Baseball and cotton — two distinctly American traditions — will be the focus of the annual Cotton Forum, to be held in New York City, July 7-8, at the New York Board of Trade in lower Manhattan.

Attendees will have the opportunity for educational fun during a mock trading session on NYBOT's trading floor on the afternoon of July 7 and that evening experience some different fun as they're shuttled to historic Yankee Stadium for a baseball game between the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.

You could catch a four-bagger from the current league leader in home runs, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, and who knows, maybe get a glimpse of the Yankees' Big Unit, 6-10 southpaw Randy Johnson, or righty Kevin Brown, dishing out a little chin music.

On July 8, at NYBOT, a panel of experts will bring cotton producers up to date on the latest cotton fundamentals and provide an outlook for the future and pricing strategies for cotton producers.

Here's what past participants have had to say about the mock trading session. “It was an eye-opener,” said Kenneth Hood, cotton producer from Perthshire, Miss, “seeing how the locals react, buy and sell. It was a great experience to see what was going on and be actively engaged in the participation.”

Mark Hanna, a producer and ginner from south Georgia, said, “The traders may not know what a cotton field looks like, but this is how price discovery works. If you want to hedge, you have to have somebody who wants to buy the cotton.”

The experience “gave me a better understanding of how the process works,” said Senath, Mo., cotton producer Charles Parker. “They're all independent traders trying to make a living based on the knowledge they have at the time.”

Rubbing elbows with the men and women who discover commodity prices was revealing for Parker.

“When a cotton producer fixes some cotton, the transaction hits that floor and can make an impact on things, depending on how many bales are traded. I can understand how every little trade impacts the market.”

“Growers know what happens to an order between them and the broker,” said Pat McClatchy, executive director of the Ag Market Network, a sponsor of the event. “But they don't know how it's processed when the order comes in to New York, how it gets into the hands of the broker and the bidding and offering that goes back and forth.

“We have found that the growers who participate have a much better feel for what happens in price discovery and the role of this exchange,” he said.

Panelists at the Cotton Roundtable on July 8 include O.A. Cleveland, professor emeritus, Mississippi State University; Carl Anderson, Texas A&M University; Jarral Neeper, vice-president, marketing, Calcot; Mike Stevens, Swiss Financial Services; Pat McClatchy, executive director, Ag Market Network; and special guest speaker Peter Egli, analyst, Volcot America, Inc.

The series of educational and informative events are designed to help cotton producers gain a better understanding of how prices are discovered as well as to provide a timely update on cotton fundamentals. It augments monthly Ag Market Network teleconference updates on grain and fiber markets.

“Farmers have told us that the No. 1 area where they need help is in marketing,” McClatchy said. “The more educated a farmer can be in the area of marketing, the better off he'll be.”

Now is a good time — plane fares are still low — to reserve a place on the roster. But space is limited. Call Pat McClatchy at 888-795-8071 for registration or more information.

The Cotton Forum is sponsored by the New York Board of Trade, Certified FiberMax, Cotton Incorporated, Ag Market Network and Farm Press Publications.


e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com