Many of the bales from the 2007 cotton crop, one of the largest in High Plains history, will be processed through Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA), a farmer–owned, cotton marketing and denim manufacturing cooperative headquartered in Lubbock, Texas.

“We are prepared to warehouse, process, and sell millions of cotton bales produced in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas,” said PCCA Communications Director, John Johnson.

PCCA has warehouses at Liberal, Kansas; Altus and Frederick, Oklahoma; and Sweetwater, Rule, Memphis, and Flower Mound, Texas.

PCCA was founded in 1953 and has grown to be one of the largest cotton marketing organizations in the world. “Our overall mission is to add significant value to the cotton marketed for our members by being the supplier of choice to our business partners in terms of quality, service and value,” Johnson said.

In 1975 PCCA developed TELCOT, a marketing system designed to be an electronic extension of the way cotton producers had traded for decades.

“TELCOT was a centralized system where buyers and sellers could meet to trade cotton via terminals connected to PCCA’s mainframe computer,” Johnson said. “When the Internet became available, the system was updated to become compatible with it, and a new company, The Seam, was created,” Johnson said. “The Seam functions as a real-time cotton trading system similar to the New York Stock Exchange. It provides producers a number of options for selling their cotton and gives them access to the major buyers of U.S. cotton. This presents opportunities to receive the most competitive price available at the time of sale.”

Before PCCA can judiciously sell members’ cotton they have to determine quality. Originally this was done by hand in USDA cotton classing facilities. This system was extremely slow, requiring up to 15 minutes or longer to determine each of the various fiber properties.

Consequently, PCCA began pioneering development of the High Volume Instrument (HVI) system in the 1960s to measure fiber properties from a bale sample. Seven fiber properties from the sample are measured and recorded in approximately 30 seconds, eliminating potential for human error. The record is electronically attached to the bale and remains with it to its final destination.

PCCA also owns a denim mill in Littlefield, Texas, with a total capacity of 38 million linear yards of denim annually. It has been a major supplier of denim fabric for 31 years. “We are the world’s largest producer and supplier of Texas-style cotton. The American Cotton Growers division is a major denim manufacturer renowned for innovative denim fabrics and customer service.

“Our product line includes high-fashion denim fabrics made from 100 percent cotton and cotton/spandex blends. These fabrics are offered in a variety of weights, weaves, constructions, dye shades and finishes. With denim, the possibilities are almost endless, which is why denim is constantly being reinvented,” Johnson said.

As a service to cotton gins, PCCA offers a full line of user-friendly Windows-based gin software programs that track the flow of information in the gin office. The programs begin with the ginning process and end with the Co-op’s dividend allocation.

PCCA also provides service and support for the programs with experienced professional personnel.

“We constantly upgrade our various procedures, systems, and computer software and hardware to stay current in the marketing world so we can provide our members the best service possible,” said Johnson.