Pima cotton boll

California cotton merger about efficiency, improved representation

The California cotton growers and ginners associations will merge into a single organization - the California Cotton Growers and Ginners Association - effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Its official – the cotton growers and ginners associations in the Golden State will merge into a single organization - the California Cotton Growers and Ginners Association - effective Jan. 1, 2017.

A recent election to merge the ginners and growers groups was approved unanimously – zero no votes.

“It’s a long-time coming,” says Roger Isom, president and chief executive officer of the current ginner-grower organizations and the new joint group.

“We’ve been acting as one for the most part but had two separate boards, accounting, and separate annual meetings. The time has come where it made sense to bring everyone together.”

Isom says the merger will save staff time – about a month and a half per year per staffer.

“Staff time savings will allow us to work more on the issues and regulations facing growers and ginners.”

The California cotton leader has served the industry for about 25 years.

“We’re excited about it (merger). For the most part, no one will know the difference in terms of what we do.”

The single association will save some members’ funds since each group had separate bank accounts and audits.

“It’s an important step forward.”

After Jan. 1, Isom believes it will be business as usual.

“We’ll have our quarterly board meetings – albeit just one instead of two. We’ll have one annual meeting for growers and ginners in late May to early June in Monterey.”

The combined annual meeting will include separate educational tracks for growers and ginners. Then everyone will come together to discuss overall issues facing the California cotton industry.

Depending on the year, Isom says the current cotton growers group has averaged 400 to 600 members. There are 19 gin members today, substantially lower than the peak of 299 gins in 1961 which ginned much less cotton than gins today.

California cotton acreage at one time impressively surpassed the one million acre mark. Yet crop competition and prices have dramatically reduced cotton acreage, mostly in favor of permanent crops including tree nuts and grapes, plus annual crops including processing tomatoes.

2015 California cotton acreage, including Pima and Upland Acala, totaled about 160,000 acres with higher 2016 acreage near the 220,000 mark.

In 2017, Isom believes California cotton acreage could increase 5 percent on the low end and up to 25 percent on the high end.

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