Despite daunting odds wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and drastic changes that ensued, in a year President Paul Bush described as “unprecedented, unpredictable and unprofitable,” Calcot completed the 2019-20 marketing year and distributed a final settlement of almost $3 million.

That was the message at the 93rd annual meeting Sept. 29 in Phoenix, Ariz., though it was the first to be conducted via a virtual format due to meeting and local government restrictions on group gatherings.

President Paul Bush said the season had more than its usual share of challenges but was pleased to tell members the cooperative would pay out one cent per pound on every bale in Calcot’s Upland Seasonal Pool on base grades, and better cotton qualified for additional premiums.

For example, 31-3-36 and better SJV Acala and California Upland cotton in the industry preferred micronaire range of 3.5–4.9 was paid an additional premium of 6.5 cents per pound for a total final payment of 7.50 cents per pound. Roller-ginned 31-3-39 cotton from the same are qualified for the same premiums even as it is already at a 400-point premium to saw-ginned.

Seasonal Pool Pima cotton, base 2-2-46, saw a final payment of 2.75 cents per pound, and like California’s other varieties is on gin UD free terms.

Desert varieties of California/Arizona and Desert Southwest origin, 31-3-36 and better with base micronaire, was paid an additional cent and a half for a final payment of 2.5 cents per pound in the Seasonal Pool.

Cotton from South and West Texas of 31-3-36 base mic was paid an additional half cent and thus a final payment of 1.5 cents per pound. Checks and direct deposits have been issued to members.

President Bush said Upland growers also benefitted from CFAP payments, which on eligible cotton was the equivalent of 4.75 cents per pound, subject to payment limitations. He praised Calcot staff in issuing information members needed to facilitate applications for this assistance. Pima cotton was CFAP ineligible, unfortunately for 2019-20, but 2020 acreage in included in the latest round of CFAP2. Bush also noted a $3 per bale Supima refund was distributed to members as quickly as it was received and is not calculated in the final payment.

He said the season was one that taught him “to worry about everything but panic about nothing” but was “frustrating,” because higher prices in the early winter dropped precipitously once the pandemic began spreading around the globe. Adjusted for inflation, cotton prices were lower than during the Great Depression. “I believe we would have seen higher market prices without the Covid intervention and impact,” he said.

Bush praised the work of Calcot employees, many of whom were forced to work from home under most unusual circumstances. His comments were echoed by Chairman Greg Wuertz, who in his webcast address noted employees also had the added stress of having to move out of offices occupied by staff since 1949 following the sale of the Bakersfield office building.

A replacement office space was ready to be moved into in mid-June but a fire in the facility the night before staff was going to move in has kept most employees working from home until repairs are complete this fall. Wuertz said he was optimistic staff could move into the leased office space in November.

The chairman noted the deaths of over 200,000 Americans from coronavirus and offered a moment of silence for Calcot director Lonnie Kellermeier, who died in a farming accident in June, and noted the passing of retired longtime Arizona vice president Lon Emerson in January.

Wuertz thanked Director Melvin Pereira, who did not run for re-election after over 20 years on the board, for his service, and offered gratitude on behalf of the board and members to Marci Cunningham, who retired from Grower Services on October 15 after 45 years with the company.

The chairman also announced to the membership that if he was re-elected as chairman, the 2020-21 season would be his final in the post and urged members to get involved in leadership posts. (Wuertz was re-elected chair in the board reorganization meeting immediately following; Michael Brooks, Toby Robertson and Jeff Mancebo were re-elected as vice chairmen. Bush was re-elected as president.)

Wuertz reported on the sale of the Bakersfield facility and the status of other property, including the purchase, renovation and expansion of a warehouse facility in Kenedy, Tex., and welcomed to the cooperative for the first-time new members from Kansas.

In other news, Directors Bruce Heiden, Stephanie Sauceda-Manuel, John Nevitt and Robertson were all re-elected to three-year terms on the board. Directors Brooks, Steve Coester, K.C. Gingg, John Pucheu, Jack Seiler, Jon Whatley and Wuertz were all re-elected as directors at large.