Reasons For Optimism

Well, we’re finally at the end of a long road as we finish up the final pages of our redesign issue of Cotton Grower. I purposely planned to put this column together on the day we’re scheduled to go to press, because I wanted to be able to reflect on this experience, and the issue, as a whole.

We tried to provide the full gamut of subjects and information in this issue, and I think we achieved the goal. I know Henry Gantz put in a monster effort to get a strong article mix and depth of coverage in the magazine.

It wasn’t always easy and we didn’t agree on everything, but in the end the things that are worth the effort always take the most time and generate the most passion.

This was a challenging year to develop a redesign issue. Cotton has taken its lumps while grains have soared. But a turnaround looks imminent, not this year but soon, and we are optimistic, and fully committed to the long term future of U.S. cotton. We see this redesign as a statement of that confidence.

And we’re not alone. We know there are many dedicated folks in the cotton industry who share our confidence, and who inspired us this winter. Personally, I got a chance to interview Woody Anderson, our Cotton Grower Achievement Award Winner for 2007, at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Woody had this to say about the future of U.S. cotton:

“We know the quality of people in this industry and the quality of the supporters we have in this country and around the world, and we think that we are going to be able to address the challenges. A lot of the on-farm challenges are being met by our friends in the corporate world that are working on technology, on ways to make our yields better and our daily operations better. We are going to be able to put together, I am hopeful, a new farm bill. Hopefully it will come out early this spring and be signed into law to give another level of confidence to cotton growers around the country that there is a future.”

At a different meeting, Dr. Bob Hayes, professor of plant sciences at the University of Tennessee, shared these thoughts: “I think we have made some great strides in insect control, weed control, harvesting technology. We can manage and grow an excellent crop. Cotton growers are interested in new technology and they are excellent managers. If fact, they would be top managers in any industry, which makes them particularly suited to cotton production because takes those kinds of abilities to remain viable.”

Another grower I ran into recently said simply, “We’re cotton growers … every day, we look for a reason grow it. It’s something that’s born into people, and frankly there are a lot of people don’t like it, but the ones that do love it.”

Again, we share that commitment and look forward to serving you for many years to come.

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Market Analysis Stories

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I said it at 61/62 cents, so I’d best say it for 57 cents. The bottom is in.

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The recent trading action that pushed cotton prices into the 50s is linked to the interplay of spec short covering and spec long liquidation, which should keep the market in its current sideways trend.

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With the conclusion of the WTO Brazil case, the U.S. cotton industry can bring a renewed focus to the challenges ahead, coming from a familiar source.

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An end of week uptick closed the market up 81 points from the previous week. But the longer-term direction is still sideways, with a range of mostly 62 to 67 cents.

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The same record that has been spinning for weeks is still playing. The 61 to 62 cent price resistance holds firm, attempts to close above 65 cents continue to be thwarted, and the potential for a short covering rally lingers strong in the background.

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