Prior to becoming well known in the apparel and home fashion world as a brand, Supima primarily directed its promotional efforts to spinners, weavers, and knitters. These segments of the supply chain remain important to Supima.

The cotton business has changed. Many of Supima’s customers, including Fieldcrest, Cannon, WestPoint, and Springs Industries, had their own brands or were vertical.

Today, many of these companies no longer exist. Home furnishings are made by manufacturers in China, India, and Pakistan. Manufacturers take orders from brands and retailers and use the type of cotton which the companies request.

Today, Supima spends more time developing these relationships with brands and retailers.

Supima’s close relationships with brands and retailers have opened doors for related ventures. Once the mega retailer Marks and Spencer selected Pima as the sole cotton in its entire line of towels and sheets, other retailers followed suit.

Every brand and retailer signs a licensing agreement with Supima. Today, Supima has 360-plus licensing agreements in 32 countries. The agreements provide almost half of Supima’s operating revenue.

Don Cameron, Supima chairman of the board, shared the latest American Pima crop details. Cameron predicts production in the four Pima-production states will total 650,000 to 670,000 bales this year.

Cameron expects excellent crop quality overall, plus good yields in the 1,400-pounds-per-acre range in California which could exceed last year’s figure.

This year’s estimated acreage of about 237,000 American Pima acres (all four states) is about 22 percent lower than last year’s acreage. The heavy Pima plantings were largely tied to record Pima prices above $3 per pound in 2010.

During this year’s spring planting, Cameron says cooler weather conditions raised fears of possible lower lint yields at harvest. Yet “perfect weather” from midsummer through harvest should result in higher yields than previously expected.

Cameron grows Pima cotton at Terranova Ranch in Helm, Calif.

The 2012-2013 American Pima marketing year is under way. A major concern is the industry’s second-highest carryover — about 900,000 bales, by the book.

Cameron says the figure does not account for 73,000 bales sold last year but not shipped before the end of the 2011-2012 marketing year which ended this July 31. In addition, about 127,000 bales were committed for purchase, but not sold by the end of July.