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January 2015 Cotton Leader

January 16th, 2015

SECRETARY MAKES APPOINTMENTS TO COTTON BOARD

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the appointment of 12 members and 14 alternates to The Cotton Board. The Cotton Board is made up of cotton producers and importers appointed by the Secretary to oversee the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. The Cotton Board Chairman, David Grant, a producer from Garysburg, North Carolina was pleased with Secretary Vilsack’s appointments saying, "I look forward to working with the new appointees and gaining their diverse perspective about the activities of our Board and our industry, as well as leaning on the experience and knowledge of the Members and Alternates who have been re-appointed to serve."

The newly appointed member is: Debra R. Barrett, Producer, Edroy, TX. The newly appointed alternate members are:  Chuckie Ward, Importer, Hickory, NC; Marshall D. Draughn, Importer, Severna Park, MD; Pamela Hunter, Importer, Frisco, TX; Donna B. Winters, Producer, Lake Providence, LA; David Dunlow, Producer, Roanoke Rapids, NC; Michael Popp, Producer, El Campo, TX; and Dustin Mancebo, Producer, Dos Palos, CA.  The re-appointed members are: Rodger C. Glaspey, Importer, Fresno, CA; Patricia M. Reber, Importer, Plymouth, MN; Carlos Moore, Importer, Naples, FL;  Maureen Gray, Importer, New York, NY; Debi M. Gregg, Importer, Huntington Beach, CA; Aaron A. Barcellos, Producer, Los Banos, CA; George G. LaCour, Jr., Producer, Morganza, LA; Marty E. White, Producer, Jonesboro, AR; James C. Robertson, Jr., Producer, Indianola, MS; David M. Grant, Producer, Garysburg, NC; and T. Mark Hegi, Producer, Petersburg, TX.  The re-appointed alternate members are: Courtney OKeefe, Importer, Quincy, MA; Stefanie M. Rotta, Importer, Elkins Park, PA; Richard B. Bransford, Producer, Lonoke, AR; Tom J. Gary, Producer, Greenwood, MS; and Bryan K. Patterson, Producer, Amherst, TX. Secretary Vilsack re-appointed Marshal Cohen of East Moriches, NY to serve as a Consumer Advisor to the Board. Each of these appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning January 1, 2015, and ending December 31, 2017.  Secretary Vilsack also selected Heidi Goold, Importer, Pewaukee, WI as an alternate member whose term expires on December 31, 2015, and Sigifredo Valverde, Producer, Shallowater, TX as an alternate member whose term expires on December 31, 2016.

The Cotton Research and Promotion Program is designed to advance the position of cotton in the marketplace.  It is funded by assessments on all domestically produced cotton and imports of foreign-produced cotton and cotton-containing products, and is authorized by the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966.  USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service oversees operations of the Board.

COTTON LEADS™ CERTIFIED AS USDA BIOPREFFERED

Cotton fiber represented by the Cotton LEADS™ program, which promotes the responsible production practices of cotton growers in Australia and the United States, is deemed 100 percent bio-based amid changes to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred Program guidelines. The technical innovation of cotton growers in  the United States and Australia qualifies Cotton LEADS™ cotton as a 100 percent bio-based ingredient for textile and nonwoven products and is included in USDA’s online BioPreferred Catalog. The BioPreferred Program’s goal is to increase the purchase and use of bio-based products while spurring economic development, creating new jobs and providing new markets for farm commodities. Additionally, the increased development, purchase and use of bio-based products is intended to reduce reliance on petroleum, increase the use of renewable agricultural resources and contribute to reducing adverse environmental and health impacts. Cotton LEADS™ cotton easily met the BioPreferred Program’s new stipulation for innovation, due to the manner in which cotton growers in Australia and the United States approach and operate their businesses. The cotton industries of both countries are well established, well-regulated, transparent and committed to improvement. But it is the growers’ self-investment into research programs and the willingness to embrace new technologies and techniques that continue to yield high volumes of quality cotton as well as significant and measurable environmental gains. The Cotton LEADS™ program was launched in October 2013 to increase awareness of the transparency, traceability and ongoing environmental gains made by cotton growers in the U.S. and Australia. The program has attracted more than 240 industry partners who acknowledge Cotton LEADS™ cotton as part of their sustainable sourcing strategies. More information on Cotton LEADS™ can be found at www.cottonleads.org.

COTTON ROOT ROT AWARD GOES TO COTTON INCORPORATED RESEARCHER

Dr. Bob Nichols, Senior Director of Cotton Incorporated, was recognized at the 2015 Beltwide Cotton Consultants Conference for his role in solving the problem of Cotton Root Rot, a disease of Southwestern cotton that previously had defied 100 years of research.  Cotton Incorporated’s Texas State Support Committee, together with researchers from the Texas Agri-Life Extension Service and Cheminova, mounted a four-year cooperative research effort to address the issue of Cotton Root Rot. The result is a field management program using the fungicide, flutriafol, to be named Terra® for use in cotton, for control of the disease. The award states in part that the combined efforts of the Cotton Incorporated Texas State Support Group and Texas Agri-Life "portray a perfect example of the wise use of farmer check-off funds channeled through strong research programs to solve real farmer problems." Full registration of Terra® is anticipated in the first quarter of 2015.

ECONOMIC REPORT

Global cotton prices were mostly stable over the past month, with NY futures, the A Index, and the CC Index virtually unchanged. Indian prices moved slightly lower; Pakistani prices moved slightly higher. Despite testing levels above 61 cents/lb during holiday trading, values for the March New York futures contract returned to the range between 58 and 61 cents/lb that they had been in since early November. The A Index has been steady at levels between 67 and 70 cents/lb. While harvesting is nearing completion in most northern hemisphere cotton-producing countries, supply-related focus is shifting to planting for the 2015/16 crop year. The National Cotton Council’s survey of U.S. cotton producers is underway. Results that will be released February 7th could be expected to predict a decline in acreage for the 2015/16 season. In terms of production, a decline in U.S. plantings may be partially offset by improved growing conditions in West Texas. Rainfall in the region was higher than average during the 2014 calendar year, and if rain continues to fall in 2015, lower abandonment rates and higher yields could be possible in that part of the cotton belt. The USDA will release a preliminary set of estimates for 2015/16 supply, demand, and trade on February 20th. An early forecast from Beijing Cotton Outlook suggests that Chinese cotton acreage could drop 15% next season, with much of the decline occurring outside of Xinjiang province and in the areas where government support has diminished. Such a decline in Chinese acreage should solidify India’s position as the world’s largest cotton producer.  India’s acreage has been steadily increasing since the introduction of improved seed technologies in the early 2000s, and even though that time period spans years with lower cotton prices, it did not include a single significant year-over-year decrease in planted acres. 

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