USDA renews Cotton Ginning Cost Share program

By Justin Walker

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue authorized renewal of the Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) Program over the weekend at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tenn.

The program will help cotton farmers offset ginning costs incurred, as well as expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton.

“America’s cotton producers have now faced four years of financial stress, just like the rest of our major commodities, but with a weaker safety net,” Perdue said. “In particular, cotton producers confront high input and infrastructure costs, which leaves them more financially leveraged than most of their colleagues. That economic burden has been felt by the entire cotton market, including the gins, cooperatives, marketers, cottonseed crushers and the rural communities that depend upon their success.”

Sign up for the program, which is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), runs from March 12 to May 11.

Under the program, cotton farmers may receive a cost share payment, which is based on a farmer’s 2016 cotton acres reported to FSA multiplied by 20 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region.

The CGCS payment rate for Texas and others in the Southwest region is $19.65 and costs of ginning per acre is $98.26.

CGCS payments are capped at $40,000 per farmer.

To qualify for the program, cotton farmers must meet conservation compliance provisions, be actively engaged in farming and have adjusted gross incomes not exceeding $900,000. FSA will mail letters and pre-filled applications to all eligible cotton farmers.

Only farmers who planted cotton in the 2016 crop year, including failed cotton acreage but not prevented planting, are eligible for the program.

U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington of Texas applauded the program and the certainty it will bring to cotton farmers.

“The past four years have been some of the toughest on record for our cotton farmers,” Arrington said. “(The) action taken by Secretary Perdue recognizes that cutting cotton out of the farm bill’s safety net in 2014 had far-reaching consequences, not only for our cotton producers, but for our region’s agriculture economy as well.”

Arrington assisted in getting the cost share program renewed. In July 2017, he helped House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway secure the support of more than 100 colleagues requesting President Donald J. Trump and Perdue restart the program.

Dan Smith, state director for Texas Farm Bureau, commended Arrington for his work.

“As a fourth generation farmer, I’ve seen many changes and challenges in the cotton industry, but the last few years have been some of the toughest times we’ve had,” Smith said. “I’m thankful for the efforts of Congressman Arrington and the other agriculture champions who have been fighting very hard for this much-needed help in Washington. The timing is critical, especially for younger producers throughout the region.”

To learn more about the CGCS program, visit or contact a local FSA county office.

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