A few months ago, there was a sense of cautious optimism about the possibility of an excellent Texas cotton crop in 2010. As it turns out, nothing so far has dampened that enthusiasm.
This was the general attitude seen everywhere at last month’s Texas Cotton Ginners Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Lubbock. Although the Cotton Belt’s largest production state is vulnerable to unexpected weather events, all signs point to plenty of soil moisture as planting season begins.
Even more encouraging for TCGA members was the news from USDA projecting an increase of 600,000 planted acres of cotton in Texas for 2010. Another positive trend is the current price for cotton, which has fluctuated between 75 cents and 85 cents on the New York
“Generally speaking, I think everybody’s mood was very optimistic and upbeat at our Lubbock meeting,” says TCGA executive vice president Tony Williams. “And the attitude has probably improved even more since then because of additional rain the High Plains has received.”
When the environment is conducive to a good cotton crop throughout the state, it has a way of filtering down to ginners and other parts of the supply chain.
Big Turnaround For 2010?
The state is gearing up for what could be a dramatic increase in cotton production. This would be in stark contrast to what happened in 2009 when a drought hit South Texas and prevented producers from planting a crop – although some planted for insurance.
“Even if we didn’t have the excellent price out there right now, Mother Nature still determines what we can do in Texas,” says Williams. “It all boils down to whether we get rain or don’t get rain.”
A year ago, the High Plains was dealing with a dry start to the planting season, and the Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley were already in the midst of a drought.
At this point in the spring, the High Plains recently received an unexpected three-inch rain in the Lubbock area in late April, and the southern part of the state has successfully planted its crop. Both situations are an early sign that this has the potential to be an excellent year for cotton production in all regions of the state.
Serious WTO Case
Even with the good start to the planting season in Texas, Williams says TCGA members continue to monitor other events that can have an impact on the ginning sector. Specifically, he is referring to the ongoing WTO Brazil case, which has resulted in recent negotiations between the United States and Brazil.
“It is still alarming that our country is helping Brazil’s cotton industry to the tune of $147 million,” says Williams. “I think a lot of us still fear that Brazil will have some kind of influence on the writing of the 2012 Farm Bill. I’m still confident that the National Cotton Council and other ag organizations can offer leadership on that situation.”
He also points to other issues such as air quality, immigration and labor as major topics that will remain a priority for TCGA in the next year.
In reviewing cotton production stability in Texas and its impact on the ginning sector, Williams says the state is fortunate that many regions can only grow cotton as opposed to multiple crops. For that reason, Texas is able to maintain its cotton production each year.
Other events and trends were the topic of discussion at the TCGA meeting such as the continued adoption of the on-board module systems from Case IH and John Deere.
Williams says gins have implemented numerous systems to make their operations more compatible with these new module harvesters.
“Our ginners are working through these situations and doing the best they can to service their customers,” he adds.
Williams had high praise for the exhibitors who participated in the Trade Show and later attended the annual awards banquet.
Outgoing TCGA president Keith Mixon pre-sided over the banquet and passed the gavel to new incoming president Jerry Multer. Dennis Flowers, general manager of the Sudan Farmers Cooperative Gin, was honored as “Ginner of the Year.”
Cotton Farming presented a $3,000 check to TCGA’s scholarship fund. In another significant development, the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust paid $3.75 million to TCGA gins participating in its program. This is the fourth straight year for record dividends that were paid to member gins.
TCGA will conduct its summer membership meeting on June 27-29 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.
Contact Tommy Horton at email@example.com or (901) 767-4020. For more information about TCGA, call (512) 476-8388 or go to www.tcga.org.