Goodness Grows In North Carolina
Cotton Outline


Association Name Commodity History Regional Information Production
Packaging Shipping Buying

I.Association Name: NC Cotton Promotion

A. Commodity Represented
Cotton

B. Types of Commodity
There are many seed varieties of cotton, but the plant basically produces a white fiber.

C. Is there a National Promotion Month for the Commodity? When?
No

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II. Commodity History

A. North Carolina Background
1. Is the crop originally from NC or did it originate elsewhere? Where?
Cotton did not originate in North Carolina.

2. When was it brought to NC?
When Columbus discovered America in 1492, he found cotton growing in the Bahama Islands.

3. How was it brought to NC and by whom?
N/A

4. Was it brought to a specific region? Is this the same region in which it is now mainly grown?
Colonists were growing cotton along the James River in Virginia by 1616.

B. Uses
1. How is the product used?
The cotton fiber is basically used to manufacture textiles.
The cotton seed, which is extracted during the ginning process, is crushed to produce cooking oil and animal feed.

2. Has today's use changed from its original use?
Both the fiber and seed are more widely used today.

3. If yes, how was it originally used and why was there a shift in use?
Originally, the cotton fiber was used to produce clothing. With changing technology, cotton fiber and cotton seed by-products are used in a variety of consumer products.

C. Industry Changes
1. How has technology changed the industry? What are some of these improvements/changes?
Better ginning and spinning procedures

2. How have the uses for the product changed over the years?
The use for cotton has changed by being in the production of many items instead of just cloth as it used to.

3. Has consumption/use of the product increased/decreased? Why?
Consumption is increasing in cotton products due to global demands.

D. Future Outlook
1. How is the industry changing currently?
Through improved ginning and spinning procedures

2. Are there any future projects that would change how the industry is maintained?
Improving the manufacturing procedures for cotton textiles

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III. Regional Information

A. Region
1. Where in the state is the commodity grown?
Mostly in the Piedmont and the Coastal Plains

2. If more than one location, where is it the most abundant? The least abundant?
Most of the concentration is in Eastern North Carolina

3. Why can't it be grown in another section of the state? Or why the difference in production from area to area?
Mainly due to soil type

4. When is the growing season?
Cotton is planted in mid to late April and harvested in late September, October, and November.

B. Climate
1. What kind of weather does the commodity like?
Cotton can withstand high temperatures.

2. Is there a specific condition the commodity needs (full sun, shade, etc.)?
Full sun

3. Are there ideal temperatures the commodity needs?
Cotton prefers warm and sunny temperatures.

C. Soil
1. What type of soil works best with this commodity? Why? Is it rich in a specific nutrient, etc.?
Sandy loams of the Coastal Plains because the high organic matter contributes to excessive vegetative growth.

2. Is there an ideal temperature for the soil?
The ideal temperature is 70 to 85 degrees.

3. Do certain soil conditions increase crop production? If yes, what are they?
Cotton does not produce well in soil of high organic matter. A lighter sandier soil is adequate for cotton.

D. Weather Conditions
1. In emergency weather conditions what precautions are taken? Are precautions usually preventative (advance) or reactive (as it occurs)?
Not applicable

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IV. Production

A. Production Steps
1. When are seeds planted?
Cotton is normally planted in mid to late April and early May.

2. What is the estimated time before sprouts appear?
Depending on weather conditions, 7 to 10 days

3. How long generally before the crop is ready to be harvested? (Not total time of season, but the actual length of time from when a crop is planted, germinates and is ready to be harvested)
Normally 160 to 180 days

4. Once the crop is taken from the ground where does it go? Is it stored somewhere before it is ready for use? Or does it get packaged right away? If stored, what is it stored in and why?
Cotton is ginned at a local gin where it is compressed into a 500 pound bale, and is stored in a warehouse until it is sold to the textile mill.

B. Production Materials
1. Is there any special equipment used during the whole production process? What are they?
Once the cotton is harvested it is delivered directly to the gin, or is compressed into modules and left in the field for later ginning.

2. How was the production process handled before technological developments? What types of machines, if any, were used in the process?
Prior to mechanization, cotton was picked by hand and delivered to the gin on horse drawn wagons.

3. Are pesticides used in crop production? What are the most common types?
Herbicides are used to control weeds and grasses since grass is the biggest problem and insecticides are used to control insects and the boll worm.

C. Grading
1. Is there an inspection that the product must go through before being packaged/sold?
Yes

2. Is the inspection conducted by county, state, or national officials?
All cotton is classed by USDA

3. What agency is responsible for the grading/testing and setting the standards?
USDA

4. How is the grading done? Is it for each individual piece, or per field, per farm, etc.?
Each bale is sampled at the gin.

5. Give a basic breakdown of the scale used and what it means
Cotton is classed by color and fiber strength.

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V. Packaging

A. Is the product usually sold fresh, frozen, dried, etc.?
N/A to field crops.

B. If product is sold in a variety of ways what is the most common in NC?
N/A to field crops.

C. Is the product packaged? If yes, how?
N/A to field crops.

D. Why is it done this way? Is it economical, prevents bruising, industry standard or for shipping purposes, etc.?
N/A.

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VI. Shipping

A. Distribution
1. What is the most common method of distribution in your industry?
Cotton is transported to the textile mills by commercial trucks.

2. Is the product sold mainly to retail, foodservice, wholesale, specialty outlets or a variety of outlets? What is the most common?
N/A to field crops.

3. Does the product go to one place, then another before ending up on a grocery store shelf or restaurant? If yes, where does it go?
N/A to field crops.

4. Is the commodity exported? Domestically, internationally?
NC cotton is exported.

B. Transporting
1. How is the commodity normally transported ?
From the field to the gin on cotton wagons.

2. Does the transportation vehicle require special features? (Refrigeration, etc.)
The compressed modules are transported on a special truck.

3. Have methods of transportation changed over the years? (Before automobiles, etc. how was it transported?) Or has method of transportation stayed the same? And if so, how is it done?
Transportation has advanced the changing technology.

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VII. Buying

A. Product
1. What is the product used for? Are there different uses?
The product is used for cloth and by-products.

2. When purchasing/inspecting the commodity (at the store) how do you know it is fresh?
N/A to field crops.

3. Is there a trick to buying and finding ripe/fresh product? (Smell, thumping, shaking, color etc.)
N/A to field crops.

B. Labels
1. Is your product required to carry a label?
N/A to field crops.

2. Is there an industry standard for the label, or is it individualized for each company/producer/grower?
N/A to field crops.

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