Representative TJ Cox Leads Letter Urging USDA to Support Pima Cotton Growers in California
Today, Rep. TJ Cox led a letter along with Reps. Jim Costa (CA-16), Josh Harder (CA-10), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1) to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue urging the department to extend coronavirus relief programs to cotton growers in California and throughout the Southwestern United States.
The producers who grow, pick, and process food, fuel, and fiber for Americans across the country have stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that the products we rely on daily are still available to consumers and can still support the local rural economies that depend on them. Unfortunately, some of these essential industries have been left behind by recent coronavirus relief legislation.
Extra-Long Staple (ELS) or Pima cotton producers have faced a disproportionate amount of loss compared to upland cotton producers because of the lack of support and exclusion from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), a program meant to provide direct relief to farmers who have faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. Cotton farmers are continuing to lose money as the demand for ELS/Pima cotton has largely disappeared and ELS loan interest costs have increased. To combat this, Congressman Cox is urging the USDA to include ELS cotton in the CFAP program.
In the letter, the members wrote: “As Members of Congress who represent areas where ELS (Pima) cotton is grown, we are in constant contact with these producers from our districts hearing their frustrations and pleas for help firsthand… The ELS cotton grower community is a group of approximately 500 family-owned farms in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Given the current economic situation, ELS producers are in dire need of the timely assistance that can be provided through CFAP. Based on the price information released since the original CFAP announcement, we strongly urge USDA to include extra-long staple cotton in the program.”
Read the full letter here.
Find more information on the CFAP program, including how to apply, here.