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Noble Cotton building relationships with growers

Noble Cotton offers U.S. cotton growers more than marketing options. The global corporation offers choices and innovations in financing and marketing services. And all of those services are contingent on developing relationships with growers.

That's according to Mark Allen, managing director, Noble Cotton. “We believe our strategic advantage is the investment we are making in relationships with ginners and producers,” says Allen, who is based in Singapore. “We know how to better service U.S. growers and their international markets because of these relationships.”

Noble Cotton focuses on origination, supply chain management and distribution from producers to end users. Providing flexibility and innovative solutions enables Noble to develop long-standing relationships.

“We're innovative because we want to determine what growers' risks are, and what their needs are, and then tailor-make a marketing service or marketing product to benefit them,” Allen says. “That might be acreage deals; it might be marketing pool products or something else that growers need to better manage their business.

“In some cases, farmers are looking for something a little more exotic. For example, we sometimes store cotton in a warehouse here in the U.S. or in China. We'll guarantee that cotton to the producer and basically market the cotton for a straight up fee so he's not stuck with a take-it-or-leave-it price.

“Cotton growers need to be as clever in their marketing as they are in their production. We invest substantial money and time on technical and fundamental research for our clients. We share that information to help growers make better marketing decisions.

“Our real value to a producer is being a partner who can help him with his marketing. Traditionally, farmers and merchants have been at arms length — almost in an adversarial position. We want to develop more of a partnership with growers. We can give them price information, recommendations and provide them marketing products. Partnering with producers is our long-term objective.”

Other services include the possibility of selective crop financing such as what Noble offers in Brazil where it is a financer of the cotton and soybean crops.

“Another way we want to differentiate ourselves with producers is by maybe helping to finance their crop,” Allen explains.

Noble provides all types of cotton qualities to mills worldwide. “We have offices and warehousing business in consuming countries like China and Turkey,” Allen says.

Noble's business model is based on having direct relationships with producers and consumers. In the U.S., both direct relationships are essentially channeled through the gins since in most cases farmers own the gins.

“We have seen this business model work well in other countries, such as Brazil,” Allen says. “Although the model is not conventional to U.S. business, I feel growers here will respond to a genuine effort to improve things and respond to an investment in relationships.”

Crawford Tatum, general manager for U.S. Operations for Cotton, notes that Noble Cotton has representatives across the U.S. as well as the world.

Noble Cotton's presence and investment — it has acquired warehouse facilities in the U.S. — demonstrate its confidence in the viability of U.S. cotton industry. “We're bullish on cotton in terms of the industry and sustainability and certainly are bullish on the U.S. cotton industry,” Allen says.

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