The National Cotton Council is deeply concerned by the extent of the cuts to commodity, conservation and nutrition programs proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
These cuts represent 20 percent of the funding baseline for agricultural programs over the next 10 years, and come on top of $6 billion in cuts resulting from the renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement in 2010. Agriculture consistently has acknowledged that deficit reduction is a shared responsibility with the expectation that other programs will make equivalent reductions.
“Agriculture should not be asked to bear a disproportionate share in the federal deficit cutting process,” NCC Chairman and Senath, Missouri, cotton producer Charles Parker said. “We urge Congress to carefully weigh all options in the budget debate so that U.S. agriculture is not weakened.”
Parker warned that the severe cuts in Chairman Ryan’s proposed Budget Resolution, if enacted, could severely limit the Agriculture Committee’s ability to write an effective farm bill in 2012.
“Strong commodity prices have dramatically lowered farm program spending, but the Budget Committee must understand the volatile nature of commodity markets and that prices do not translate to profits when input costs escalate,” Parker added. “It is imperative that Congress maintain a strong safety net for times when farm prices and revenue decline.”
Parker also expressed appreciation to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for the Committee’s recent letter stressing the importance of agriculture being treated in a manner that is equitable to other areas of the federal budget.
The U.S. cotton industry understands the gravity and seriousness of the current budget situation and is committed to work with Congress to achieve a balanced and reasonable approach to deficit reduction that does not undermine the farm safety net for U.S. agriculture.