February 3, 2016

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (February 3, 2016) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today declined requests to designate cottonseed as an oilseed, citing a lack of authority and cost constraints. Such a designation would have provided struggling cotton farmers with more policy tools to help manage adverse market conditions.

National Farmers Union (NFU) was disheartened by the rejection and released the following statement by its president, Roger Johnson:

“Today’s decision is not only disappointing for the extremely distressed cotton sector, it will also be disappointing to the more than 100 members of Congress, senators, governors, state agriculture secretaries, and leaders from the farming community.

“America’s cotton industry is dealing with years of drought, multi-year price declines and international market distortion caused by China and other subsidizers. USDA’s decision ultimately makes it harder for U.S. growers to survive and leaves them more vulnerable to the future.

“NFU has continuously voiced the concerns of our cotton-producing members and stood opposed to programs that do little to support the cotton industry, such as the Stacked Income Protection Plan, which was enacted as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. As I stated in a letter to Secretary Vilsack last fall, we have a responsibility to cotton producers to ensure that an effective safety net is in place to safeguard cotton’s future.

“Through our continued work with Congress and USDA, we will address this critical issue for American agriculture.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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