The following notice was sent out by Plains Cotton Growers earlier today regarding an infrastructure grant agricultural groups, including TCGA, had pursued during the recently completed Legislative session. We would like to thank Kody Bessent and the PCG staff as well as Jeff Nunley with South Texas Cotton & Grain for vigorously pursuing the assistance package for businesses that were negatively impacted by the 2022 drought.
A valiant effort to secure $50 million for disaster relief for cotton infrastructure for the 2022 crop year was
unfortunately not included in the final budget and supplemental adopted by the Texas Legislature, despite
approving a $321.3 billion budget for the biennium as they adjourned Sine Die over the Memorial Day
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. is extremely appreciative of Sen. Charles Perry (District 28) and Rep. Cecil Bell
(District 3), as well as South Texas Cotton & Grain Association and the Texas Cotton Ginners Association for
the countless hours everyone spent advocating for this much-needed assistance to the cotton industry.
Additionally, we would like to thank D. Williams & Co., Inc. as well as many other cotton industry affiliates
for their assistance in this effort.
For context, Perry filed a proposed budget rider in the Senate on March 2, 2023 on behalf of the cotton
industry that would have established a one-time agricultural disaster relief grant out of federal funds
appropriated to the state from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The sole purpose of providing a block
grant was to address necessary expenses related to losses of revenue by cotton infrastructure because of natural
disasters — including drought during the 2022 crop year. At the behest of the industry, Bell filed an identical
budget rider in the House.
Negotiations ensued and the budget rider was then elevated for consideration among Senate and House
Conference Committees for HB1/SB1 and the Supplemental Budget SB30 respectively.
The rider ultimately was not included in the final legislative package, not for a lack of advocacy, but a lack of
overall discretionary spending available in HB1/SB1 by the legislature and competition with repurposed
funding available through ARPA within the Natural Resource category.
For reference, Texas was awarded federal funding through ARPA to be expended or obligated in seven general
categories related to COVID-19 assistance. The Natural Resource category was the most applicable category in
the supplemental budget for this issue. However, as the supplemental budget was completed, all unexpended
and unobligated balances remaining in this category were repurposed for providing supplemental assistance to
food banks in response to COVID-19.
While we are disheartened with the current outcome and still acutely aware of the severe financial strain on the
overall cotton industry coming out of the 2022 crop year, I remind readers of this not to despair. If you recall,
it took almost three years, multiple attempts and countless hours of strategy and strong leadership to ultimately
enact the seed-cotton policy producers have today.
This effort relating to infrastructure support is no different in that perspective. While unsuccessful on this
attempt, we simply have to regroup, restrategize and refocus on a long-term solution that will help ensure the
survival of the cotton industry in times of peril due to forces outside our control.
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.