What’s the best way to survive the current environment for cotton? I could try and give you a lot of answers to that question. And I could even offer some technical informaton from the industry experts, but I think all of us would agree that it starts with your attitude. No matter what industry segment we’re discussing, if a person doesn’t have the right mindset going forward, chances are that he (or she) will have difficulty surviving.
In particular, I was curious how ginners were feeling about the current environment that has created a drop in cotton acreage in every region of the Belt. It seemed appropriate because our September magazine always has a lot of ginning information as this sector prepares to process the crop in October and November.
We know that producers made their planting decisions back in the spring when they diversified their crop mix because of lower cotton prices. But, how does a gin prepare for lower volume, and how does it plan for the future? Those seem like logical issues to address.
That’s what compelled me to visit ginner Maleisa Finch in Monette, Ark., to see how she was dealing with this challenge. She and her family have been in the ginning and farming business for a long time. And you’d be hard pressed to find an area where cotton has a longer history. But, like many other regions in Arkansas, the northeast region of the state is seeing a significant drop in cotton acreage.
As you will see in our cover story on pages 10 and 11, Maleisa addresses a wide range of issues in our interview. She has what you might call a contagious positive attitude when talking about an industry that she loves. Yes, she is concerned about the lower acreage, but she plans to be as costefficient as possible this year and beyond. She also has talked to many of her farmer customers and knows they would like to be planting cotton, but the economics forced them into a new direction.
Maleisa is a person who can remember the good and bad times when she grew up on a farm, and this isn’t her first time to deal with adversity. She will do everything she can to protect her employees. She will remain loyal to her farmers still growing cotton. But she won’t give up, and she will continue to showcase her congenial smile to anybody who walks into her office.
Yes, it will be difficult, but she exudes a confidence that is genuine. In her mind, cotton is too important to her community to give up on it now. She knows that the comeback will happen – hopefully sooner rather than later.