As a Louisiana woman who cherishes so many memories of cotton, it was startling to me to see the once-white landscape give way to other crops in 2007. It wasn’t that I had never seen soybeans before. My Dad grew them but not as his main crop. And I had seen corn but mostly in small patches of sweet corn to be picked and eaten as a treat.
I thought it was a fluke. Instead, it was a cycle — a repeating pattern in which cotton prices had to adjust to world demand. And, to me, the good news is that prices are again trending upward in 2017.
As cotton economist O.A. Cleveland reports on Jan. 27, “Cotton prices jumped higher on each daily close and have now seen higher closes on seven of the past eight trading days. In between, the market has seen excellent U.S. export sales including marketing year highs established this week.”
North Carolina farmer Johnny Griffin, who is featured in our cover story, is proud of his family’s 100-year legacy in cotton production and ginning. Today, he and his son, Mac, are determined to “keep the boll rolling” for many years to come.
While discussing the upcoming Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, Tim Price, show manager and Southern Cotton Ginners Association executive vice president, says this year’s event is the largest gathering of cotton-specific products and services to date. “We added 50-plus new companies to the show, and many are tied to cotton.”
After harvesting the 2016 crop with his grandfather, Cody Ewing, a young Alabama farmer, says, “We knew it was pretty good but never imagined it would yield to the extent that it did. Cotton is all I would grow if it were left up to me.”
In the King James Version of the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 1, reads: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
The cycle has now come full circle. King Cotton is raising its scepter once again and finding its “purpose under the heaven” and back onto the Southern landscape.
To everything there is a season, and cotton’s season is here to stay.
If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN, 38138. Contact Carroll Smith via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.