by Jayci Bishop
“If you’re not relevant, you’re not going to play a role in the life of a grower-owner and what he needs to do to support his farming operation,” said Kevin Brinkley, PCCA President and CEO.
The 2021-22 question of relevancy and competitiveness caused PCCA to thoroughly evaluate everything the business does and develop new strategies for the future of the cooperative.
Our mission is to enhance the profitability of our growers and gins through value-added marketing programs and services,” Brinkley said. “We want to make sure we are delivering on all of the promises within that mission statement. What we have been doing over time has worked well, but we also have to introduce new products and services to make sure that our growers are competitive.”
Every business, whether a farm or a cooperative, must be willing to change in an increasingly competitive world.
“I think just like farmers reevaluate our own farm’s businesses, PCCA is no different,” said Dahlen Hancock, PCCA Board Chairman and cotton farmer. “We should build on things we are doing that are working and that have worked in the past, while also correcting and changing those parts of the business that are struggling. It seems like we have a lot of outside world pressures bearing down on us currently from this rapidly changing world.”
Extensive research and listening to stakeholders were the foundation of new strategic initiatives, such as modifying PCCA’s seasonal marketing pools. PCCA’s Risk Management Committee completed a comprehensive top to bottom, by division, total enterprise risk assessment with staff.
According to Hancock, a proper assessment of risks was the starting point of every initiative. Too much risk can lead to negative consequences, but too little risk limits the returns to growers. PCCA has prioritized the use of data and analytics to improve the pacing of sales, Hancock said. The co-op is also rolling out new marketing choices for its seasonal pools, enabling producers to determine pricing on a portion of their crop. He credits PCCA’s forward-looking Board of Directors for challenging the staff to develop new ways of adding value, such as PCCA’s private intermodal facility that rails cotton directly from Altus, Oklahoma, to West Coast ports.
PCCA plans to offer grower-owners a full suite of marketing choices for upcoming crop years, including modernizing pool marketing sales using data-driven models. A call pool feature will be available for the 2023 crop. Increased focus and more choices in both cash and contract markets will be available to growers as well. PCCA recently adopted a charter for the Marketing Pool Committee which modernized the role and structure of the committee.
Becoming the preferred cotton marketer for growers and customers in the Southwest region of the U.S. is the primary focus of the changes. PCCA’s leadership believes the cooperative business model is the key to maximizing returns in a competitive world.
“PCCA has developed strategic sourcing relationships with global cotton buyers,” Brinkley said. “It has worked well for our growers and customers. One of our core values is that we want what is best for our stakeholders, whether they’re growers or customers. We believe that a successful customer generates returns that make our members successful. PCCA’s origination strengths serve everyone well. It’s a win-win.”
“One of the things we want to do is make sure that we are making it as easy as possible for growers to get the right information distilled down into the shortest possible messaging,” Brinkley said. “To do that, it is going to look like more people going out and making personal visits and personal contact with growers. We will be using our existing staff and enhance the way we communicate. We also want to make sure we are giving our gins every available tool to communicate what we are doing and what is changing in the marketplace.”
PCCA has a long history of innovation and progress in the industry. It is critical to look for new opportunities to learn and improve continually.
“We want to make sure that we don’t miss that opportunity to look at the best things people are doing out there and use our own imaginations,” Brinkley said. “That is something we do not give enough credence to. Take what happens on a farm. A farmer is the best inventor in the world. We need to take some lessons from that and just use our imaginations to say why are we doing this? If we can’t come up with a good answer, we may need to look at a different way to do it.”
Good ideas can only come to fruition with dedicated people pursuing them. PCCA’s Board of Directors, employees, and grower-owners are all working toward the same goal – to add value to your cotton.
“I can tell you that every employee at PCCA comes to work every day with our mission top of mind. How can we make our grower-owners’ lives better? How can we make a difference for them? It is more than just a job to us. We care about the outcome,” Brinkley said. “We want to be the very best in the business at everything we do. We know that today we are not the best in some things, but we are going to get there. Everybody here is committed to getting the job done. I take comfort in that. We have a great team in place.”
When you choose to do business with PCCA, you are choosing to do business with a company you own. As a producer, Hancock said he chooses strength in numbers.
“When you think about the total package PCCA provides, everything our company does to add value and move your product from the gin to its final destination,” Hancock explained. “Whether it is a domestic location or a global mill, the thought of them not being there and how that would affect each of the communities we live in. That and the fact that there’s strength in numbers when like-minded folks work together – that’s my reason for choosing PCCA.”