Sourcing USA Summit Celebrated Quality, Embraced Innovation and Explored the Future of U.S. Cotton
Cotton Council International (CCI) presented its ninth biennial Sourcing USA Summit November 5 - 7 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, to facilitate U.S. cotton networking opportunities for some 415 delegates from 31 countries in attendance at the conference. The Summit explored challenges and opportunities facing the general use of cotton in the textile supply chain, and specific topics surrounding U.S. cotton, including innovation and global economic issues.
National Cotton Council (NCC) Chairman Shane Stephens welcomed the attendees, reiterating the value of strong industry relationships, the consistent quality and reliable supply of cotton grown in the United States, and the commitment of U.S. cotton producers to maintaining their strong relationship with the global cotton supply chain.
“Cotton has a history of innovation, of reinventing and evolving aspects of its complex supply chain to keep pace with the needs and expectations of the market and consumers, alike,” said CCI President Keith Lucas. CCI hosts the conference in cooperation with Cotton Incorporated and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS).
At a time when cotton is facing increasing competition, such as man-made fibers that can offer greater length uniformity at a lesser cost, it was not surprising that the themes of change and challenges to business-as-usual permeated the conference, including the perspective-changing content of the three keynote speakers.
Josh Linkner, the tech entrepreneur and bestselling author, recommended that the attendees transform their current best practices into “next practices,” reminding the audience that “we are all innovators.” Zachary Karabell, an authority on the global economy and author of The Leading Indicators, challenged the practical value of longstanding economic models, such as supply and demand, in today’s increasingly complex and tech-driven world. Johnny “Cupcakes” Earle, founder of the multi-million-dollar T-shirt brand “Johnny Cupcakes,” challenged attendees to expand their creative thinking to achieve success.
Economics and innovation were common threads of the conference, which included a cotton commodity update by Jody Campiche, Vice President, Economics & Policy Analysis at the NCC; an examination of certain domestic policies relevant to cotton from Johnathan Fee, a partner at Alston & Bird; and a “Bull and Bear” panel composed of U.S. exporter and textile mill representatives. Additional updates on agricultural, fiber quality and textile innovations were presented by Dr. Kater Hake, Mike Watson, and Mike Tyndall, respectively; all from Cotton Incorporated, the research and marketing company for cotton.
CCI Executive Director Bruce Atherley returned to unity in his closing remarks to the audience, an assembly representing 16% of global cotton use: “We must all work together to overcome man-made fibers and other challenges that get in the way of cotton consumption.”
The U.S. cotton industry and its allied industries are integral supporters of the Sourcing USA Summit. The 2016 Summit Exporter Sponsors include: Jess Smith & Sons Cotton Co.; White Gold Cotton Marketing LLC; Allenberg Cotton Co.; Cargill Cotton; Toyoshima; PCCA; Calcot, Ltd.; Omnicotton; COFCO Agri; Glencore; Staplcotn; Toyo Cotton; ECOM; JG Boswell; Cotton Growers Cooperative; Engelhart CTP (US) LLC; Olam Cotton; San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association; and Supima.
The 2016 Allied Industry Sponsors include: Uster Technologies; Wakefield Inspection; Cargo Control Group; Cotton Outlook; Rieter Textile Systems; ICE Futures U.S.; CoBank; TransGlobal Inspections; Bayer CropScience; Applied DNA Sciences; Monsanto; Murata Machinery, Ltd.; and INTL FCStone Merchant Services.