Slow Supply Sends Lubbock Cotton Merchants Out Of State - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/1/04

Slow Supply Sends Lubbock Cotton Merchants Out Of State

We've told you how weather has caused a delay in cotton harvest, but how does that affect those who buy and sell cotton? With about 85% of cotton still in the field, it's creating a problem for merchants seeking cotton to buy and sell. And without the demand to fill, buyers are forced to purchase cotton outside of the area.

"The problems that we've had, we've been scrambling trying to find enough cotton available to make our sales," explains Cary Huff from the Commodity Export Corporation.

With a large percentage of cotton still in the field, the situation has forced Lubbock cotton merchants, who sell to textile mills across the world, to buy it elsewhere. "We've actually had to divert to Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana." Cotton needed to fulfill the demand of mills in places like Korea and Bangladesh."I got an e-mail today from a gentleman in the far East who's looking for very high quality cotton and I'm just having to tell him that it's just not available here," says Huff.

The cotton, merchants are finding, is a lower quality, an effect of the recent wet weather. "This is the kind of cotton that we've been producing in the high plains for the past few years," shows Huff. "You can see it's very clean but what I'm afraid of is that this is the cotton that we're going to be getting more of after we harvest," he confesses.

This is forcing merchants to find a market that demands lower quality cotton, affecting prices for everyone, from the merchant to the farmer. "I think that the prices are not going to be as high as they could've been without all of the weather problems that we've had," says Huff.

The good news: in the next few days farmers are expected to have the opportunity to harvest a large percentage of their crops.

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