Posted on January 26, 2016

A decision on whether USDA can make cottonseed an “other oilseed” is coming soon, according to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Supporters believe listing cottonseed as a commodity under the 2014 Farm Bill would help troubled farmers. US cotton producers, lawmakers and even soybean producers have pushed for cottonseed to be considered an “other oilseed” under provisions of the bill. Such a designation could make cottonseed eligible for safety net programs like Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC).

Several USDA agencies are involved in the process. At issue is whether USDA has the authority to do so and whether such a move would be WTO compliant. Vilsack told USDA Radio, “The General Counsel’s office is involved, the Foreign Ag Service is involved, the Farm Service Agency is involved, so that I get a 360-degree review of this issue so we can try to figure out what we can do to be as helpful as we can be within the confines of the law.”

The oilseed category includes other commodities such as canola and flaxseed.

Some believe budget issues are a major question regarding a decision, an issue reportedly raised by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Earlier this month, 100 representatives in the U.S. House signed a letter to Vilsack supporting the designation.

More information is available here.