It is time to give U.S. cotton customers what they want. And in order to do that, some fundamental changes to the U.S. cotton industry must occur.
That was the main message from Joe Nicosia to attendees of his talk at the Memphis Farm and Gin Show in early March. Nicosia, senior head of the cotton and merchandising platforms for Louis Dreyfus Commodities and vice president of Louis Dreyfus Commodities LLC, worked the crowd with an evangelistic zeal.
“Everyone is interested in the future. … (The USDA’s) 10-year projection for cotton exports will be 58 million bales. That’s a 20 million-bale increase in exports for the world. You want to be in that business? Heck, yeah!”
There’s one thing that must be done. “We have to skate past the competition. It won’t be easy.”
Nicosia then dropped some unwelcome news. The USDA “also came out with a 10-year projection for U.S. exports. Ten years from now” exports are projected to go from slightly over 14 million bales to “15.4 million. So, we’re going up about half a million. And the rest of the world is going up 20 million? Wow. That is your future, according to your government.”
Who’s going to take the biggest share of that 20 million? “Australia, India, west Africa. Everyone one of their market shares is going up. What do you think that means to their growers, their price, their profitability, their future?”
A great company
So what to do?