The National Cotton Council’s Board of Directors has taken a timely position regarding reclass procedures for bales contaminated with plastics.
Is this a real concern?
■ Yes. To maintain U.S. cotton’s reputation, the industry remains steadfast in eliminating plastic contamination from lint. However, the frequency of 71/72 plastic calls in U.S. cotton bales by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service continues to increase.
The rapid increase in spot market discounts reinforces the unmarketability of 71/72 bales with our textile customers. The 2019 crop loan schedule discounts for plastic are -510 points for 71 calls and -775 points for 72 calls.
However, the current spot quotation for both 71 and 72 calls is -4000 points. These larger market discounts will translate into much larger discounts in the loan schedule in the upcoming years.
How is the NCC addressing the situation?
■ Earlier this year, the NCC’s Quality Task Force appointed a lint contamination subcommittee. Along with other industry leaders, it assessed the market implications of plastic contamination in bales with a 71/72 call, as well as options regarding the classing/reclassing of bales with a 71/72 call.
The NCC’s Board recently voted to accept the QTF’s recommendation and adopted the following position: “Due to the negative impact of plastic contamination on the marketing of U.S. cotton in the global and domestic market, it is recommended that beginning with the 2020 crop, any U.S. bale designated as 71 or 72, either during the initial classification or upon reclassification, retain that designation.
Further, to promote lint quality transparency and stewardship, it is recommended that producers and ginners refrain from reclassing 2019 crop bales designated solely as 71 or 72.”
Subsequently, a letter about these recommendations was sent from NCC Chairman Mike Tate to the NCC’s ginner and producer members. The letter was co-signed by the American Cotton Producers, National Cotton Ginners Association, American Cotton Shippers Association, Amcot — America’s Cotton Marketing Cooperatives, National Council of Textile Organizations, Supima, Cotton Growers Warehouse Association, Cotton Warehouse Association of America, National Cottonseed Products Association, and the Cottonseed and Feed Association.
The letter stated that these recommendations are expected to be adopted and incorporated into USDA-AMS policy beginning with the 2020 crop. It is important to note that the NCC recommendations are intended to apply solely to reclassing on bales containing plastic and not to any other quality factors.
Currently, the classing system allows for a reclass of a bale by drawing a new sample and submitting it to the classing office. The new classing data overwrites the original class and, with the exception of denoting that the bale was reclassed, the record does not indicate why the bale was reclassed.
Tate’s letter also emphasized that “the ability for 71/72 calls to be overturned by reclass has been a major concern of the industry. All gins and warehouses are urged to remind their licensed samplers that it is imperative not to tamper with drawn samples.”
The letter states that addressing plastic contamination is a joint stewardship responsibility of producers and ginners. Resources for lint and seed cotton contamination prevention are available on the NCC’s website at http://www.cotton.org/tech/quality/contamfree.cfm.
Gary Adams is president/CEO of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.