This is another one of the “no brainer” posts for my 30 days of thanks series. I am sure some of you were beginning to wonder whether I was going to wait and make this my grand crescendo at the end or something, but I have to admit, that I’m not really that organized! LOL!
Why am I thankful for cotton?
As I type this up, I am sitting in my home, finally just relaxing. It has been a crazy busy couple of weeks and it feels a bit like my sofa is a long lost friend! When I got home, I needed to start some laundry, etc. I changed into some comfy flannel pajamas and dang if the sense of the relaxation didn’t IMMEDIATELY set in! I mean putting on a pair of pjs totally changed my mindset. That’s the touch the feel of cotton and happiness!
Who do I have to thank for cotton?
There is a long list of people who are involved in getting these pjs to someone like me! We frequently forget to think about the origins of things around us… I mean you can’t possibly think through all of this stuff all the time! But for me, I tend to be a bit more aware of the cotton chain than some because I have friends that are links along the way! You can always see my Cotton 101 page and cotton posts if you want to learn more.
I have worked in the cotton seed business since the mid 90s. That puts me in a place where I get to see the very beginning of it all! I know cotton breeders who are out there working to make better seed for cotton farmers. That seed is what farmers plant to produce lots of cotton bolls. Those bolls get harvested and then taken to the cotton gin where ginners separate the seed from the lint. The bales of cotton we all have heard so much about, then go to a warehouse (warehousemen) where they are stored til a marketing cooperative or merchant sells them to textile manufacturers! And eventually they show up in stores with familiar labels or price tags.
How much did cotton farmers grow this year?
I took a little time to get some numbers together…. First, I looked at the August 2013 Crop Production Report, you see that the 2013 crop was forecast to hit 12.9 million bales (480 pound bales). That means we are down from last year quite a bit — 26 percent in fact! A really major factor in this was planted area. See, in 2012, there were more than 12.3 million acres of cotton planted and this year there were only 10.3 million acres planted to cotton but it is also important to note that there is also expected to be a drop in pounds harvested per are too. In fact, it is a statistically significant drop of 91 pounds per acre.
When you look at them, this will be the smallest cotton crop U.S. farmers have harvested in the last 5 years!
Where Heroes Are Made
The team at Deltapine (where I spent more than a decade) is celebrating cotton farmers too! They did this really great song with a group of Nashville musicians who wrote a song called “Where Heroes are Made.” The music video is available now and it features a cotton farmer I know from Georgia — Chuck Coley! Here the story of how Chuck’s family farm has transitioned over the generations as he and his son talk about the family’s history in one of the behind the scenes videos. And yes, I love that the song was written by a Memphis guy!