Gleaning the Best of the Rest
Here are several key notes from my interview with Allenberg Cotton CEO Joe Nicosia.
April 1, 2012
At the Mid-South Farm and Gin show in Memphis, Joe Nicosia gives the annual economic update. Nicosia is CEO of Allenberg Cotton Co. in Cordova, TN.
I used to take notes, but my handwriting has become chicken scratch on steroids. Plus I’m slow. Plus, I’m lazy. Never underestimate the power of laziness.
So, I digitally record everything I do. I’ve never been accused of misquoting anyone, but if I ever am, I have the recording to back me up.
The downside to all this is that I have to transcribe notes from the recordings. Nicosia usually speaks for 45 minutes and it takes me a good portion of a day to transcribe his presentation. As I said, I’m lazy. And slow.
But to the point. What we wind up with is a three-page story from which we can only glean the highlights.
What I thought I’d do is scan through some of the notes for something worthwhile that had to be left out of the story. There were many, and I don’t have enough space to do them justice here either.
So here are my best of the rest of Nicosia’s comments:
• “The important thing to remember, the acreage increase we had came at $1.30 to $1.50. So just because we increased acreage one year doesn’t mean we retain them every year going forward.”
• “In 2011, who was going to grow more cotton? At those price levels, the answer was everyone. It was the most profitable crop in the word, and we expected most farmers in most nations around the world to respond to high prices. And they did.”
• “Things can change very, very quickly, both in the world and in the United States.”
• “The U.S. played a critical role in being the holder of stocks. Today we don’t do that. But with that comes loss of control over your future and what it is that you can understand and have influence over.”
• “At Christmas time, I had a hard time finding 100% cotton products to buy. T-shirts, sweatshirts. I had a hard time finding things that you would think would be 100% cotton no matter what. They weren’t.”
• “Apparel inventories have not come back. They are still very lean. In other words, the pipeline in the United States is still empty. If we can get consumer confidence and business confidence back, and the economy gets going again, we’ll see a drastic increase in demand for cotton and apparel products.”
• “India has the cheapest cotton in the world. This is what happens when you have labor and you hand-pick cotton. However, the Indian advantage is starting to shrink. Their prices are moving up.”
• “If prices move up too much for both old-crop and new-crop, the propensity to have oversupply in 2013 is even greater.”
• “So there are warning signs ahead and you better be careful.”
Sage advice, even for the lazy.
Gantz is the editor of Cotton Grower magazine. Over the years, he has won many National Agricultural Marketing Association awards, including two national NAMAs – one in advertising and one in public relations. Gantz brings hands-on experience, having worked as Sales Manager for an agricultural supply distributor in the Mississippi Delta.