Climbing Cost of Cotton

Right now the price of Cotton is higher than it has been since Reconstruction after the Civil War. A global spike in demand and drop in supply is fueling prices unheard of several years ago. Cotton producers in Wilbarger County Texas were receiving near $1.10/lb for the fiber.

That spike in payout is leading to profits set to break records for producers. That excites farmers such as Kenneth Lehman. "The Cotton market is at a historical high... its going to mean profit on our bottom line.", he said.

Lehman has been farming is family's lands in Wilbarger and Foard Counties for more than 30 years. His family has harvested Cotton from that land since they immigrated from Germany in the 1860's.

While his profit adds to the end cost, other factors figure in as well. When the Cotton leaves the fields, it goes to a gin where it is refined and formed into 500lb bales. Those bales are then sold to textile mills who spin yarn which is then made into the end products. Each step in that process adds cost.

Several major retailers have indicated they cannot continue to absorb the climbing cost of Cotton. Economists warn to watch for a spike in clothing costs.

While the cost rises to Consumers, overall Texoma will benefit from the Cotton market. "Whenever Agriculture generates lots of Dollars, they see a lot of turn over in the communities. From the supplies, fuel and fertilizer we buy to the employees that are involved in Cotton production.", said Lehman. He expects that to help stimulate the Texoma economy.

Click here to look at cotton commodity futures as detailed in Paul Harrop's story.