New videos aid effort to eliminate contamination

It’s cotton-pickin’ time and it’s more important than ever for cotton producers to deliver contaminant-free cotton. The National Cotton Council has created and made available two excellent videos to help growers to achieve that goal.

The Council urges producers, ginners and industry members to make seed cotton/lint contamination prevention the highest priority and these comprehensive educational videos are available in English and Spanish.

The English version can be viewed at https://youtu.be/GKnNTc3Qmxwin.

The Spanish version is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53lcKIaj2ts.

Other resources are at http://www.cotton.org/tech/quality/contamfree.cfm. The Council has also mailed USB drives with the videos to every gin in the country.

91st annual meeting acknowledged challenges

The 2017-18 marketing year was not an outstanding one for its members, Calcot Chairman Greg Wuertz announced at the co-op’s 91st annual meeting September 25 in Phoenix, Ariz.

“I must be blunt: our results for 2017-18 were not what I was hoping to see,” he said, referring to the marketing results of Calcot’s Seasonal Pool. Many members with cotton in the Call Pool did fairly well, but “the strength of a Seasonal Pool should be one that produces results reflective of the current marketing year for its participants, and we fell short,” he added.

He said there were varied reasons for the final performance: weather woes, fluctuating volume, changing crop mixes. Regardless, changes are necessary, Wuertz said.

“We must have a robust Seasonal Pool to accomplish our marketing goals,” he said, and changes are on the way to improve performance. One major change has already occurred with the election of Paul Bush as the eighth president of Calcot. “We were fortunate that we had an excellent candidate already on staff,” he said.

Bush announced a distribution of $3.058 million to members as the season’s final payment, which was allocated as 113 points to all Upland bales in the Seasonal Pool, regardless of quality or origin.

Pima cotton fared better in seeing a final payment of nine cents per pound, and Call Pool ELS bales also received three cents. There were no further payments in the Call Pool or Spot Fixation.

Bush said the season’s results weren’t “quite as bad as [the chairman] characterizes it, but no question it could have been better. In fairness, it was a challenging marketing year with unusual circumstances.”

The season’s results weren’t all disappointing, Wuertz said. Efforts to sell the Hanford warehouse complex were ultimately successful and allowed Calcot to return to eligible members five years’ worth of retains totaling $9.5 million and shorten the investment frame for retains beginning with the current season to three years. Also, the usual secondary retain of $1 per bale was eliminated and wasn’t collected on the 2017-18 crop.

Bush said, “We were able to do this because all in all, Calcot as a cooperative business is in excellent financial shape. We have spent considerable effort and focus on improving the company’s finances. Candidly, I think we’ve lost some direction and consistency in focusing on grower-member finances, and my goal is to improve that.”

The new president noted Calcot has loyal and long-serving employees who are assets, as well as facilities well suited to reap benefits available from export markets. And he plans to “set a new course.”

“Over the next few months I intend to spend much of my time getting around our production areas, meeting one on one with members in conjunction with field staff,” Bush said. “I can’t promise we can work miracles, but we can be better, and do better, and I know we will work very hard to give cotton growers the cooperative they want and deserve.

“There is much to do, much work to be done, and I look forward to the challenge, and to reporting better results to you next year.”

Wuertz observed several achievements: the cooperative received its 70-millionth bale in late November, recording a significant milestone in its 91-year-history. Calcot also handled about 30 percent more bales in ’17-18 than in the previous season, despite the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas’ cotton production. New acreage from memberships for the ’18-19 season was about triple the prior season.

Chairman Wuertz also recognized longtime Glendale office manager Connie Comfort, who retired October 1 after 36 years with the company, and welcomed Daniel Parziale as the new office manager.

Don Ecker of Eadie and Payne, which audited Calcot’s financial statements, reported the co-op had total assets as of August 31, 2018 of $97 million. Working capital was a healthy $24 million. “Calcot’s financial condition is good and continues to improve,” Ecker said.

Also reported were results of recent elections: California directors Thad Stephen, Jeff Mancebo, Sam Carreiro and Tim Thomson were all re-elected to three-year terms.

In Arizona, Brad Harrison and Andy Harter were also re-elected, as were Keith Deputy and Harvey D. Hilley, Jr., in New Mexico and Far West Texas. Additionally, Walt Franke, Jonathan Krenek and Lonnie Kellermeier were re-elected as well.

Newly elected was Jeff Larson of Thatcher, Ariz., in District 10A, replacing Ron Howard, who stepped down from the board following 12 years of service.

Also elected to one-year terms were directors at large Michael Brooks, Steve Coester, K.C. Gingg, James Johnson, Melvin Pereira, John Pucheu, Jack Seiler and Jon Whatley.

Paul Bush: new Calcot president

Paul E. Bush is the new president of Calcot, Ltd., the Bakersfield, Calif.-based cotton marketing cooperative. Bush, a 19-year veteran of the company, was previously vice president of Southwest U.S. operations, and was elected president by the cooperative’s board of directors.

Bush assumed his new post September 1, 2018, succeeding Jarral T. Neeper, who exited after a nine-year term as the co-op’s president. Bush is the eighth chief executive in Calcot’s 91-year-history.

Paul E. Bush

Paul E. Bush

Calcot Chairman Greg Wuertz of Coolidge, Ariz., thanked Neeper for his years of service, loyalty and a number of initiatives. But going forward, Wuertz said, it was time for a new direction.

“I believe Paul Bush brings considerable experience to the company and speaking on behalf of the board and membership, we’re excited to have someone of Paul’s caliber as president for 2018 and beyond,” Wuertz said.

In his new role, Bush answers directly to Calcot’s board and is responsible for guiding the grower-owned cooperative association in its efforts to maximize returns on producers’ cotton, as well as other business endeavors.

As vice president of Calcot’s Southwest U.S. operations, Bush was responsible for all operations of the Glendale, Ariz. office, including inbound traffic, warehouse operations and providing Calcot members and gin managers with information critical to their marketing needs. He oversaw recruiting memberships and complete operations in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Bush, 51, was named vice president January 1, 2007, following eight years as a field representative serving the same areas. Prior to Calcot, he served as gin manager of 11 – Mile Corner Gin for Chickasha Cotton Oil Co. in Arizona.

Before that, Bush managed Bluebonnet Warehouse for four years for King Ranch, Inc., in Galveston, Tex., and for three years was accounting manager for King Ranch’s Arizona operation.

A Kern County, Calif., native, Bush holds a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, graduating in 1989. Post-graduate work included a six-month graduate assistantship at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Tex.

Involved in cotton industry affairs, he was a board member with the Cotton Warehouse Association of America in 1996-97 and is currently serving as a warehouse delegate to the National Cotton Council. Bush is also a graduate of the Council’s 1999-2000 Cotton Leadership Program.

Bush has remained active in University of Arizona (U of A) alumni affairs, currently serving on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Alumni Council and was recently appointed to the newly formed CALS Career Center Advisory Board. He was awarded in 2012 the U of A’s “Bear Down Award” by the school’s Alumni Association, recognizing service to the institution.

Bush and wife Nancy currently reside in Cave Creek, Ariz with sons Hayden and Cody. Son Wyatt is currently a junior studying architecture at Arizona State University.