The assistance, included in the FY23 omnibus spending package, includes US$3.74bn for disaster assistance for US ranchers and farmers, including cotton and other row crop producers.
It will also aid producers who have suffered losses of revenue, quality or production losses of crops (including crops prevented from planting in 2022), due to droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, tornadoes, winter storms, freeze, including a polar vortex, smoke exposure, and excessive moisture occurring last year.
The package also provides $100m for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make payments to cotton merchandisers who have experienced economic losses.
Schneider, a Louisiana producer, said the industry appreciates that the package includes $15.45m for cotton pest management activities, $4m for USDA’s cotton classing laboratories, and increased funding for cotton genetics and fibre quality research programmes within the Agriculture Research Service.
The agreement also directs USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to continue to work with stakeholders to better understand how to capture supplemental information for certain crops to help offset data losses from the discontinuation of agricultural statistics district level estimates.
NCC Chairman Ted Schneider said: “The US cotton industry is grateful that Congress approved this much needed legislation. This relief will help stabilise the cotton sector as many producers suffered devastating losses from this season’s extreme drought and other weather events and merchandisers who suffered economic loss during the pandemic.”
Other bill provisions include:
Growing Climate Solutions Act — Incorporates updated language from the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which directs USDA to establish a programme to register entities that provide technical assistance and verification for farmers, ranchers and foresters who participate in voluntary carbon markets with the goal of providing information and confidence to producers.
Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA 5) Reauthorisation — Reauthorises pesticide registration and review process user-fee programmes administered by EPA and increases registration and maintenance fees to support a more predictable regulatory process, create additional process improvements, and provide resources for safety, training, bilingual labelling, and other services to advance the safe and effective use of pesticides.
Pesticide Registration Review Deadline Extension — Extends deadline for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete registration review decisions for all pesticide products registered as of 1 October 2007. EPA is facing a significant backlog of pesticide registrations due to a variety of factors over the past several years, which raises potential implications for continued access to numerous crop protection tools. With this extension, EPA will be allowed to continue its registration review work through 1 October 2026.