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Southern Ginners Learn To Adapt

By Tommy Horton, Editor

Is it possible to find opportunity in the midst of difficult times? If you are a cotton ginner in the Mid- South, that is probably your mindset these days.

It certainly was the overriding theme at the Southern Cotton Ginners Association’s (SCGA) summer meeting at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville in July.

“Once a ginner accepts the reality that we are in challenging times, he can move on to what he should do about it,” says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president.

“Everybody wants to find a way to work through all of this.”

Tim Price

SCGA executive vice president Tim Price says ginners remain hopeful.

Outlook For Cotton
The main program included an impressive lineup of speakers, and the highlight was the final presentation from Anthony Tancredi of Louis Dreyfus Commodities in Memphis.

Not surprisingly, he focused on the cotton market in India and China and the future ramifications for the U.S. market.

Tancredi says the situation in those two countries encompasses the following factors:

  • China continues to unload part of its 50 million bale reserve but has probably only released about 10 percent of those stocks.
  • China realizes that it purchased too much cotton and is now concentrating more on polyester because of the low price of oil.
  • Ultimately, this will translate into lower cotton production in China.
  • India, meanwhile, has increased domestic cotton production and consumption and may not become as competitive in export markets.
  • India’s de-emphasis in the export market eventually may present new opportunities for U.S. cotton.
  • Ultimately, the United States must re-double its efforts to implement a plan to regain lost demand in the global cotton market. Other speakers touched on a variety of topics and included:
  • Harrison Ashley, executive vice president, National Cotton Ginners Association.
  • Bill Gillon, president and CEO, Cotton Board.
  • Rick Nelson, Agribusiness, Farm Credit Mid-America.
  • Tom Wedegartner, Director of Cottonseed Marketing, Cotton Incorporated.
  • Wes Morgan, manager, Rolling Hills Gin, New London, N.C.
  • Bobby Hardin, ag engineer, USDA-ARS. • Dave Albers, Monsanto/ Deltapine.

Fewer Acres
Price says all Mid- South ginners are aware of how cotton acreage has decreased in the last few years. The drop was particularly significant in 2015 because of low cotton prices.

For example, initial projections called for 176,000 cotton acres in Tennessee. But unexpected weather conditions, low cotton prices and competition from grain crops wound up lowering cotton acreage to 100,000.

“There’s no question that these are difficult situations, but our members are looking down the road,” Price says. “They are looking for ways to be more efficient. Most importantly, they are looking for ways to get past this situation. That proves to me that they are truly innovative.”

Contact Tommy Horton at (901) 767- 4020 or thorton@onegrower.com. Contact Tim Price at (901) 947-3104.