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In This Issue
The Kelley Family’s Goal – Ginning Excellence
Excessive Mid-South Temps Affect Crop
West’s Biggest Challenge? Finding Enough Water
Arkansas Embraces VR Technology
Producers Impressed By Tour Of Latin America
Is Georgia Ready To Pick Cotton First?
Cotton School Helps Merchants, Traders
Editor's Note: Burlison Gin Shows It’s A Family Business
Cotton's Agenda: Invaluable Investment
Overheard In Restaurant: “Make Mine Cottonseed”
Specialists Speaking
Cotton Ginners Marketplace: Managing Moisture At The Gin Is Crucial For Best Efficiency
Industry Comments
Web Poll: Spotlight On Weeds Early In The Season
My Turn: Constant Changes

Cotton School Helps Merchants, Traders

By Tommy Horton
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Linda Brooks and Chris Kramedjian had some preconceived ideas about this year’s International Cotton Institute at the University of Memphis.

They knew the school had an excellent reputation and figured they would learn a lot about cotton during seven weeks of instruction and field trips. But the experience even exceeded  their expectations.

The school, sponsored by the American Cotton Shippers Association, concluded another successful session this summer. And, once again, the students – most of whom were from other countries – walked away better informed about all facets of the cotton industry.

Brooks has worked for nine years at Cargill Cotton in Cordova, Tenn., and recently moved from accounting to merchandising. She is a contract administrator and is responsible for the input of contracts and carrying them from input to their final destination.

Kramedjian is a newly employed market analyst for FC Stone, a commodity trading company in Nashville, Tenn. The two participants were the only Americans in the class, which had 20 students.

Sneak Preview Of School

Sharing Important Information

Kramedjian wasn’t a stranger to cotton – mainly because he is native of Bakersfield, Calif., and had grown up around cotton fields for many years.

However, since he is new to the industry in his job at FC Stone, he was looking for as much information as he could find during the class.

“Cotton is a complicated commodity,” he said. “When you think about what goes on from the time the seed is planted to when you buy a shirt at the store, it’s amazing. I like the way you can talk to so many people in the industry and learn so much.”

Kramedjian also was impressed at how open and willing cotton leaders were about sharing information with the class. He said other commodity leaders are sometimes reluctant about being that open with their comments.

He also liked how hospitable and friendly cotton industry leaders are.

“It seems like everybody is intent on sharing as much information as possible with you,” he added. “It was a very welcoming experience this summer from start to finish – probably more than anything I’ve seen in any other business.”

Besides the visit to the Sturdivant farm, the class visited the world headquarters of Cotton Incorporated in Cary, N.C., as well as the USDA Classing Office in Memphis, Tenn., Staplcotn in Greenwood, Miss., and the USDA Gin Research Laboratory in Stoneville, Miss.

Brooks had the benefit of working with several staffers at Cargill who had already attended the cotton school. So, she was prepared to be exposed to a large amount of information in a short period of time.

Her fellow Cargill workers also said her knowledge of the cotton industry would be advanced by three years after participating in the school.

“Being from the merchant side, I had never been out on a farm, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to see one on our visit in Mississippi,” she said. “It really helped me understand the kinds of problems that farmers face. I really needed that perspective.”

The class visited the Mike Sturdivant farm in Glendora, Miss., and had a chance to learn about all facets of cotton production.

Eliminating Misconceptions

Brooks also said she was glad to have had Chinese students seated on either side of her during classes. The questions and answers from the Chinese students were beneficial and informative. However, she particularly enjoyed answering their questions about American culture.

“I can say this much for sure,” she said. “The misconceptions about each other were there, but the communication among us definitely eliminated those misconceptions.”

Contact Tommy Horton at (901) 767-4020 or For more information about next year’s International Cotton Institute, contact program director Bill Griffin at (901) 680-8281 or

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