Enhanced Policies Set to Improve U.S. Cotton Flow; Training Sessions Scheduled

Recently implemented policies based on National Cotton Council (NCC) resolutions regarding warehouse bale shipment reporting should enhance the industry’s reputation for timely delivery and get U.S. raw cotton into customers’ hands faster.

The policies – now included in the USDA Cotton Storage Agreement – call for warehouses to report their weekly shipments electronically in a more detailed manner and respond promptly to shipping orders from merchants via computer.


To assist in implementation, two new software programs are in development by EWR, Inc. – the primary handler of electronic warehouse receipts in the U.S. cotton industry – for release in early September 2019.

“We are working diligently to finish this software by early September so that it will be available to the cotton industry for almost the entire 2019 season,” said Joe Wyrick, president/CEO of EWR.

The first program addresses bales made available for shipment (BMAS) which warehouses currently report weekly to USDA. Under the provisions of the Cotton Storage Agreement, warehouses will continue to report this number weekly. Bales not picked up (BNPU) cannot be counted as BMAS for longer than one week.

To keep track of whether a bale has already been counted, warehouses are required to send a summary file of all bale permanent bale identification (PBI) numbers weekly to the EWR system. EWR coordinates with USDA, which reviews the weekly BMAS numbers and monitors warehouses’ compliance with the bale reporting rules.

The second program will help manage merchants’ shipping orders or staging shipping orders. USDA now requires warehouses to respond to any shipping order or staging shipping order received from a merchant with a Shipping Order Update file within two business days. All shipment file communications will be provided to USDA so the agency can monitor warehouses’ compliance. USDA has indicated that it also will be watching to determine whether shippers are replying (when necessary) to the warehouse with a Shipping Order Update file.

“Implementation of policy recommendations will provide USDA with additional resources when reviewing warehouses’ performance,” said Lauren Krogman, NCC manager of Marketing and Processing Technology. “These changes should also help to alleviate miscommunication between warehouses and merchants and assist in providing traceability of data.”

EWR – which was contracted by the NCC to develop the computer software for helping USDA track BMAS and shipping order information – will hold four software use classes to train warehouse teams how to operate the new software.

“The software will not be hard to utilize, especially if someone attends one of the scheduled sessions to receive the proper training,” said Wyrick.

The training classes are scheduled for Tulare, CA (July 25); Tunica, MS (August 13); Tifton, GA (August 20) and Lubbock, TX (August 27).  The classes are free, but those planning to attend are asked to register in advance at the EWR website.

Any questions can be directed to:

  • Lauren Krogman, National Cotton Council (901-274-9030; lkrogman@cotton.org)
  • Carie Cameron, Chief, License & Storage Contract Branch, Warehouse & Commodity Management Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA (Branch: 816-926-6474; Direct: 816-926-3966; carie.cameron@usda.gov)


Based on information provided by the National Cotton Council and EWR, Inc.

(Updated July 18, 2019)