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Making Connections

Gary Adams

Gary Adams

A sold-out audience of the most influential executives in the global cotton fiber and textile business, representing 26 countries, attended the ninth Sourcing USA Summit last month in California.

Who conducts the Summit?
Cotton Council International (CCI) hosts the biennial Summit in cooperation with Cotton Incorporated and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The U.S. cotton industry and its allied industries are integral supporters. The 2016 Summit exporter sponsors included: Jess Smith & Sons Cotton Co.; White Gold Cotton Marketing LLC; Allenberg Cotton Co.; Cargill Cotton; Toyoshima; PCCA; Calcot Ltd.; Omnicotton; COFCO Agri; Glencore; Staplcotn; Toyo Cotton; ECOM; J.G. Boswell Co.; Cotton Growers Cooperative; Engelhart CTP (US) LLC; Olam Cotton; San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association; and Supima. Allied industry sponsors were: Uster Technologies; Wakefield Inspection; Cargo Control Group; Cotton Outlook; Rieter Textile Systems; ICE Futures U.S.; CoBank; TransGlobal Inspections; Bayer CropScience; Applied DNA Sciences; Monsanto; Murata Machinery Ltd.; and INTL FCStone Merchant Services.

What is the forum’s primary objective?
The event provides attendees ample opportunities to network and strengthen connections with industry counterparts from around the globe – with the goal of increasing U.S. cotton exports. This year’s event, which facilitated U.S. cotton networking opportunities for some 415 delegates from 31 countries, had an audience that represented 16 percent of global cotton use.

The Summit also consistently features a lineup of stellar speakers and a carefully constructed agenda that focuses on the major economic, environmental and policy factors affecting the market for cotton and cotton products. Challenges and opportunities facing the general use of cotton in the textile supply chain are explored, and specific topics surrounding U.S. cotton, including innovation and global economic issues, are covered.

NCC Chairman Shane Stephens reminded Sourcing USA Summit attendees of the U.S. cotton industry’s commitment to reliably supply quality fiber.

NCC Chairman Shane Stephens reminded Sourcing USA Summit attendees of the U.S. cotton industry’s commitment to reliably supply quality fiber.

Any key themes from the 2016 Summit?
National Cotton Council (NCC) Chairman Shane Stephens welcomed attendees by reiterating the value of strong industry relationships, the consistent quality and reliable supply of cotton grown in the United States, and the commitment of U.S. cotton producers to maintaining their strong relationship with the global cotton supply chain. CCI President Keith Lucas told the audience that, “Cotton has a history of innovation, of reinventing and adapting to aspects of its complex supply chain to keep pace with the needs and expectations of the market and consumers, alike.”

Included as part of the agenda’s economics and innovation focus was a cotton economic update by Jody Campiche, the NCC’s vice president, Economics and Policy Analysis; a “Bull and Bear” panel composed of U.S. exporter and textile mill representatives; and updates on agricultural, fiber quality and textile innovations from Cotton Incorporated staffers.

At a time when cotton is facing increasing competition, such as man-made fibers that can offer greater length uniformity at a lesser cost, it was not surprising that the themes of change and challenges to business as usual permeated this year’s conference. It’s also why CCI Executive Director Bruce Atherley underscored the importance of unity in his closing remarks by emphasizing, “We must all work together to overcome man-made fibers and other challenges that get in the way of cotton consumption.”

Gary Adams is president/chief executive officer of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming magazine page.