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.