The National Cotton Council has gone on record to improve cotton's flow system and to ensure that fiber quality is maintained from field to mill.

Policy recommendations adopted at the recent NCC annual meeting in Austin, Texas, detailed the proposals.

The Research and Education Committee clarified the Council's position on acceptable maximum moisture content in cotton lint bales and delegates agreed to recommend that work continue with industry associations and research and extension organizations, including USDA:

  • To continue its literature review to determine appropriate moisture levels in baled lint;

  • To communicate that information to the cotton industry, and to encourage continued research, particularly on a regional basis (recognizing that widely divergent climatic conditions exist throughout the Belt), to determine optimum moisture levels in baled lint that will preserve fiber qualities and spinning performance and mitigate gin bale weight losses;

  • And, as a precaution against undue risk of fiber degradation, recommend that restored moisture levels of cotton bales at the gin not exceed 7.5 percent (wet basis);

  • The industry accept the designation of “wet cotton” as defined by USDA as one of the criteria for CCC loan eligibility; and,

  • As a requirement for CCC loan eligibility, recommends CCC require gins to disclose on a revised Form 809 the type of moisture restoration system(s) available for use at the gin and that such disclosure be made publicly available.

NCC remains opposed to outside storage as a common practice but “urges CCC to allow it for loan cotton under certain conditions. …”

Delegates also recognized “the need to expeditiously move cotton from field to mill,” specifically by:

  • Urging all segments to work together toward the goal of producing … shipment scheduling and reporting tools that make detailed information relevant to flow and performance available to all users … (and) protects … privacy interests.

  • Urging USDA to add mandatory warehouse performance reporting as a provision of the Cotton Storage Agreement (CSA) to facilitate prompt USDA response to complaints of non-compliance. The provision should require:

    1. Warehouses to report Bales Made Available for Shipment (BMAS) on a weekly basis to USDA or a USDA-designated agent.

    2. Warehouse notification by electronic means when a complaint is filed, and;

    3. CCC to use reported information in routine audits of warehouses.

NCC delegates adopted the policy recommendations at their annual business meeting.