Last week Jay Cowart, director of warehousing operations for the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, walked across the concrete floor of one of the many empty warehouses located on the southwest edge of Altus, Okla., a city known as a center of cotton production.
Those warehouses will not be empty for long.
All of the PCCA cotton storage located in North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will hold 1.15 million 480-pound cotton bales. Last week Cowart said 4,840 bales were stored in all of the warehouses.
USDA predictions suggest PCCA will receive 1.6 million bales this fall, more than can be currently stored. Chances are, they’ll be in and out pretty quickly.
Approximately three years ago the economic depression dismantled world economies and global trade. "Then in 2009," Cowart said, "the global economy began to recuperate and department store managers began to order denim clothing, but the wholesalers and garment companies had nothing to send them right away.
"All of the production from the farmer to the retailer had stopped and supplies had dwindled. To satisfy new demands, cotton production cooperatives like PCCA began to sell cotton again. And as the supply became short, demand and the price paid for cotton increased."
Since Cowart's cotton warehouses are nearly empty, cotton to feed the growing demand for consumer clothing worldwide will come from the crop growing in the fields of North Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and other cotton-producing areas in the United States and foreign countries.
Encouraged by the demand, U.S. farmers planted 19.2 percent more cotton acres this spring than in 2009.
"We are going to need all of the predicted 1.6 million bales we are supposed to get," Cowart said.
As reported in Southwest Farm Press, a big U.S cotton crop could be a big help for cotton producers and for world consumers.