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- EDITOR’S NOTE -

Texas Industry Delivers Again

 
By Tommy Horton
Editor

 
In case you hadn’t noticed, more than half of the cotton planted in the United States in 2009 will be in Texas. Actually, that trend has been in the works for a few years. And let’s go ahead and say it right now. The cotton industry owes a debt of gratitude for how producers in this state are continuing to maintain production during these difficult economic times.

In one sense, it’s not surprising to see such big projections coming out of Texas. It certainly has been the cotton leader in the Belt for as long as I can remember. What is remarkable is how the state’s reputation for cotton quality and sustained production levels remains at such a high level.

The state planted 5 million acres of upland cotton in 2008 and delivered a 4.6-million-bale crop, despite hurricanes and tropical storms that severely damaged the south Texas crop. In 2007, total yield was above 8 million bales. In this year’s National Cotton Council planting intentions survey, Texas and the Southwest region showed the smallest projected regional drop in acreage for 2009 at 9 percent.

The message here is two-fold. Weather will always play a major role in total yields across Texas. However, even taking that fact into consideration, it’s remarkable that this big, wide and spacious state continues to keep its acreage shifts at a relatively low level while the rest of the Belt goes in the other direction. Granted, Florida and Kansas are projecting 3 percent and 7 percent planted cotton acreage increases respectively for 2009, and those are encouraging numbers. But the Texas acreage is what global market observers are watching with keen interest.

For that reason, we decided to take a closer look in this month’s magazine at how Texas feels about having this kind of pressure and expectation put on its industry. Do farmers and ginners there enjoy this leadership role? Is there a sense of pride in knowing that so much is expected from their state?

You’ll find the answers in our cover story on pages 8 and 9 as we talked to several Texas industry leaders on this topic. For a more personal view of how it feels to be a farmer or ginner in Texas, look for our interview with former Texas Cotton Ginners Association president Ron Craft on page 14 and Plains Cotton Growers’ president Barry Evans’ message on page 16.

In both instances, you’ll notice one consistent theme. Texas producers and ginners have a lot of confidence in their ability to deliver cotton quality to the customer – regardless of today’s economic environment. They know that expectations are high, but they seem to relish the opportunity, and their boundless optimism is refreshing.

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.



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