“If you hold it, they will come.” That paraphrase seems to describe the series of farm bill educational meetings conducted by The National Cotton Council, the USA Rice Federation and the land-grant universities over the last month.
In all, the NCC had more than 4,000 persons attend the 49 sessions it held from Feb. 25 to March 25 in every state in the Cotton Belt. Attendance ranged from a low of around 50 to a high of 250 growers at one meeting in Lubbock, Texas. USA Rice held some meetings in conjunction with the NCC and others alone.
Each of the meetings drew dozens of questions ranging from procedures for reallocating bases under the new law to how soon USDA might release the county average yields and payment schedules for the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) or Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) programs.
The NCC’s best guess for the latter is within the next 90 days. NCC staff members said they plan to conduct another round of meetings in the fall when more details such as the premium costs are available.