Election year, budget pressure will affect ag policy

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Cotton, along with other U.S. farm commodities, will face” quite a challenging  and complicated year in Washington as farm group spokesmen  fight budget pressures and work through a farm bill debate,” says  National Cotton Council  chief of Washington affairs John Maguire.

Maguire, in a Farm Press interview at the recent NCC annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, said the farm bill debate will “entail discussion of new policy and perhaps policy the cotton industry has never worked with before. He says the cotton industry anticipates “more insurance-based, with more shallow loss revenue approaches.

“At the end of the day the challenge will be to encourage Congress to act expeditiously because farmers really need to know what the rules are going to be so they can continue to make investments and make their cropping decisions.” Maguire says. “We will be working very hard for good policy but also timely policy.”

He says election years always present a “unique challenge,” for farm programs. “But this one may be more so than those in the past because many of the members of the House are running in districts that have been redrawn. In the redistricting process members may not be running in their old districts but may be running in districts where they have a totally new constituency. As we get closer to the summer members are going to want to be back home and working with their new constituents.”

He says the pressure to meet those new constituents could result in a “rather short legislative session to try to accomplish things.”

Maguire said budget pressure remain a significant challenge to farm programs.

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