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Program launched to aid cotton farmers as support payments end

 JACKSON — Cotton farmers across the nation must adjust to the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that have ended support payments for that commodity. Here in Mississippi, cotton is still a major row crop bringing in more than $331 million in 2013.

With support payments ending, a new transition program is now available to assist farmers with the transition until the new crop insurance product is available.

“There are a lot of differences that farmers are going to have to deal with in the new Farm Bill,” said Mississippi Farm Services Agency Executive Director Michael Sullivan. “With this new transition assistance program, cotton producers now have a risk management tool in place.”

The Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) provides interim payments to cotton producers during the 2014 crop year until the Stacked Income Protection Plan, a new insurance product, becomes available. CTAP applications approved before Oct. 1 are subject to congressionally mandated automatic reductions of 7.2 percent for the 2014 crop year. Applications approved after Oct. 1 will be reduced by the required 7.3 percent for the 2015 crop year.

Sullivan said that the enrollment period for CTAP is open through Oct. 7. He added that farmers will be able to get help with the new CTAP program.

“Mississippi State and Alcorn State universities will be developing tools on how to administer the program. The Farm Service Agency will also have educational sessions that will be announced soon,” Sullivan said.

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