The key for producers’ long-term survival lies in innovation and technology. Those two things are how they’ll accomplish their goals. I would tell a farmer to hang in there the best way he can. Plant what makes you the most money, and then run the cash-flow statement. This will sound like a familiar statement, but I’d also tell a farmer to manage his crop as efficiently as possible. Even if he’s already efficient, he needs to raise the bar and become even better at what he does.
There might appear to be a number of issues that are negative for cotton producers. But the fact is global demand continues to be very high. All you have to do is look at what is happening in China. Economic growth in that country is exploding, and cotton demand is increasing. That is why cotton producers should take heart. When corn and soybean prices come down, we will see more profitability for cotton.
If you’re locked into cotton, you have to be excited. I know I am. Acreage may be down, but the price trends are going up. At least this gives us a chance to make some money. I’m just going to hang in there and keep doing what I’ve been doing. If a producer will pay attention to these prices, he can do some forward contracting and do pretty well. Because of this upside potential in cotton, we just need to look ahead and realize that we have some better days ahead. The key is maintaining a good relationship with China and continuing to be that country’s major supplier of cotton.
You have to be optimistic to be in this business. And that’s how I feel. From a commercial viewpoint, Syngenta and its competitors need to have everything in their toolboxes that the farmer needs to control weeds, insects and diseases. As for the farmer, he has to wear a lot of hats, but he needs to look to the future and figure out how to farm his land to its fullest potential. He has to be proactive.
Our industry knows how to
grow cotton more efficiently and economically than any other country
in the world. As long as we continue to have great varieties and emerging
technology, there is no reason why our farmers can’t continue
to be the major supplier of quality cotton to the world. On the High
Plains of Texas, we have three crops – cotton, cotton and cotton.
We have to be the best because we don’t always have the opportunity
to grow alternative crops. Sure, we have seen acreage shifts in the
last year, and some skeptics might think the glass is half empty for
cotton. I don’t buy that. The glass is half full, and from where
I’m standing it’s getting fuller.