During the National Cotton Council’s mid-year board meeting in New Orleans, NCC officers, directors, advisors and other industry leaders were updated on key issues.

Upcoming challenges and opportunities facing the industry were also addressed.

During the Chairman’s report, Jimmy Dodson said the most critical challenge before the U.S. cotton industry is timely passage of a new multi-year farm bill. He said the NCC’s Farm Policy Task Force has been closely monitoring this situation, reviewing various scenarios and considering options/strategy for the industry.

Among pressing trade matters the NCC has been involved in this year, Dodson said, are international contract defaults, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the Peruvian CVD investigation and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Regarding the WTO Doha negotiations, Dodson noted his involvement in a NCC delegation that participated in meetings in Geneva in conjunction with the annual WTO Cotton Development Assessment. During those meetings, the NCC had the opportunity to highlight the drastic changes in the cotton market over the past five years — and inform WTO officials that all cotton growers share the concern about cotton’s loss of market share in the world fiber market.

In terms of possible outcomes from the upcoming WTO Ministerial, Dodson said the NCC has emphasized that the reduction in support in the proposed US cotton policy should be recognized in the WTO.

Dodson said the NCC continues to work on several environmental regulatory concerns. Among those are pollinator protection, clean water permits, spill prevention and OSHA rulemaking. Along with work on these, the NCC is focused on the federal approval of new biotech crops and has joined other agricultural groups in emphasizing the need for new traits to fight resistant weeds.

Among other key 2013 NCC activities Dodson noted were: work by the NCC’s Contract Arbitration Study Committee, chaired by Ron Craft, a Texas ginner; ongoing efforts to improve US cotton flow by the NCC’s Performance and Standards Task Force, led by Bobby Greene, an Alabama ginner; and the NCC’s continued emphasis on contamination prevention through a variety of educational programs and articles in various publications, including Cotton’s Week.

“Despite our industry’s consistently high ITMF ratings in their contamination surveys,” Dodson stated, “we believe it is critical to remain vigilant and continue the efforts that have earned us an excellent reputation.”

John Maguire, the NCC’s senior vice-president, Washington Operations, provided an update on the status of the farm bill, as well as a review of key environmental and trade policy issues facing the U.S. cotton industry. He outlined the key differences between the respective farm bills and highlighted the possible Congressional schedule for the coming weeks. In particular, after Congress returns on Sept. 9, there will be only nine legislative days before Oct. 1.