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Strength in Numbers: How PCCA’s Defensive Marketing Strategy Boosts Cotton Grower Returns

by Jayci Bishop

If you have been in the market to purchase a vehicle lately, you know how tough it can be to find one you like at a suitable price and in a convenient location. You also know that if you go in there alone, you are less likely to get as good of a deal than if you were to go in with someone who knows cars and has expertise. In those instances, having a little backup and experience certainly can benefit your pocketbook. Marketing your cotton shares some similarities with car shopping.

“Commodities in general have a basic problem. They are either in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in the wrong form. Cotton really is no different from that,” explained Kevin Brinkley, PCCA President and CEO. “One of the most effective ways to fix those problems is with a defensive marketing cooperative. Individually, farmers are price takers. They get what the market will offer them on a particular day. But together, collectively, they can arrange cotton in greater volumes or the right qualities, and there are ways to extract additional value from the marketplace. That is what makes defensive marketing so effective.”

When you do business with PCCA, you do business with a strong price defender. We are bringing the expertise, reputation, and volume to the table you would not have on your own. When you market your cotton with PCCA, we leverage our strength in numbers to extract more value from the marketplace.

“PCCA is the mechanism to create leverage. We have the global reputation, the strength, the logistics network, the technology to be able to create that power in the marketplace,” Brinkley said. “By doing that, we are making sure that each and every bale gets a fair price.”

“The reality is that all growers benefit, but the more growers that we represent, the bigger the benefit,” Brinkley said. “A rising tide lifts all boats, and we can make the power of our marketing even greater with a greater number of growers.”

The greater number of growers marketing with PCCA also increases the volume we can supply customers, allowing us to meet their needs as a reliable source of sustainably grown, high-quality fiber.

“Volume is an advantage because it creates leverage in the marketplace, and when you are known as a reliable, consistent supplier of high-quality cotton year after year, that not only creates a price advantage for our members, but it also creates a real strategic alliance with our customers,” Brinkley said. “Almost all of them view that as an advantage because they can rely on us to supply what they need year in and year out. Volume creates an advantage because it gives PCCA the ability to price cotton throughout the season at the most optimal times. This creates additional returns for our growers.”

This begs the question: as a grower, how can you help PCCA be a strong price defender? What’s in it for you?

“The best thing that a grower can do is participate and be part of the process. If you start to think strategically, and a lot of times that means long-term, what is your business going to look like five or ten years down the road? We have seen a tremendous wave of consolidation in the last 15 to 20 years in the merchandising sector,” Brinkley said. “One thing you want to know is five or ten years down the road, is your marketing cooperative going to be there for you? The answer is yes.”

Whether you market cotton with PCCA or not, you benefit from PCCA’s presence.

“PCCA is the only defensive marketer in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas that is grower-owned, and the growers benefit from all the good that we do in the marketplace.”