The National Cotton Council joined 33 other organizations in a letter to President Obama and House and Senate leaders seeking prompt action on the debt ceiling/deficit reduction negotiations that do not require disproportionate cuts in agriculture and related programs.

The agriculture and agribusiness organizations also emphasized the importance of allowing House/Senate agriculture committees’ members determine where modifications and reductions are made because these members have the expertise to best evaluate specific programs.

The groups’ letter, on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/2011/ceiling.cfm, stated that, “(A)griculture is prepared to take a proportionate share of budget cuts provided everything is on the table. Last year, agriculture absorbed a net $6 billion reduction, according to the Congressional Budget Office, thus making it clear we have and will do our part to help with spending and deficit control.”

Also urged was that consideration be given to providing sufficient resources to support policy that underpins the ability to produce food, fiber, feed and fuel — the rural economy’s lifeblood.

“In this time of economic uncertainty and weather-related disasters, the farm bill provides safeguards for farmers and ranchers to consistently provide a safe and stable food supply,” the organizations emphasized.

“The farm bill also provides assistance for our nation’s most vulnerable people, helps to conserve valuable natural resources, encourages the production of renewable energy, and aids in the economic development of rural communities.

“Agriculture is among the sectors that will continue to lead our economic recovery and ensure domestic and global food security.

“Reaching a rational, long-term agreement on a balanced package that addresses deficit reduction and the debt ceiling will help ensure our nation remains the leader of the global agricultural economy and will establish the certainty needed to write a strong and effective farm bill.”