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Fifty Years Together

Van MayAs you will be aware in looking through this issue of Commentator, this year represents the 50th anniversary for our cooperative. More incredible to me than that is that I have been here for half of our history, 25 years this March. I have seen first hand so many of the things that have happened here. Ain’t it funny how time slips away…

Be that as it may, you should all take pride in the many groundbreaking and leading edge things that your coop has nurtured over the years. I won’t chronicle all of them here as many are mentioned elsewhere in the magazine. But, I would like to make some comments about our cooperative way of doing business.

In this time of increased global competition, of unfair global trade practices, of low prices, and of difficult financial straits for many of our members and the cotton industry as a whole, our coop business model remains sound. When I got here 25 years ago, I didn’t even know what a coop was. I had been auditing banks and savings and loans. I did recognize smart business when I saw it though. Coops were then, and still are, smart business.

And I am talking about more than just our governance, patronage, and taxation issues. Those are vitally important, but it goes deeper than that, to the very core philosophies that shape our programs and policies. When we band together in like-minded effort, we can accomplish so much more than any could individually. That is the basic principle that allows us to accomplish the unexpected in our coops. Together we are stronger, smarter, and better. It is that basic and that simple.

When you think about the many innovative ideas that either germinated or were nurtured here – HVI classification, electronic marketing, farmer-owned textile manufacturing, electronic title . . . and the list goes on and on – surely you must feel some pride in being part of a joint effort that has helped move our industry forward through 50 years. None of that would have been done by any single individual. The strength of joint effort and shared risk made it possible. Cooperation made it possible. You and your neighbors standing together have made it strong. You should be proud. After all, it is your business and your company. The accomplishments are yours, too.

Of course, when all goes right, and there are strong dividends at the end of the year, it is easy for us to recognize the value of our cooperation together. However, when we struggle and the markets go against us and the dividends are not so great, you should never lose faith in the coop modtion everything else, but know that the coop model is right. It has served you well in your local communities and here at PCCA, for 50 years now.

Let’s commit to never let that innovative and cohesive spirit die regardless of the tough circumstances. Our success and survival over the next 50 years will depend on it, and on each other.