Sponsored By
South West Farm Press Logo

NCC's Gary Adams talks cotton planting, farm bill, exportsNCC's Gary Adams talks cotton planting, farm bill, exports

NCC President discusses the importance of educating newly elected Congressmen and women about the importance of cotton, agriculture and the safety net in the next farm bill.

Shelley E. Huguley

June 20, 2022

5 Min Read
National Cotton Council CEO/President Gary Adams visits with Farm Press following a private tour of the new USDA Lubbock Cotton Classification Complex.Shelley E. Huguley

While cotton planting is underway, if not complete, across farms throughout the Cotton Belt, in Washington D.C. and within commodity groups, conversations are igniting about the next farm bill.

Farm Press recently caught up with National Cotton Council President/CEO Gary Adams following his tour of the new USDA Cotton Classification Complex in Lubbock, Texas. He discussed the status of the 2022 crop, along with the upcoming farm bill and the important role NCC will play in educating a new class of Congressmen and women following the election – members likely with no previous farm bill experience. Read the following Q&A to learn more about what he had to say.

Q: Update us on crop progress across the Cotton Belt. Many producers are dealing with drought. What are you seeing?

A: We're moving along with the crop being planted. Across the U.S, we're approximately 90% planted. We do anticipate that we're going see more acres when we look across the U.S., probably up somewhere around 10% compared to where we were last year. So, we are going see more plantings and that includes here in Texas. The question mark's going to be, as we look across Cotton Belt, the significant drought conditions that Texas has been under and to some degree, Oklahoma and Kansas. Really, you could just talk about the Southwest, that has been under drought conditions going back to last fall. That's going be the factor that drives what the U.S. crop looks like. There's been a little bit of rain here in the last couple of weeks that's helpful. I think it gives more of a chance to some of the irrigated producers. Dryland right now is still a question mark. We've got to continue with those timely rains, so it's still a challenging year in front of us.

See, Uncertain cotton market supports price

Q: Any updates on the farm bill?

A: We're on the eve of the farm bill development, let's put it that way. We've got both this crop year and next crop year that'll be covered by the existing 2018 farm bill. What we anticipate is that as we go through the rest of 2022, the House and Senate ag committees will continue to hold hearings. In fact, the house has held some hearings in Washington D.C. The Senate's done a couple of field hearings. They've done one in Michigan, and then they'll do one on June 17th in Arkansas -- Senator Bozeman's home state. And we expect hearings will continue for the remainder of 2022. I really think that the heavy lifting in writing the farm bill will occur in 2023. I don't think they want to go too far down that road until after the elections, just because of the chance that we could see one or both chambers of Congress change in terms of who has the gavel. So, next year we anticipate will be a very busy year. We will try to plow through and get the farm bill written so that it can be in place when producers get ready to plant the 2024 crop.

Q: Are there one or two issues on which NCC will focus?

A: One, we know that budget baselines are always tight, so if there can be any enhancements, you have to address where the money is going to come from. That's always a challenge that has to be addressed.

I think the other fact that we need to really appreciate, and that growers need to understand, is it's going to be a significant education process for Congress, just to talk to them about the importance of cotton, the importance of agriculture and the importance of the safety net. As we look at when this farm bill is being developed by Congress, and as we get past this year's elections, we're probably going see as many as 200 or more members of Congress that were not in Congress when the 2018 farm bill was written, maybe as many as 24 to 25 Senators, that have not done a farm bill before. They've just heard about it. They really haven't been in the process and understand how critical that safety net is when we see the fluctuations and the volatility that occurs in markets and in weather.

See, Cutting inputs too deep is risky strategy

Q: Anything else pressing for cotton?

A: We're continuing to watch various trade issues and make sure we maintain those trade relationships that are important both for our U.S. textile industry, but also making sure that we can continue to keep export markets open. U.S.-China trade relations are always key, so that's one we're going continue to monitor very closely.

And then I would say the other challenge, and this has been one that has really hit our merchandising segment, is just supply chain and logistics issues. The cost and the time and the disruptions that have occurred in trying to move our crop into the marketing channels. You can list a myriad of issues, whether it be availability of trucks, availability of containers, availability of drivers, or getting those containers on the ocean carriers, going out to those international destinations, you can point to any of those factors and they they've made it a very challenging and costly year for our merchandisers. And right now, I don't see a lot of those factors changing, at least not in the near term.

Q: Is there a way NCC is working to help resolve those issues?

A: There are some things going on, both particularly within the federal maritime commission and the service transportation board about ways that could hold some of the ocean carriers more accountable, ways that could try to streamline some processes. So, yes, I know that supply chains are a big focus in Washington right now, both for food and agriculture in general. And we're going continue to monitor that and talk about the challenges that are being faced and see if there's ways to try to bring some relief back to the merchandisers and hopefully get some things in place to facilitate the movement of the products.

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like