Cotton Links


Real Optimism Is Alive And Well

By Tommy Horton

Optimism in cotton production comes in various forms. When you least expect it, that’s when you hear an encouraging bit of news that gives everyone in the industry a reason to look forward to the 2009 season and beyond.

Two such instances occurred recently to give credibility to those statements. One was noticeable to anyone walking around the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis where 400 exhibitors were meeting farmers and doing business with a lot of potential customers.

No matter where I walked on that trade show floor, I ran into industry leaders who exuded a sense of enthusiasm about the future. The prospects for increased cotton acreage and higher prices were heard everywhere. It wasn’t merely a case of folks telling us what we wanted to hear. These were company representatives whose very survival depends on doing business with farmers and ginners.

On the Industry Comments page of this month’s issue (page 6), you can read what these persons had to say. We asked them to talk about why it’s important to maintain cotton’s infrastructure, and we were encouraged by the depth of the answers that we heard.

We observed a lot of positive things going on that would lead anyone to believe that our current recession may end later this year. We also heard economists and others talk about a rebound occurring in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a full-blown turnaround in 2010. If that isn’t enough to create a positive mood, I don’t know what it would take.

Another example of optimism occurred recently when I traveled to the farm of producer Charles Parker and his son-in-law Alan Jones in Senath, Mo. If you ever want to meet people passionate about cotton’s future, read their story on pages 8, 9 and 10. From the billboards on the highways that proclaim “This Is Cotton Country” to the desk clerks at the motels to the customers at the Cotton Patch Buffet restaurant in Kennett, the topic of conversation was the same.

Everyone is bullish on cotton, and it takes a lot to change anybody’s mind on that topic. Did a recent ice storm and snowstorm dampen enthusiasm about crop prospects for 2009? Definitely not.

After talking to Parker and his son-in-law, it’s obvious that these weather events were devastating, but the region survived. Farmers there now have other things on their minds – like trying to match their record yields of 2008. When the planters roll later this month, it will be business as usual in the Bootheel. It’ll be time to plant cotton again.

And that’s good news for everyone.

If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. Or send e-mail to: thorton@onegrower.com.

Return To Top