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Cotton Incorporated: 50 successful years of battling manmade fibers

Who in their right mind would treasure a well-worn pair of polyester blue jeans?

John Hart

February 11, 2020

2 Min Read
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Cotton Incorporated

Cotton Incorporated is 50 years old this year and cotton farmers have every reason to celebrate. Just as in 1970, cotton’s fiercest foes in 2020 are synthetic fibers. Polyester and other manmade fibers are tough opponents. As former Cotton Incorporated CEO Nick Hahn often said, “polyester is so strong you can tow a truck with it.”

Yes, polyester is one tough fiber. But cotton is tougher and has a better story to tell because it is all natural, Earth friendly and so much more comfortable. After all,  who in their right mind would treasure a well-worn pair of polyester blue jeans?

The going is tough and is only getting tougher. Synthetic fibers are gaining more market share at the expense of cotton but Cotton Incorporated isn’t giving up the fight. The challenges today aren’t so different than the challenges cotton faced in the 1970s when the polyester leisure suit was the rage. The battle against polyester continues unabated.

Through it all, Cotton Incorporated is working hard to get cotton into new product categories while expanding market share for those where cotton is still the fiber of choice. For 50 years now, Cotton Incorporated has done a great job of getting cotton’s all-natural message across. The challenge is to get consumers to listen and buy cotton, rather than synthetic fibers.

Cotton farmers are getting a good return on their investment in Cotton Incorporated. Cotton produced in the United States is assessed $1 per bale plus five-tenths of one percent of the current value of cotton to fund the work of Cotton Incorporated. It’s an investment just as important as good quality seed.

At the annual meeting of Southern Cotton Growers/Southeastern Cotton Ginners in Savannah, Ga., Cotton Incorporated President and CEO Berrye Worsham noted that a survey last conducted for Cotton Incorporated in 2016 by Forecasting and Business Analytics shows an annual impact on  cotton demand of +2.014 million bales or five cents per pound thanks to the research and promotion program.

The survey is conducted every five years. Each survey conducted since 2006 has shown equally positive returns. Cotton farmers should expect an equally good return on their investment when the next survey is completed in 2021. Money invested in Cotton Incorporated is money well spent.

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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