Although the National Cotton Council was able to attain its goals of protection payment eligibility requirements and current payment limits during the congressional budgeting process, Woods Eastland, the organization's chairman, says, “We're concerned about the ramifications of these provisions in the next farm bill debate.

“Our actions to protect the budget authority and the structure and eligibility provisions of the current act will build the foundation for our position on new legislation,” he says.

Eastland, head of the StaplCotn cooperative at Greenwood, MS, gave credit to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for “working hard to develop budget packages that minimize the damage to the current farm law structure and to producer income.”

The council and virtually every other farm and commodity organization supported rejection of the Grassley-Dorgan payment limit amendment, which would have reduced the overall payment limit cap from $360,000 to $250,000, while eliminating the three-entity rule that would have required direct attribution of payments and redefining what is considered “actively engaged.”

The amendment would also have made the use of commodity certificates count toward a producer's payment limit.

The Step 2 program, while not maintained through the life of the farm bill, was not immediately eliminated as had been proposed by USDA. — Farm Press Daily