While the top attention-getter, market price is only one consideration for the cotton industry. Also high on the list is the need to improve bale movement.    

Streamlining cotton “flow” is largely what Shane Stephens spoke about at the mid-July Southern Cotton Ginners Association (SCGA) meeting in Little Rock. Stephens is Vice President of the National Cotton Council (NCC) representing warehousing, as well as Vice President of Staplcotn warehousing. Among other things, he also serves on the NCC’s Performance and Standards Task Force (PSTF).

“This is the second go-round for the PSTF,” said Stephens. “The first was back in 2006, resulting in recommendations to the cotton industry that, after receiving industry wide acceptance, improved the flow of U.S. cotton. BMAS (Bales Made Available for Shipment) reporting, 4.5 percent minimum weekly shipments, maximum storage forgiveness rates, loan transfers, and a 75 day limit on loan transfer storage forgiveness were just some of the flow improvements accomplished.”

Now, further fixes are needed.

“Some of the same flow problems need to be addressed. We’ve had flow issues for the last four or five decades – in reality probably as long as we’ve grown cotton in this country.”

Among Stephens other comments:

On developing cotton flow recommendations…

“In recent years we’ve made great strides in improving the access to and reliability of U.S. shipments of cotton. But that doesn’t mean there’s never a bottleneck or lost value due to delays. There certainly have been.

“We can still make system-wide improvements that will make U.S. cotton more competitive. That’s the reason for the NCC task force re-forming this spring. We’ll meet again (on August 10).

“Hopefully, this industry-wide committee, chaired by ginner Bobby Greene, can develop recommendations for the NCC board to consider at its mid-year meeting the end of (August).

“After the first task force finished its work and had concrete recommendations for our industry, I had the pleasure of speaking to … the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, and explaining those recommendations. This time around, my presentation refers to the latest PSTF proposals developed for industry segment deliberation.  Specifically I addressed the Cotton Growers Warehouse Association and National Ginners responses.”