Cotton executives from 14 different countries representing 32 companies that collectively consumed almost 3.7 million bales of cotton in 2019, recently visited various cotton operations across the United States as part of the 41st Cotton USA Orientation Tour. The tour, sponsored by Cotton Council International, the export promotions arm of the National Cotton Council, conducts the tours to increase U.S. cotton customer's awareness of the various types and qualities of U.S. cottons.
More than 60 countries have participated in this biennial tour since the first one was held in 1968.
"We wanted to show these important U.S. cotton customers the source of the high-quality, responsibly produced fiber they use in their textile operations," said CCI President Hank Reichle. Reichle is president and CEO of Staplcotn, the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.
"We also wanted to showcase how intently focused our industry is on sustainability and the degree to which we are committed and invested in continuous improvement in our production practices. Hopefully, they came away with an even better appreciation of our fiber's premium value and how it can make their textile operations more competitive."
In addition to visiting Cotton Incorported's world headquarters and research facility in Cary, N.C., they were given a guided tour of the USDA Classing Office in Memphis, Tenn. The group then traveled to the Mississippi Delta where they visited Mill Creek Gin to see how a modern gin manages cotton from the gin yard and the module feeder through the ginning system all the way to the bale press.
The last stop of the tour included a visit to Omega Plantations to see cotton being harvested.