Sometimes we can peer into the proverbial crystal ball, such as the one depicted on the front cover, and see things clearly. Other times, we may discern a trend forming in the glass, but details are still a bit fuzzy as circumstances continue to mold and shape the vision we are straining to make out.
In November, we called on our readers via the Web Poll, seeking their opinions on what factor will create a positive impact on the demand outlook for U.S. cotton in 2010. Will it be continued economic recovery domestically and globally, rain in China, a weak dollar, stock (securities) prices or, perhaps, all of the above?
Although 52 percent of the respondents say all of these factors need to be aligned to create a positive impact on the demand outlook, a respectable 29 percent believe continued economic recovery will play the largest role in keeping the U.S. cotton boll rolling next year. Rain in China and a weak dollar tied in the poll, with each bringing in seven percent of the vote, followed by stock (securities) prices with five percent.
On the subject of continued economic recovery, Dr. John Robinson, Extension economist-cotton marketing with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, says although he cannot give a definite percentage or weight to the topic, he does say that reported economic recovery is an important factor here (in the United States) and will continue to be an important factor in 2010.
Robinson also notes that he is hearing there are signs of recovering demand for quality cotton in China, following adverse weather conditions that occurred during its harvest season. Even if the bad weather didn’t reduce China’s actual yield, it probably affected the grade enough that they would be more interested in importing cotton to fill that shortfall.
A weak dollar also should create demand for U.S. cotton overseas, so that’s another positive factor to consider, he adds.
Following is a sampling of the comments we received from our readers who voted in the November Web Poll in which they considered multiple factors that might create a positive impact on the demand outlook for U.S. cotton in 2010.
• “An adherence to the policy of producing and delivering the highest quality product will be a factor.”
• “At these prices, we will overproduce cotton in 2010 and be right back at 50 cents again.”
• “The new economic adjustment assistance program included in the 2008 Farm Bill will have a significant impact by preserving spinning capacity and even attracting new investment to the United States.”
• “The mythical advent of the $5 per bushel soybean.”
No matter what factor or factors affect whether cotton’s demand outlook falls into the positive range, it goes without saying that every U.S. cotton producer is hoping that it gets there in 2010. However, for this month’s Web Poll, we will shift our focus from outside forces, which are sometimes uncontrollable, to a topic of which U.S. cotton producers can take advantage if they so choose.
Jay Hardwick, a Louisiana cotton producer who currently is serving as chairman of the National Cotton Council (NCC), strongly encourages other U.S. cotton producers to consider participating in the multiple conservation programs available under the 2008 Farm Bill.
Read more about these possibilities and opportunities in NCC’s “Cotton’s Agenda” on page 25, then cast your vote and share your thoughts on this subject in the “Comments” section.
To participate, go to www.cottonfarming.com. The results of the January poll will be reported in the Cotton Farming March issue.
Web Poll Results
In November, we asked: What factor will create a positive impact on the demand outlook for U.S. cotton and why?
• Continued economic recovery – 29%
• Rain in China – 7%
• A weak dollar – 7%
• Stock prices – 5%
• All of the above – 52%
January Web Poll Question
Do you plan to take advantage of the funding that is available for any of the multiple conservation programs under the 2008 farm law?
(3) It depends
Register your vote at www.cottonfarming.com.