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Oklahoma cotton leaders to USDA: Expedite disaster aid

Oklahoma cotton farmers, suffering from the worst drought in the history of the state, are urging the USDA to move faster with disaster aid, according to testimony given recently by Danny Robbins, Altus, Okla., cotton farmer and member of the Oklahoma Cotton Council Board of |Directors.

Robbins testified at a regional hearing of U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas’ House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Rural Development and Research at El Reno.

Robbins was one of several Oklahoma agricultural leaders invited to give committee members important background information on farmers’ attitudes on several important developments Congress will act on in the near future.

Robbins told committee members over 72 percent of the 2006 Oklahoma cotton crop is listed in either abandoned or in poor to very poor condition. ”Those farmers who do harvest a crop this year will have extraordinarily high energy and input costs,” Robbins told them. ”I respectfully urge you to continue to work with your colleagues to approve much needed emergency disaster legislation.”

Robbins told the group the current farm law continues to provide a stable and effective national farm policy for U. S. farmers.

In additional testimony, he explained that the cotton industry strongly supports continuation of the marketing loan, which responds to low prices, but does not cause low prices. ”The marketing loan ensures U.S. cotton farmers are not residual suppliers in world markets because they are unable to compete with the treasuries of foreign markets,” Robbins testified.

Robbins told the group cotton farmers are ready to work with all interests to develop and support continuation of a balance and effective policy for all U.S. agriculture. He explained that “creating a 2007 farm bill will be a challenge and farm organizations, commodity and livestock groups, specialty crops and conservation and nutrition groups must work together to maintain effective farm policy.”

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