US textile mills can now qualify for financial help to modernise their facilities after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended a program of benefits to the sector.

The funding is available to textile manufacturers participating in the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program authorised by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.

Under this initiative, the Secretary of Agriculture will provide assistance to US textile manufacturers who invest an equivalent amount of funds in capital improvements to their operations by acquiring, constructing, installing, modernising, developing, converting or expanding land, plant, buildings, equipment, facilities, or machinery.

Payments under the program are based on the amount of cotton (domestic or foreign) consumed by the textile manufacturer after 1 August 2008.

Larry McClendon, chairman of the National Cotton Council (NCC), said the program "will help the industry improve its competitive position in the textile and apparel marketplace."

While Anderson Warlick, chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and NCC director, added the release of funds "is critically important given the financial challenges faced by US textile manufacturers."