014 Cotton Transition Assistance Program. That includes a $40,000 per producer payment limit, requirement to be actively engaged in farming, conservation compliance and a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit.

Farm groups, including TFB and the American Farm Bureau Federation, encouraged USDA to consider the gin cost-sharing program and the inclusion of cottonseed as an oilseed in the farm bill to help cotton farmers hurt by high input prices, low commodity prices and the absence of an effective farm bill safety net.

“Our commodity committee has discussed several times over the past few meetings about some kind of assistance. We spent a lot of time talking about the cotton seed designation as an eligible oilseed, and we focused a lot of efforts on those comments until the USDA finally said that wasn’t going to work,” Yantis said. “Secretary Vilsack said at the time that it wasn’t going to work, but that he was willing to try to find something that would. It’s always nice to have them recognize the fact that our input costs are going up and everything we do is getting higher and higher yet we’re selling cotton for the same price my daddy sold cotton for in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.”

Sign-up for the program is currently underway and will continue through Aug. 5 at FSA offices.

Program details can be found here: http://bit.ly/1suvjFU.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Sign-Up+Underway+for+Cotton+Ginning+Cost-Share+Program/2522424/316898/article.html.

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