Kater D. Hake, vice president of the Agriculture and Research division at Cotton Incorporated, and speaker at the 2013 Cotton International Global Summit, sees changes coming to the cotton industry. From the recovery of the consumer market to the reduction of cotton’s impact on the environment, he believes the industry is getting a makeover. Sitting down with Cotton International to share his views, Hake answered the following questions:
1) What is Cotton Incorporated’s main focus right now?
Cotton Incorporated’s mission is to improve the profitability of cotton using the tools of research and promotion. Our research component improves cotton’s impact primarily by reducing input costs. Whether it is water for cotton growing, wet processing, or consumer care, a savings in water use can have a huge benefit on profitability and improving cotton’s impact. We are also concerned with the global image of cotton because most cotton textiles are blends of cotton from around the world. Consumers are concerned about the cotton in their garments, which is likely a mix of cotton from three or more countries.
2) What have been some of Cotton Incorporated’s influences in recent years?
Cotton Incorporated has injected science and transparency into the discussion of sustainability. Our global life cycle assessment of cotton is ISO compliant, peer reviewed and available on European and U.S. websites. The full report, warts and all, is available on our website to anyone for free. We try hard to be a reliable, objective source for all things cotton. Another example is the agricultural research we sponsor. With cutbacks in public funding for agricultural research, we have stepped up our financial support and now fund more than 260 different principle investigators at over 50 universities on topics ranging from cotton genomes to weed control and fiber quality. All of this information is made available to anyone with an interest in seeking it out.
3) What should industry professionals expect in 2013 that they may not have experienced in years past?
Cotton will fight to regain the consumer market share it lost to polyester when fiber prices skyrocketed. You will see an invigorated and creative promotion program to make the case for cotton with consumers.
To hear more about Kater Hake and Cotton Incorporated’s views on the industry, click here to register for the upcoming Cotton International Global Summit.