Letter from David Scott to Vilsack appeals for aid to U.S. cotton merchandisers

headshot of Representative David ScottRepresentative David Scott (official Congressional photo)

U.S. Rep. David Scott, who represents Georgia’s 13th Congressional District, and who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, appealed for funds to provide aid to the nation’s cotton merchandisers, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Scott’s congressional district extends into South Cobb.

Scott requested that the funds come from a portion of $500 million in USDA funding for relief from agricultural market disruptions.

He wrote in the press release announcing the letter to Vilsack, “Cotton-related professions provide 53,000 jobs in Georgia, and cotton’s overall impact in the state exceeds $3 billion. The state of Georgia ranks third nationally in cotton production and acres planted.”

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Here is an excerpt from the letter, dated December 9, 2021:

Mr. Secretary, our nation’s cotton industry is experiencing unprecedented supply chain disruptions. And, our nation’s cotton merchandisers are being significantly impacted by COVID-related demand erosion and by supply chain disruptions. And, this has now created unparalleled costs and losses impacting our merchandisers of U.S. cotton. 

And, as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I stand ready to work together with you, as a partner, in bringing this very much needed financial help to our merchandisers of U.S. cotton. And, Mr. Secretary, my request to you is very important to me and, most certainly, to the cotton industry because of the important role that our cotton merchandisers play in providing the liquidity and the risk management for all our U.S. cotton producers and farmers.

Background

On September 29, Secretary Vilsack announced a $3 billion package that included $500 million for agricultural industries that were undergoing market disruption.

“American agriculture currently faces unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts,” said Vilsack. “The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every stage of our food supply chain, from commodity production through processing and delivery. Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners increasingly experience the impacts of climate change as severe storms, floods, drought and wildfire events damage their operations and impact their livelihoods. We know these challenges will continue into 2022, and others may emerge. Through this comprehensive set of investments, USDA will take action to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever, assist producers grappling with drought and market disruptions, and help school nutrition professionals obtain nutritious food for students. Tackling these challenges head-on better positions USDA to respond in the future as new challenges emerge.”

The bullet point in the press release described the funds for market disruption as follows:

$500 million to provide relief from agricultural market disruption, such as increased transportation challenges, availability and cost of certain materials, and other near-term obstacles related to the marketing and distribution of certain commodities, as part of Secretary Vilsack’s work as co-chair of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.

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