cotton field
Cotton field. (Photo: Andrea Anderegg / Shutterstock.com)

By Melissa Nagel, Feature Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

On August 16th, 2022, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association hosted their 28th episode of Cotton & Coffee via Zoom. This month’s edition welcomed Cotton Incorporated’s President and CEO Berrye Worsham on to discuss the company’s strategic budget and planning for the upcoming year. Other members of Cotton Incorporated were also present on the call to answer any questions posed by viewers, and the meeting was overall informative regarding both the U.S. and global outlook of cotton for 2023.

The four main bullet points that Worsham discussed during his presentation are as follows: 1) Current Market Status, 2) Strategic Issues and Plan, 3) 2023 Proposed Budget Summary, and 4) Longer-Term Global Market Landscape. Each of these points were discussed in detail and together offer a wider scope on the outlook of the cotton industry and what is being done to reduce the environmental impacts of manufacturing cotton, while still providing diverse and sustainable products for consumers worldwide.

According to Worsham, the cotton market has not only bounced back but exceeded its growth trend since Covid-19 hit the U.S. in 2020. Part of this statistic is due to the number of consumers who were homebound during the pandemic and the number of consumers who continue to work from home as the world is still struggling to recover from the affects of the pandemic. The cotton market is in good shape with consumer spending, retail use, and world demand of cotton products all on the rise heading into 2023.

Cotton Incorporated has plans in place to combat long-term issues such as the ongoing economic impacts caused by the pandemic, the current war between Russia and Ukraine, and even political issues brewing between China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Part of that plan is to increase supply chain transparency to allow consumers to learn where the source of their cotton products was grown and processed and what environmental impacts were caused during processing. Consumers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint on the earth and concerned with what they can do to reduce it, and Cotton Incorporated is working to provide real data to consumers worldwide.

The company is also banking on the fact that “Cotton degrades, polyester doesn’t,” meaning that the environmental impacts of manufacturing cotton is far less harmful than manufacturing polyester products which breakdown into microplastics that in turn contaminate the environment. The company also plans to continue improving the sustainability of cotton grown in the U.S. which will reduce the dependence on cotton from other countries such as China who may be facing reductions in cotton production due to current political embattlements with neighboring countries.

Cotton Incorporated has projected a budget of $87 million for 2023, which is an improvement over 2021 and 2022’s budget. Funds will be used to ensure that the company is improving pest management, which can be financially harmful to cotton crops, improving seed quality which in turn improves overall product quality for consumers, improving sustainability, technology, and also researching the genomics of cotton more in-depth to continue to provide the best products for consumers.

For a complete recap of this Cotton & Coffee episode with Mr. Worsham, you can head over to CCGGA’s YouTube channel. For more information on the cotton industry and upcoming events, you can visit CottonBoard.org.