The last 22 years working for Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) have been fun. Two decades and more seem to have flown faster than a speeding bullet. Time flies when you’re having fun, and I’ve enjoyed every day.
Much has changed since I joined PCG in 1989 to run the Texas High Plains Boll Weevil Control Program. As I wrote in this column in September of last year, “The one constant in life is change.”
True to form and staying with that one constant, the next couple of months will see some significant changes in my life and location but there’ll be no change in my passion for our cotton industry. Looking back, changes have come hard and fast. Looking forward, we live in exciting times.
In the last 10 years or so, we’ve rid the U.S. Cotton Belt, other than the southernmost part of Texas, of the pesky cotton boll weevil. We’ve seen quality and yields soar as new and exciting varieties have come on the scene. And, we’ve seen producers embracing the genetically modified technology traits that positively impact their bottom lines through enhancement of their ability to combat insect and weed competition.
I’m excited by the new germplasm and traits in the pipeline that will further help our producers grow more and better cotton. Traits, such as water and nitrogen-use efficiencies, and stress tolerance. But I’m equally excited by the fiber qualities just over the horizon that will answer the call of our customers around the world.
Spinning mills are rightfully demanding the qualities and consistency they have grown to expect from U.S. cotton. But they’re also looking forward to continued improvements in fiber characteristics, such as length, strength and fineness, as well as new characteristics to help them in processing and with consumer desired qualities. Characteristics and qualities such as dyeability, wrinkle resistance or flame retardance.
U.S. cotton farmers, Texas cotton producers, producers in the High Plains of Texas where I’ve made my home these past 30 years, all have much to be proud of in the quality and quantity of the fiber they supply to the world market, as well as the sustainable and environmentally responsible way in which they grow it. I’ll take that pride with me and tell their story as I transition into a new life and location in Southeast Asia.
Bayer CropScience and New York-based textile and apparel company Olah Inc., recently signed a licensing agreement to use the Bayer CropScience cotton brand names FiberMax and Stoneville. As Olah Inc. and Bayer CropScience work to create a unique connection among cotton producers, spinners, merchants, textile manufacturers, retailers and consumers, I look forward to working more closely as a consultant in Southeast Asia to Olah Inc., helping as they develop new products, using best-in-class technology, production techniques and style.
The strong bonds of respect and friendship with the leadership of PCG – Executive Vice President Steve Verett, PCG’s officers, executive committee and Board – will continue with producers, agribusinesses, bankers and others across the Cotton Belt but from a distance.
If you’re a subscriber to PCG’s Email Service, or a listener to “PCG Today,” you won’t notice any change over the next few months as I continue to provide these services through the miracles of modern communications technologies from my new remote location under an agreement with PCG. With a 12-hour time difference, maybe PCG should resurrect a radio spot we ran a few years ago: “Around the clock, around the world, working for High Plains cotton producers!”
Here’s to the next 22 years and to “My Turn” to make a difference in a different way, from a different place. I hope time won’t fly too fast!
– Roger Haldenby, Lubbock, Texas