Every farmer has the goal to find the best market and price to sell their commodities. While technologies and methods have changed and developed over the years, the goal remains. In a farmer-owned cooperative like Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, marketers travel great lengths to develop markets for their members’ cotton.
With corporate headquarters located in Lubbock, PCCA sells cotton to more than 132 textile mills in 16 countries and internationally exports about 80 percent of cotton grown in West Texas. John Johnson, PCCA’s Director of Public Relations and Legislative Affairs, explains that the reason for such large cotton exports is due to the selection of a highly profitable market.
“We are forced to sell much of our members’ cotton internationally since the U.S. textile industry has contracted tremendously in the past 10 years,” Johnson said. “That way, we have a market for their cotton, and it helps get the best possible price.”
Johnson said PCCA sells cotton directly to textile mills around the world, as well as to U.S. cotton merchants. Domestic merchants also sell the cotton to international textile mills.
Along with selling cotton, PCCA also produces denim fabric and jeans in textile and apparel factories owned by PCCA, including the American Cotton Growers denim mill in Littlefield, Texas.
“Today, ACG has capacity to make 36 million linear yards of denim annually,” Johnson said, “which will make about 24 million pairs of jeans.”
In 2009, the cooperative founded Denimatrix to make jeans from the denim produced at the American Cotton Growers mill. This allowed PCCA to bring on new buyers worldwide. Denimatrix is located in Guatemala and manufactures high fashion jeans and denim products for men, women and children.
Denimatrix is one of the first factories of its kind, using a fully-integrated vertical supply chain that allows the factory to produce large quantities of jeans in a short amount of time. Denimatrix currently can produce 150,000 pairs of jeans each week. Jeans are sold to customers who include Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, American Eagle, Guess, Levi’s, Wrangler and Lee.
Through these developments, PCCA members like Timmy Hancock, have been able to sustain their farming operation.
“I’ve sold cotton through PCCA for many years,” Hancock said. “I know PCCA has strong relationships and sells cotton to high-demand markets, which means I’m getting the best price for my cotton.”
Johnson said it has taken time to develop these partnerships. PCCA’s sales staff frequently travels overseas to make personal sales calls and face-to-face meetings.
“This is still the kind of business where personal relationships and trust are developed over a period of time,” Johnson said.
As one of the largest cotton marketing organizations in the world, PCCA has progressed tremendously since 1953. The cooperative continues to develop new markets and clothe the world in West Texas cotton.