I was caught off guard this week when a reporter from WCJB-TV, Lauren Lettelier, contacted me about the increase in cotton farming in our region. Her interests included a particular emphasis on profitability. From a historical context, I am a firm believer that cotton is one of our “leaner” industries. Without a few good years in the 90’s and a good run in 2010-2011, there would be a long history of a commodity that paid the bills, but doesn’t create much enthusiasm. However, after visiting with Lauren and a few area farmers and reflecting on markets it is interesting that cotton does appear to be the “Belle of the Ball.” This winter, I have had several local farmers tell me they will be planting cotton for the first time next year. This is primarily not on a starry-eyed whim seeking huge profits, but because their alternatives aren’t looking any better and low peanut prices are forcing the adoption of improved crop rotation.
The most recent University of Georgia Cotton Marketing News I see is here. Dr. Shurley’s comments on the 2014 crop appear to be those echoed by local farmers. The comments made by local farmer, Matt Dicks, touch on some of those marketing goals. The cotton farmers I work with locally would like to see cash prices hold above 80 cents per pound and are looking for a similar price to make sales for 2014.
Please see the interviews of myself and local cotton farmer, Matt Dicks, from a recent story on WCJB-TV 20, Gainesville.