Dr. Carl Anderson, marketing expert and friend to the cotton farmer, has died

“Dr. Carl Anderson was an icon in the cotton industry,” said Dr. Parr Rosson, head of the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M, College Station.  “His more than four decades of service to the nation, the Texas A&M University System and the department of agricultural economics featured pioneering work in cotton marketing and producer risk management. 

Dr. Carl Anderson, considered by his peers as Texas’ leading cotton marketing authority and one of the nation’s leading cotton analysts, passed away Aug. 30 at the age of 82.

Anderson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist emeritus and agricultural economics professor, served the Texas A&M University System for 36 years. He retired in 2004, but continued cotton marketing education efforts,working with the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M and AgriLife Extension.

Thirty years of his A&M System service was as leader of Extension education to help cotton farmers successfully market their crops and manage risk.

“Dr. Carl Anderson was an icon in the cotton industry,” said Dr. Parr Rosson, head of the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M, College Station.  “His more than four decades of service to the nation, the Texas A&M University System and the department of agricultural economics featured pioneering work in cotton marketing and producer risk management.  Though retired for the past 10 years, Dr. Anderson was highly active, conducting numerous educational programs and research activities.  His contributions to the Texas cotton industry and AgriLife Extension are unparalleled.”

“Throughout his career Dr. Carl Anderson strove to improve the lives of Texas farmers and ranchers by providing the best economic analysis and information available through newsletters, farm press publications, applied research and educational presentations,” said Dr. Mark Waller, AgriLife Extension economics program leader, College Station. “His leadership, tireless commitment to quality and his reputation as a cotton marketing specialist earned the admiration of his extension counterparts and cotton industry professionals across the South.  He will be missed.”

Anderson’s many achievements included induction into the department’s Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry, which recognizes distinguished alumni, plus receiving the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumni award, Rosson said.

Grew up in Depression

Anderson grew up in Taylor during the Great Depression.

“I had to hoe Johnson grass and pick cotton. That was hot, hard work,” recalled Anderson during a 2004 interview prior to his retirement. “I said to myself, ‘this thinking part is pretty easy.’”

Anderson said while working on the family farm he saw a need for better marketing strategies for agricultural commodities – particularly cotton.

“I thought one of the weaknesses was marketing,” said Anderson, who credited the GI Bill for allowing him to attend college. “You can work hard, and a farm takes hard work, but you’ve got to handle your operation as a business.”

Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M in 1958, following service in the Army. He went on to earn his master’s at Louisiana State University in 1960 and his doctorate at Texas A&M in 1969.

In the 1970s, as a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, he developed pricerisk management programs for cattle feedlot owners. Texas’ cattle feeding industry was also in the beginning stages and state officials were concerned about how much money it would take to set up the infrastructure and financing.

'Price-risk' management

“We did analysis on interest rates and price-risk management,” Anderson said in 2004. “We didn’t have commodity options back then. I got really involved with bank lenders. There was deep concern that the banks would go broke. On the other hand, there was a 25 cent per 100 pounds discount for shipping grain sorghum to Houston. Back then, cattle were shipped and fattened in the Midwest.

“Cattle feeding in Texas would later open up a lot of opportunity for farmers in the Panhandle. It’s one of the largest value-added industries in agriculture when you include the processing plants, the transportation and the other segments it supports.”

In the 1980s, Anderson and colleagues developed a series of marketing education programs on cotton, grain and livestock pricing and risk management that provided the background for the award-winning Texas Extension Agricultural Economics Master Marketer program. His workshops allowed Extension agents throughout the South to prepare farmers for changes in the U.S. farm bill.

Anderson advised the Congressional Budget Office staff about cotton issues beginning in 1989 and presented dozens of papers at cotton conferences that influenced the industry as a whole. He also led a group of Extension economists in tabulating economic drought loss estimates for Texas used by state and federal agricultural agencies.

A prolific writer, Anderson had more than 450 articles published in the popular press and served as editor of the “Agriculture in Texas” section of the Texas Almanac from 1978 to 2010.

Among his many career accomplishments, Anderson was named Leader of the Year in Service to Texas Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine in 1996. He was a member of the New York Cotton Exchange Board of Managers from 1986-1993, and a member of The Cotton Digest International Advisory Board. He was a regular presenter on industry situation and outlook at U.S. and world cotton meetings.

Service arrangements

Anderson is survived by his wife, Shirley, his daughter Caroline Anderson Rydell, as well as son-in-law Jim Rydell and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be Tuesday evening, Sept. 2, at Memorial Funeral Chapel, 1515 S. College Ave., Bryan, TX. The phone number there is 979-823-8125.

Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at Aggie Field of Honor, 3800 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy. (Hwy. 60), College Station, TX.

Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at First United Methodist Church, 506 E. 28th St., Bryan, TX. The phone number there is 979-779-1324.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Carl Anderson Fund at the Texas A&M Foundation that was set up for him when he retired in 2004. More information and a contribution form can be found at http://plainscotton.org/mj/CarlAndersonFund.pdf

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