National Cotton Council officers and directors, along with other industry leaders attending the NCC’s mid-year board meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., were updated on key issues and upcoming challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

After reviewing the NCC’s major activities of 2011, NCC Chairman Charles Parker stated that throughout the federal budget process, the NCC has played an active role in contacts with the Administration and Congressional leaders and in combined communications with other agricultural groups to express strong opposition to any deficit reduction package containing disproportionate reductions for agriculture.

“We also have emphasized the need for adequate funding to craft a balanced farm bill and for the Agriculture Committees to make those policy decisions,” Parker said.

“Now, under the terms of the deficit reduction agreement, we face the very real possibility of effectively establishing the provisions for the next farm bill in the coming weeks.

“Thankfully, the Council’s Farm Policy Task Force was re-established in December 2009, which was well in advance of the normal timeline for the development of the 2012 farm bill.”

Parker told attendees the Task Force has been meeting regularly “to review budget constraints, political pressures for program changes, and the potential impacts of the World Trade Organization dispute with Brazil.

“While the central goal of the Task Force has remained the same — to maintain an effective safety net for US cotton — it instructed staff to continue to develop and review models that assist with the analysis of various policy options as well as alternative programs and delivery systems.”

He noted that the NCC’s Farm Policy Task Force had met just prior to the mid-year meeting’s open session to weigh the various farm program options in light of the current budget and political situation and the potential timetable for decision making.

John Maguire, the NCC’s senior vice-president, Washington operations, updated directors on environmental and trade issues as well as the budget and appropriations status, including key upcoming dates involved in the Budget Control Act of 2011’s enactment.