As the Agriculture Department opened a signup period for the cotton seed program, American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton explained the new program in a Market Intel post.
Although Congress took cotton out of the commodity title in the 2014 farm bill, "Congress, recognizing the need to provide risk management support to cotton producers, in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made cotton producers eligible for Title I farm programs by designating seed cotton, i.e. a combination of both cotton lint and cottonseed, a covered commodity effective for the 2018/19 marketing year," Newton wrote.
"The reference price for seed cotton was set at 36.7 cents per pound, and for this crop year cotton producers who own generic base acres can now enroll in either the Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage farm safety net program," he said.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., in a news release urged Mississippi farmers to enroll in either ARC or PLC by Dec. 7.
"Congress agreed to extend ARC and PLC eligibility to cotton to help producers overcome low prices and other persistent market problems. I encourage Mississippi cotton farmers to weigh their options and determine which risk management program will work best for them," said Hyde-Smith, the former Mississippi commissioner of agriculture and commerce.
She noted that Mississippi is one of the nation's most productive cotton-growing states, producing 1.4 million bales in 2017. The state is also a leading cottonseed producer.
Hyde-Smith also acknowledged that her predecessor, former Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., got the seed program through Congress with bipartisan support.