U.S. and World Cotton Outlook

William B. Dunavant, Jr.


Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As a member of the national cotton council and a salesman for u.S. Cotton, I feel particularly excited on this, the 6th day of January, 1987 because the U.S. Cotton program is working for our industry. All of us had endured such doom and gloom until december 12, 1983 when president reagan signed the food and security act of 1985, which gave the industry the opportunity for a new horizon.

We all suffered through the 1985-86 crop year with the most dismal offtake for cotton in 89 years (since 1896) -- domestic consumption of 6.4 Million bales and exports a mere 1.968 Million, the lowest level in 42 years (1.909 Million in 1944). We all learned the hard way that the demand for cotton continues to be highly elastic and responsive to price. Our customers abroad last season responded by buying foreign growths because our price remained fifteen to twenty cents above competing growths the majority of the crop year. This was a year I shall never forget and a year I hope never repeats itself for all of us in the cotton industry.

I can't remember when we have had a piece of cotton legislation which addresses the needs of the entire cotton industry on a long term basis. Short term, the ginners, warehousemen, and cotton seed crushers will suffer because of reduced volume. These segments survive on volume, and the 25% acreage reduction program is penalizing them short term, but they clearly understand that we could not continue to build surplus stocks.

The balance of the segments are benefiting both short term and long term. The U.S. Textile industry has the opportunity of buying its raw material at a competitive price with other growths. Today its business is booming and they are running at capacity.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1987 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference pp. 17 - 20
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998