Cotton: USDA Announces 2021 Loan Rate Differentials

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    The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the 2021-crop loan rate differentials for upland and extra-long staple cotton, which are applied to the crop loan rate to determine the per bale actual loan rate.

    The differentials, also referred to as loan rate premiums and discounts, were calculated based on market valuations of various cotton quality factors for the prior three years. This calculation procedure is identical to that used in past years.

    The 2021 crop differential schedules are applied to 2021 crop loan rates of 52 cents per pound for the base grade of upland cotton and 95 cents per pound for extra-long staple cotton. The 2018 Farm Bill stipulates that the loan rate for the base quality of upland cotton ranges between 45 and 52 cents per pound based on the simple average of the Adjusted World Price for the two marketing years immediately preceding the next crop planting.

    However, the established loan rate cannot be less than 98% of the preceding year’s loan. The loan rate provided to an individual cotton bale is based on the quality of each individual bale as determined by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service classing measurements.

    These differentials are important to cotton producers because they are used to derive the actual loan rate for each bale of cotton – above (premium) or below (discount) the average per pound loan rate, depending on the grade or quality of the cotton. The actual loan rate is significant because it is used to determine any marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments.

    USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation adjusts cotton loan rates by these differentials so that cotton loan values reflect the differences in market prices for color, staple length, leaf, extraneous matter, micronaire, length uniformity and strength.

    Loan rates are posted on the Farm Service Agency website. Commodity loans are part of a broader suite of programs available to cotton producers. To apply for loans or other programs, contact your local USDA service center.

    Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Because of the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Contact your Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment. More information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at

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