GREENVILLE, SC Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said he is among a number of senators from textile-manufacturing states who are pushing the Bush Administration to reimpose quotas on textiles products from China.
Sen. Lindsey Graham addresses STA members. Photos by Devin Steele
Addressing the Southern Textile Association (STA) during its South Carolina Division meeting on March 24, the first-term senator covered the safeguard issue and a number of other topics, including China, trade promotion authority, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the importance of partnerships and Social Security.
Graham drew hearty applause on several occasions from about 400 STA members and guests.
STA officer George Abbott of Inman Mills, who introduced the program, said, This may be the largest gathering of textile people in the United States this year. Isnt that great?
For excerpts from Graham's speech, see this week's Guest Editorial.
Among attendees are (L-R) Jay Self of Greenwood Mills, Jimmy Thomas of GTP Greenville, Rob Chapman of Inman Mills, Bill Gray of Murata Machinery USA and Norm Chapman of Inman Mills.
Roger Milliken (C), chairman of Milliken & Co., speaks with Lyman Hamrick (L) of Hamrick Mills and Tommy Ariail, an adjunct professor at Tri-County Community College, prior to the start of the meeting.
Among Milliken & Co. representatives are (L-R) Miryam Hernandez, Kevin Hall and Eric Rogers.
Charles Little (C) of Mount Vernon Mills, is flanked by Rodger Hartwig (L) of Symtech and Markus Heinis of Neuenhauser/Hubtex.
Clarence Rogers of Clemson University speaks after being honored for 19 years of service as STA's South Carolina division secretary.
Editors note: Following is a Q&A with Malloy Evans, chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) and CEO of Cheraw Yarn Mills, Inc., Cheraw, SC. Evans and the Alliance head to The Charleston Place in Charleston, SC, for their 103rd annual meeting April 21-24.His responses come in questions posed to him in written form by Devin Steele, STN editor.
Malloy Evans, chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA), will hold the gavel during the organizations 103rd annual meeting April 21-24 at The Charleston Place Hotel in Charleston, SC. Evans, CEO of Cheraw Yarn Mills, Cheraw, SC, is expected to be succeeded as chairman by First Vice Chairman Bill McCrary, president and CEO of William Barnet & Sons, LLC.
STN: During your acceptance speech last year, you said, Our continued success rests with our ability to encourage greater participation from member companies while providing outstanding value for dues dollars. We have tremendous potential to increase our influence through membership growth and strategic alliances with various industry segments. How did the organization fare on these fronts?
Evans: SCMA had a fine year of engagement on all fronts. We have added new members in a variety of manufacturing sectors and strengthened our presence in all regions of the state. We continue to reach out to various like-minded organizations to find opportunities to work together for our mutual interests. Our foundation for continued growth and influence is well positioned. The future looks very bright for the organization.
STN: Please comment on the experience of serving as an officer, including chairman. What were the personal benefits?
Evans: As chairman I was fortunate to come in contact with many of our state leaders, legislators, SCMAs Board and Executive Committee and other top-level individuals. Personally, I have a much wider range of contacts but made many friends along the way.
STN: Why was it important to you to serve in such a leadership capacity?
Evans: Manufacturing is the underpinning of prosperity and higher income levels in South Carolina. There are certain things that are critical to our segment of the state economy. Retaining and attracting jobs to our state is of utmost importance and hopefully I have contributed in a small way to providing this positive leadership.
STN: Generally, what benefits do members derive from the Alliance?
Evans: SCMAs clear mission is legislative advocacy for our members. Influencing the direction of laws in our state to ensure a healthy environment for manufacturers drives the organization. However, we are clear to our members that we must provide benefits that are visible and tangible and support the value of our dues.
This is accomplished through many opportunities ranging from individual member requests for assistance to conferences and seminars on timely topics.
However, the most benefit comes from networking and knowledge gained through committees, councils and divisions. Focused solutions to the many challenges faced by our members.
STN: The South Carolina House of Representatives recently passed H.3008, the general business tort reform bill, and the governor signed off on the legislation on March 21. What role did SCMA play in getting this meaningful tort reform bill passed? How do you expect this legislation specifically to help manufacturing in the state?
Evans: The Alliance worked closely with South Carolinians for tort reform to ensure the manufacturing community achieved a meaningful tort reform package. SCMA used grassroots efforts so that legislators would hear our message directly from our member manufacturing facilities located in their districts.
The SCMA constantly held its position that real and meaningful tort reform was needed in this state and nothing less could be accepted. We worked with the governor, House and Senate leadership, attorney general, manufacturing leaders and our members to make sure this legislation would pass.
The passage of this legislation will minimize the number of frivolous law suits, greatly reduce jury or judge shopping because of the venue decision by the SC Supreme Court and the legislature, it also prevents going after deep pockets when less than 50 percent at fault and manufacturers having to pay a disproportionate share of the verdict.
STN: What are some of other legislative/regulatory issues or concerns SMCA dealt with this past year? What are some of the other issues the Alliance worked on during the year?
Evans: We are currently working on several issues of importance: workers compensation reform, W.E.T. testing, environmental grand jury, Education and Economic Development Act, income tax reform, property tax reform and government agency restructuring.
STN: What is coming down the pike this year?
Evans: There are always many things to be dealt with in the future. A few we see on the radar screen are: blue laws, drought response, mental health insurance mandates, Santee Cooper reform, illegal alien employment, gas taxes and tax incentives for manufacturers.
STN: How did manufacturing numbers stack up last year compared to the previous year in the state and what have we seen so far in 2005? How is SCMA working to encourage manufacturing investment in the state?
Evans: In the United States we have lost 16 percent of our manufacturing jobs over the past four years. In South Carolina we are ahead of this percentage and have lost over 75,000 manufacturing jobs during this same period. Textile losses are gaining the headlines right now, but other sectors are suffering as well. We are not proud that our unemployment in South Carolina is the third worse in the U.S.
We are working hard to provide the right environment for expansions and new industry location. The tort legislation is a good example of our success in one of several areas that need attention to make us competitive with other states.
A number of our members are either expanding or looking at expansion. Mohawk is adding jobs in Bennettsville. BWM is looking to add another model to its plant and other companies are opening new facilities in the state.
Nevertheless, we need to work harder to make sure our elected officials know that the crisis is real and that they must continue to make the business climate as inviting as possible.
STN: Whats your message to lawmakers that manufacturing does matter to this country and your state?
Evans: The message is clear: Do not take manufacturing facilities for granted. Do not assume that they will always be in South Carolina. Do not think that you as legislators have done all you can do to make the South Carolina business climate the best it can be.
We are in a global market and for U.S. manufacturers to have a chance against low labor costs, foreign government subsidies, currency manipulation and structural cost advantages we must have the very best operating environment in order to survive. Our lawmakers in SC need to use all of their collective power and influence to let our federal government know of the impact decisions in Washington are having on our state now, with 7.1 percent unemployment. Otherwise, the jobs will continue to leave, the tax base will decline, schools and infrastructure will erode and our standard of living will decline.
STN: The percentage of non-textile/apparel manufacturing members has steadily grown since SCMA opened its ranks seven year ago. What those figures today? Who are your new members since last year?
Evans: Our membership reflects 68 percent non-textile and 32 percent textile membership. Our new members this year include Alexander Machinery, Carlisle Finishing, Color-Fi, Dillon Yarn, Hanes Dye & Finishing, Hartness International, Mar-Mac Wire, Maytag, Roy Metal Finishing and SCANA Corp.
STN: What are the bright spots in manufacturing in South Carolina?
Evans: There are some expansions in the works, including those mentioned earlier. Also, the newly formed International Center for Automobile Research in the upstate has great potential to lead to more growth.
STN: What else exciting is going on within the organization?
Evans: We have added an additional lobbyist, Russ Hightower, who along with our new director of Governmental Affairs, Sara Hopper, gives us more opportunities to serve our membership. We are working on an exciting safety initiative, which you will hear more about in the near future.
Member participation and enthusiasm is up. The membership is calling our staff more and more for assistance with various day-to-day issues involving government. We have a very capable and responsive group of professionals, headed up by Lewis Gossett, president of SCMA.
STN: What are the biggest challenges facing manufacturing in South Carolina now?
Evans: Our biggest challenge is adapting to the fast-moving global economy, as dictated by the World Trade Organization. In our state our challenges include a regulatory climate that seems to be backsliding in terms of cooperation with business, a hostile judicial system, workers compensation rates, a tax system that could be more favorable to manufacturing, infrastructure needs, education improvement and the need to adequately fund our technical schools.
STN: How is SCMA responding to these challenges?
Evans: Aggressively. We are on top of these issues and are working hard to address each. If it affects manufacturing in South Carolina, it is our business to deal with it, whether it is an easy issue or a hard one.
STN: Please describe the professional and personal relationship you have with your officers.
Evans: Our leadership group worked very well together. We had near perfect attendance at all Executive Committee meetings. The seven of us (Bill McCrary, Jim Micali, David Hastings, Mike Newman, Larry Perrigini and Paul Campbell) were efficient with our resources and made important decisions on a timely basis. I appreciate their positive input and thoughtfulness into our many issues. Bill McCrary will make a fine chairman in our coming year.
* Position: CEO, Cheraw Yarn Mills, Cheraw, SC
* Hometown: Grew up in Belton, SC; lived in Cheraw, SC, since 1965
* Education: Clemson University, BS, industrial management
* Career history: After working with Burlington Industries for a number of years, came to Cheraw Yarn Mills as general manager and progressed to CEO
* Civic, professional activities: Past president/chairman, American Yarn Spinners Association; member, Chesterfield County School Board, Northeastern Technical College, Cheraw Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Parenting Commission; elder and clerk, Session First Presbyterian Church.
* Awards: Twice Citizen of the Year in Cheraw
* Hobbies: Tennis in my past. Walking and swimming currently.
* Interests: Seeing our town of Cheraw prosper and remain viable.
* Last read: The Last Juror by John Grisham
* Wife: Catherine Sloan Evans (35 years)
* Children: Sons and daughters-in-law Malloy III, 31, and his wife Molly; and Sloan, 28, and his wife Mary Elizabeth
WASHINGTON, DC U.S. textile, apparel and fiber producing trade associations announced April 6 the filing of seven more safeguard petitions covering 14 categories to limit the growth of U.S. textile and apparel imports from China.
The cases covered cotton manmade fiber non-knit shirts, cotton manmade fiber sweaters, cotton manmade fiber brassieres, cotton manmade fiber dressing gowns, synthetic filament fabric, manmade fiber knit shirts and manmade fiber trousers.
The filings were made two days after the Bush Administration announced its decision to initiate safeguard proceedings to determine whether imports of certain Chinese origin textile and apparel products are contributing to the disruption of the U.S. market.
Combined U.S. imports in the 14 categories covered by the announcement totaled $14.24 billion in 2004, with imports from China accounting for $1.45 billion.
The value of the Chinese imports covered by the petitions account for 8.1 percent of the $17.8 billion in textile and apparel imports from China and 1.6 percent of the $89.7 billion in imports from the world (including China) in 2004.
In terms of the $196.7 billion in U.S. imports of all goods from China in 2004, these petitions affect only about 0.7 percent of that trade.
Were filing these petitions because of the extreme disruption in the American textile industry caused by an unprecedented of flood of imports from China, said Karl Spilhaus, president of the National Textile Association (NTA).
Spilhaus added that, at the end of 2003, the government found that increased imports of brassieres from China had caused actual market disruption and invoked the safeguard.
Since that safeguard expired near the end of 2004, the preliminary data shows huge increases in import volume from China 35 percent growth on top of its already existing 35 percent share of the U.S. import market, he said. At these rates, there will be nothing left of the fabric producers in the United States or of our garment-making partners in the Caribbean/Central America region.
Auggie Tantillo, executive director of American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), said that more petitions will be filed in the coming weeks.
We will keep filing petitions until the United States and China reach and a comprehensive agreement to moderate the growth of Chinese textile and apparel imports to a reasonable level, he said.
In the past, the U.S. government has taken four months to decide cases filed by U.S. industry when the safeguard procedures allow the U.S. government to take a decision in as little as six weeks, Tantillo added. The U.S. industry will lose tens of thousands of jobs if the U.S. government waits the full four months to act. We need the U.S. government not only to approve these cases, but to approve them as quickly as possible, which they could do by mid-to-late May.
The Bush administration is committed to enforcing trade agreements and to providing assistance to our domestic textile and apparel industry consistent with international rights and obligations, said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
This decision is the first step in a process to determine whether the U.S. market for these products is being disrupted and whether China is playing a role in that disruption, Gutierrez said. The United States is permitted, under the provisions of Chinas WTO Accession Agreement, to apply safeguards on textile products from China in instances where those criteria are met.
The White House announced the review of safeguard self-initiation on cotton trousers, cotton shirts and underwear.
Damage, however, is occurring in other categories too, said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO). Thats why the U.S. textile industry will file these additional petitions.
Chinas export surge in these categories released from quota on January 1, 2005 is directly attributable to the illegal and unfair subsidies given to their producers in an effort to drive all other competitors out of the market, Johnson added. These subsidies include illegal currency manipulation, non-performing loans, state-owned enterprises, reduced or free utilities, shipping and property taxes, free land and factories and export tax rebates. No industry playing by free-market rules can compete with an industry allowed to sell into a free-market but not play by free-market rules.
Speaking for the National Cotton Council at the briefing, NCC consultant Gaylon Booker said the NCC continues to support its domestic customers in their efforts to achieve fair and equitable terms for international trade.
The import data now available as a result of the U.S. governments improved monitoring system makes it clear that CITA made the right decision when, weeks ago, it accepted for further review the industrys threat-based safeguard petitions, Booker said. We have every confidence the government would have acted favorably on these petitions if it had not been enjoined from further consideration of them.
Job losses surge
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, after seasonal adjustments, another 7,600 textile and apparel workers lost their jobs in the 31 days of March an average loss of 245 jobs per day. Breaking down the job losses by sector, textiles lost 3,100 jobs while apparel lost 4,500.
These job losses are no surprise, Tantillo said. According to Chinese Customs data, Chinas exports to the United States in the most sensitive apparel categories are up 349 percent for the first two months of this year while prices are down 31 percent.
The report is further evidence that the textile and apparel industry will experience severe job losses in 2005 unless the U.S. government decisively confronts Chinas predatory trade practices, Tantillo added.
Job losses in March bring the total industry job losses during the 90 days of the first quarter to 17,200.
While Chinese imports are surging, 14 U.S. textile plants have already closed in 2005, triple the rate of plant closures last year in 2004.
ENKA, NC BASF said will phase out its nylon (nylon 6) polymers manufacturing operations at its site here by 2007, as part of the companys initiative to consolidate production of these materials at its manufacturing site in Freeport, TX. About 50 jobs will be affected.
Once this facility is fully decommissioned, BASF will vacate its lease with Colbond, Inc., which assumed ownership of the Enka site in 2001.
Reaching this decision was difficult, but unfortunately necessary for BASF to compete in the North American nylon market, said Jack Dellinger, general manager of BASFs Enka site.
Production needs to be consolidated into the Freeport site in order for BASF to reduce its costs and improve efficiency, which is critical for us to achieve in this industry.
The nylon 6 value chain includes caprolactam that is primarily used to nylon polymers for engineering plastics, which have applications in the automotive parts, industrial equipment, electrical/electronic, furniture, oil and gas and sporting goods market segments.
Nylon 6 polymers are also used to produce fibers for textile, carpet and industrial fiber applications.
ST. LOUIS Solutia Inc., operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, announced March 29 that it will close its nylon industrial fibers manufacturing unit in Pensacola, FL, and move production to its Greenwood, SC, facility.
Nylon industrial fibers are used in diverse applications such as tire reinforcement, automotive airbags and many other industrial uses.
Solutias Pensacola plant will continue to be the worlds largest integrated nylon 6,6 production facility, manufacturing nylon plastics, nylon carpet fiber, and chemical intermediates for use in nylon products.
However, it will close its nylon industrial fiber manufacturing unit by the end of May. This action will impact about 140 contractors and six Solutia employees.
A critical piece of Solutias reorganization strategy is re-shaping our asset portfolio so it consists of high-potential businesses that can consistently deliver returns in excess of their costs of capital, said Jeffry N. Quinn, president and CEO of Solutia Inc. Focusing our nylon industrial fiber production at the Greenwood site is our most recent step forward in implementing this strategy.
The Greenwood nylon industrial fiber unit utilizes much newer technology than the Pensacola unit, enabling it to achieve lower costs and higher quality, Solutia said. In addition to nylon industrial fibers, the Greenwood plant produces nylon carpet fiber and nylon plastics.
The decision must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
SPARTANBURG, SC Textile chemical manufacturer Apex Chemical Corporation of South Carolina, Inc. announced that it will expand its manufacturing facility here by 15,000 square feet.
The addition will include 11,000 square feet of material storage and room for the installation of a 12,000-gallon stainless steel reactor. This expansion comes only a year after the addition of two 190-liter horizontal bead mills.
We are excited about having the need to expand our facility, said Steven Baer, president of Apex. Between increased demand for our products and the need to keep larger inventories of raw materials, we had no other choice. Apex wants to maintain the capability of manufacturing dyeing and finishing auxiliaries in the United States of America for textiles and other related niche markets.
Apex has also completed the installation of a 300 KW Kohler generator, he added. This will enable us to continue production and uninterrupted office and computer functions in case of an electrical failure or blackout.
Apex Chemical Corporation of S.C., Inc, most widely known as a provider of flame-retardant solutions for textiles, has seen steady growth over the past several years in areas such as ultraviolet light stabilizers and fluorinated water and oil repellents.
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ Datacolor has helped bring Swiss beauty and innovation in textiles to the United States.
It is an industry and a country the company knows well. Although Datacolor is based here, it is a division of Eichhof Holding AG in Lucerne, Switzerland.
As a longtime innovator in color technology for the textile industry, Datacolor is familiar with exquisite Swiss textiles, particularly those of St. Gallen. The city in Eastern Switzerland is internationally renowned for its fine linen and embroidered cotton fabric.
Thanks in part to Datacolor, Textile St. Gallen is making its American debut from March 18 to April 30 at the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Los Angeles is the only other U.S. location.
Textile St. Gallen showcases the citys history of textile leadership as well as the latest equipment and technologies. The six-week stint at NCSU, which is open to the public, coincides with industry-specific events taking place there.
The college hosted the Textile Institutes Annual World Conference (TIAWC), attended by more than 400 delegates from over 50 countries.
DALTON, GA Color and Additive Technologies has relocated to a new facility here.
The facility, located at 1015 Abutment Road, has more than 100,000 square feet of floor space and provides the flexibility to grow the companys business and better supply the current and future needs of customers, it said.
With this investment, C/A Technologies will be able to expand its colorant and additive product lines to meet the demanding requirements of fiber, film, spunmelt nonwoven, composite and extrusion coating applications, the company added.
The building is formerly a large Lowes retail center.
SOUTHERN PINES, NC Edward P. Crenshaw, president of Epic Enterprises, Inc., based here, announced the March 15 opening of a warehouse in Dalton, GA.
This facility will allow Epic to better service its many customers in the area with urgent pick-up requirements, Crenshaw said.
Current inventory consists of key replacement items for Superba, Suessen, Verdol and Volkmann textile machinery. All colors of EpiMark yarn and fabric markers are also in stock.
Additional high-use items can be added upon customer request, he said. Spindles and pots are available for purchase or for use in an exchange program, he added.
The new pick-up location, which is open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. weekdays, is 1223 Coronet Drive, Dalton, GA. The phone number is 706-277-7230. For urgent requirements on Saturday and Sunday, contact 423-413-0502 or 423-413-0650.
Epic is hopeful that customers will support this new venture so they can continue this service for many years to come, Crenshaw said.
Epic Enterprises, Inc. has served the textile industrys need for replacement parts and technical solutions for over 28 years from its location here.
DALLAS Celanese Corporation announced April 7 the sale of its Vectran polyarylate fiber business to Kuraray America Inc., a subsidiary of Kuraray Co., Ltd., Japan.
Vectran had annual sales of about $6 million in 2004. The sale is consistent with Celaneses continuing efforts to focus on core chemical and engineering plastics businesses, Celanese said. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Vectran® is a fiber made from a liquid crystal polymer, which can be used to produce thermoplastic fibers and multifilament yarns.
LAS VEGAS DuPont today announced the appointment of two companies Glen Raven Technical Fabrics LLC, Glen Raven, NC, and Georg+Otto Friedrich (GOF) of Gross-Zimmern, Germany as marketing partners of DuPont Artistri digital printing for textiles.
Glen Raven manufactures and will supply pre-treated Solar Max® fabric for use with DuPont Artistri. The combination of the fabric and DuPont Artistri SolarBrite ink provides superior ultra-violet resistance, durability and exceptional color penetration properties, making it ideal for the flag and outdoor fabric markets, DuPont said.
GOF will offer polyester fabrics, including products with fire retardant and waterproof coatings, qualified for use with DuPont Artistri.
DuPont also announced the appointment of Redhill Inkjet, LLC to its global sales network for DuPont Artistri digital printing for textiles.
Redhill Inkjet, a new company based in Laconia, NH, will focus on the Graphics Arts market in North America.
DuPont also said it demonstrated a new and unique solution for rapid digital printing of soft signage products at the International Sign Association show.
ATLANTA Russell Corporation said that it has signed an agreement to be the exclusive provider of athletic apparel, team uniforms, balls and sports equipment to all 12 member schools of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the oldest of the historically black college and university conferences.
Global fiber production natural and manmade rose by 6.7 percent to a record 67 million tons in 2004, according to research published in the latest issue of Technical Textile Markets.
Total polyester fiber production grew by 9.7 percent globally, but in China it soared, according to figures produced by textile machinery group Saurer.
In the case of polyester staple fiber, Chinese production rose by as much as 21 percent to 4.4 mn tons representing 43 percent of the 10.3 million tons produced globally during the year. Chinese polyester filament yarn production climbed by 22 percent.
Geographically, Saurer pointed out that the fiber needs of the textile industry in Switzerland where the company is based were satisfied in less than one days productive activity in 2004. But in China it took two months of fiber production to satisfy the countrys needs.
Saurer added that the global increase in fiber production in 2004 extended to almost all fiber types. Collectively, output of cotton, wool and silk was up by 6.5 percent to 24.1 million tons, reversing a 0.1 percent fall in 2003.
Even more buoyant was global manmade fiber production, which rose by 7.7 percent in 2004 to reach a new record level of 37.9 million tons.
All of the main polymer types shared in the buoyancy of the manmade fiber sector. Production of cellulosic fibers rose by 8.1 percent in 2004 to 3.2 million tons a level last seen in 1990 due mainly to a 12 percent rise in viscose staple fiber production.
In the case of synthetic fibers, production of polyacrylic grew by almost 1 percent in 2004 after a decline of 1.9 percent in 2003. More striking was a 5.3 percent rise in polyamide filament yarn, to 3.7 million tons, after a slight fall in 2003.
But the biggest increase by far was in polyester, where output grew by 9.7 percent in 2004 to 24.5 million tons. Polyester alone accounted for almost 37 percent of global fiber production in 2004 and for almost 65 percent of manmade fiber output.
Alongside Chinas production, there were also substantial increases elsewhere including in the U.S. In 2004 U.S. output of polyester staple fiber grew by as much as 9 percent to 900,000 tons substantial for an industrialized country whose textile industry is in decline.
U.S. output even exceeded that of India, which reached 700,000 tons after a 10 percent rise.
Elsewhere, production of polyester staple fibers fell at double-digit rates in the CIS and Mexico, the latter reflecting concerns about the future competitiveness of its downstream textile and clothing industry. However, driven by the expansion of its technical textile industry, Mexico produced 16 percent more polyester filament yarn in 2004 which is preferred to staple fiber in most high added value technical applications.
In Turkey, polyester filament yarn production expanded significantly (up 10 percent) after several years of stagnation, but Chinese growth in this sector has inevitably resulted in casualties elsewhere in the world.
Worst hit in 2004 was the polyester filament yarn industry in South Korea, where production fell by 13 percent to 1.1 million tons. As a result, the capacity utilization rate in the country fell to a historically low level of less than 70 percent.
In Western Europe, the polyester filament industry continued its long-term downward trend. Production fell by 6 percent in 2004 to less than 400,000 tons.
Chinas growth in manmade fiber production goes hand in hand with the expansion in its textile and clothing exports. In 2002 alone Chinese textile exports grew by 22 percent in U.S. dollar terms and in 2003 they rose by a further 31 percent.
The pattern in clothing was similar with increases of 13 percent and 26 percent respectively.
NEW YORK It takes high-quality cotton to make a high-quality yarn which, in turn, becomes a fine fabric.
That quality flow and its impact on garment performance and appearance will be the focus of a presentation by Supima and Buhler Quality Yarns Corporation at the International Fashion Fabric Exhibition (IFFE) here.
The presentation, which will be made jointly by Supima Marketing Director Buxton Midyette and Buhler Quality Yarns CEO Werner Bieri, will include a description of the different types of Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton, how they compare to regular fiber and how ELS cotton can make a difference in finished goods in characteristics such as appearance, comfort and performance.
With todays trend toward luxury goods, the consumer is looking for high quality and is willing to pay for it, said Midyette. Consumers are really beginning to pay attention to the fiber content of what they buy what fiber is used and the quality of that fiber.
Added Bieri, from the spinners perspective: We are talking luxurious fiber, and anything less than a full commitment to quality is doomed to fail.
The joint presentation, part of the IFFE Designer Summit Seminar Series, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Jacob Javits Convention Center here.
For more information, visit www.fabricshow.com.
PALM BEACH, FL American & Efird, Inc. was among five winners of the American Apparel & Footwear Associations annual Excellence in Social Responsibility award, presented Feb. 25 during AAFAs annual meeting here.
Fred Jackson (L), president of American & Efird, Inc. receives the Health & Safety Excellence in Social Responsibility award from Kevin M. Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA).
A&E, a Mount Holly, NC-based global industrial sewing thread manufacturer with operations, service centers and sales offices in the U.S. and 49 other countries, was the winner in the Health & Safety category.
American & Efird is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ruddick Corporation which also owns Harris Teeter, Inc., a regional chain of supermarkets in six southeastern states.
Ruddicks commitment to environmental, health & safety (EHS) excellence dates back to 1990, when a department was created to focus and achieve excellence in EHS issues at both subsidiaries. A&E received this award based on its application, which included the following highlights.
A&E said it is committed to conducting its global operations in such a manner as to protect the health & safety of its associates. Its commitment includes management leadership and directives from the board of directors.
At a minimum, A&E will comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the U.S. and in other countries where we operate, the company said.
A&E added that it seek ways to reach health and safety excellence through developing its own International Environmental, Health & Safety Policies and Standards, participating in trade organizations health and safety excellence programs and providing input through federal and state stewardship initiatives.
A&E sets annual goals to reduce lost-time accidents, lower medical cost and lower the incidence rate, it said. Each quarter the benchmarks are presented at the board meetings at A&E, as well as Ruddick.
This year its U.S. manufacturing plants are celebrating five years without a lost-time accident. All of the U.S. manufacturing operations, as well as the Customer Support Center and the Main Office, have more than 1 million work hours without a lost-time accident.
A&E has also developed the Health & Safety Manual, which defines how its safety organization functions (safety committee, assignment of safety responsibilities, accident investigations, etc.). These guidelines have also been adopted by all of its international facilities.
A&E said it operates its facilities using the most stringent standards, whether they are local regulations or A&Es own International EHS Policies and Standards. These define eight objectives to be met by each U.S. and International facility in order to achieve health and safety excellence.
A&E also enforces a Code of Conduct that defines A&E values on several social responsibility issues, such as child labor, health and safety, environmental preservation, wages, employee harassment, hiring policies, etc.
A&E demonstrates a commitment to health and safety excellence at all of its U.S. and international operations, the manufacturer added. Its proactive leadership in health & safety excellence has enabled it to reduce the number and severity of accidents worldwide.
Its leadership in the abatement of non-mandated friable asbestos containing materials has improved our overall workplace and made it safer for everyone, the company noted. All of these programs, projects and goals are conducted with an effort to act in a socially responsible manner that benefits employees, communities, customers and stockholders.
COLUMBIA, SC The South Carolina Manufacturers Allianc recognized 141 plant sites throughout the state for outstanding work place safety accomplishments during 2004.
Adrienne Youmans, director of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR), presented the awards during the alliances annual Safety Conference here on March 2. Youmans commended award recipients for their commitment to safety.
Facilities with a low rate of incidents resulting in lost work days, job transfers or restrictions were nominated for recognition. Facilities submitting an incidence rate below the statewide average for their NAICS code received an award.
SCMA is honored to recognize its members that have achieved superior safety performance in their industries, said Cody Baker, director of manufacturing for Charleston Marine Container and chairman of the SCMA Plant Safety Task Force. These manufacturing companies are leaders in establishing safe working conditions for their employees.
SCMA works with legislative and regulatory bodies on behalf of the states manufacturers to develop a positive environment for industry growth.
Thirty-eight plants earned a certificate of special recognition for superior safety practices.
Ten companies were recognized for logging the most man hours without an incident requiring a lost work day or job transfer or restriction. They include (hours worked in parenthesis):
Milliken & Co. Judson Plant (8,332,972); Milliken & Co. Sharon Plant (7,389,634); Takata Restraint Systems, Inc. (5,206,037); Milliken & Co. Enterprise Plant (4,641,316); Milliken & Co. Monarch Plant (4,407,293); Milliken & Co. Johnston Plant (4,217,088); Milliken & Co. Abbeville Dyeing & Finishing Plant (3,777,169); Duke Power Co. Oconee Nuclear Station (3,245,549); Milliken & Co. DeFore Plant (3,157,754); and Milliken & Co. Excelsior Union Plant (3,010,555).
Eighteen companies were recognized for working the most years without an incident requiring a lost work day or job transfer or restriction. They include (years worked in parenthesis):
Springs Industries, Inc. - Springs Graphic Services (28); Milliken & Co. Whitestone Plant (25.8); Milliken & Co. Judson Plant (14.3); Milliken & Co. DeFore Plant (14); The Kent Manufacturing Company (13.75); Milliken & Co. Sharon Plant (13); Milliken & Co. Excelsior Union Plant (13); Springs Industries, Inc. Cotton Department (12); Springs Industries, Inc. Riverlawn Distribution (11); Milliken & Co. Enterprise Plant (10); Duke Power Jocassee Hydro Station (10); Duke Power Wylie Hydro Station (10)); Duke Power Buzzard Roost Hydro Station (10); Duke Power - Dearborn Hydro Station (10); Duke Power Cedar Creek Hydro Station (10); Duke Power Great Falls Hydro Station (10); Duke Power Gaston Shoals Hydro Station (10); and Duke Power 99 Island Hydro Station (10).
Ten companies were recognized for logging the most man hours in 2004 without an incident requiring a lost work day or job transfer or restriction. They include (hours worked in 2004 in parenthesis):
Duke Power Company Oconee Nuclear Station (2,330,652); Honeywell Nylon LLC Anderson (1,165,150); Springs Industries, Inc. Customer Service Center (1,132,640); Springs Industries, Inc. H.W. Close Plant (717,348); Springs Industries, Inc. Fort Mill Executive Office/CDC (672,518); Milliken & Co. Johnston Plant (659,882); Milliken & Co. Pendleton Finishing Plant (591,775); Milliken & Co. Judson Plant (586,878); Milliken & Co. Abbeville Dyeing & Finishing Plant (579,361); and Milliken & Co. Monarch Plant 557,854.
ATLANTA Textile and carpet plants in Georgia were recognized with an Excellence in Safety Award for the year 2004 during the annual Safety Conference and Awards Luncheon sponsored by GTMA: The Association of Georgias Textile, Carpet and Consumer Products Manufacturers.
Held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on March 23, the conference also featured several speakers who addressed safety issues of relevance to the industry.
The 138 plants receiving an award accounted for more than 117.7 million work hours during 2004. Overall, 217 plants participated in GTMA safety contest.
The safety of our employees is the highest priority of our industry, said Donald R. Henderson, vice president of Manufacturing for Mount Vernon Mills, Inc. in Trion and chairman of GTMA. The number of plants that received an award is not only indicative of our industrys commitment to safety, but also underscores the quality of our work force throughout the state.
The textile and carpet industry has for many years been recognized by the National Safety Council as one of the safest manufacturing industries in the nation.
More than 280 textile and carpet industry representatives attended the conference, which featured as speakers:
Thomas L. Brown of TLB Associates, along with Pat Tyson of the law firm Constangy Brooks and Smith, who discussed current OSHA initiatives and priorities;
Bob Taylor, Loss Control director of GTMAs Workers Compensation Self-Insurance Fund, who gave a multimedia presentation on identifying and correcting potential safety hazards in the workplace;
Barbara Long and Danny Eggleston, both of SI Corporation in Calhoun, who briefed the attendees on their companys highly successful Behavior-Based Safety program and how to train safety committee members to be team coaches; and
Shaw Industries, Inc.s corporate safety team, led by Pat Rutland, who explained Shaws innovative method of using Root Cause Analysis to create targeted action plans with demonstrable results.
In addition, Scott Humphrey, Shaw Industries manager of Leadership Development, addressed the Awards Luncheon on Three Things That Really Matter.
Grainger Industrial Supply was this years exclusive sponsor of the Safety Conference and Awards Luncheon.
The textile and carpet industry in Georgia is deeply committed to supporting the highest quality of life in our work places and in the communities where we live, said Jane Rierson, Human Resources director for Mannington Commercial and chair of GTMAs Safety and Health Committee. Work place safety is the first, most important step in honoring that commitment.
Five plants with manufacturing operations received first-place awards for their respective groups, which are categorized by size:
Group A (fewer than 99 employees) Milliken & Co., Newton Plant, Hartwell;
Group B (100-299 employees) Milliken & Co., Valway Plant, LaGrange;
Group C (300 to 499 employees) Milliken & Co., Design Center, LaGrange;
Group D (500 699 employees) Propex Fabrics, Inc., Nashville Mills, Nashville; and
Group E (700 or more employees) Propex Fabrics, Inc., Hazlehurst Mills, Hazlehurst
Three plants received first-place awards for safety excellence their respective groups:
Group A (fewer than 100 employees) Shaw Industries, Plant MU, Dalton;
Group B (100-199 employees) Propex Fabrics, Inc., Research and Technology Center, Austell; and
Group C (200 employees or more) Shaw Industries, Inc., Plant 34, Dalton
KANNAPOLIS, NC Will you remember us? is a question on the minds of many veteran textile mill employees who grew up on the mill hills and mill villages of the cotton mill South.
Hundreds will gather here later this month to make sure the answer is a resounding yes.
In the town where the announcement of massive textile layoffs is still a vivid and bitter memory, a first-ever Southwide Cotton Mill Reunion & Convention will take place Friday-Saturday, April 22-23 under the shadows of giant brick smokestacks that still read Fieldcrest and Cannon, site of the former Pillowtex Corporation.
Delegations and individuals are expected to attend from as far away as Valley, AL, as well as places such as Spartanburg County, SC, where mills and mill houses were once nearly as thick as trees.
Word of the gathering has traveled through a growing network of ardent preservationists, most of who have personal connections to the regions once-thriving cotton textile industry. The reunion has been organized by the Southwide Textile Heritage Initiative, a loose coalition of lay historians, mill town natives, museum staffers and mill town governments.
In January, the group published a first issue of The Bobbin & Shuttle, a 64-page magazine-format publication that it hopes to continue.
Fridays reunion activities are geared toward those who are or want to be active in saving the stories of the regions cotton mill people, the places where those stories unfolded and the historic record so that future generations may learn from their history and values.
The Hon. Julia Howard of the NC House Representatives will welcome the group and a luncheon talk by Dr. Gary Freeze, professor of History at Catawba College will kick off a day of workshops and brainstorming.
Saturday is slated as a Celebration of Memory, at which those gathered will recollect what life was like growing up mill hill-style in the South.
Welcoming the crowd will be Tuscarora Yarns Martin Foil Jr., owner of the last mill running in Cabarrus County, NC.
Dr. Jerry McGee, who grew up in the Roberdel mill village and is now president of Wingate University, will speak about the values learned in childhood, kicking off a session of audience testimony.
Valley, AL, Mayor Arnold Leake will present two action proposals to be considered later in the day.
Saturday afternoon talk sessions will break into smaller groups to discuss Mill Town Baseball, Family & Neighborhood Life, Schooling, Mill Work and The Role of Faith on the mill hills of the region.
At 3 p.m. an ensemble from the Charlotte Symphony will perform Mill Village: A Piedmont Rhapsody. Specially commissioned as a tribute to this unique way of life, composer David Crowe will conduct.
A dozen authors who have created works of history and literature will be on hand for book signings and several publishing companies will be there to scout for new material. Works of visual art, drawing on mill town themes, will be exhibited. Attendees are each encouraged to bring a copy of a family or mill photo to add to a giant Memory Wall.
Modestly-priced lunches are available both days for those who pre-register. A dope wagon will be there Saturday to rekindle memories with RCs and Moon Pies.
The reunion will adjourn to the sound of a mill whistle, but organizers said they believe that the event signals a beginning, rather than an end to its efforts at saving this critical piece of the Souths history. Several towns have already purchased their old cotton mill to be restored for public and commercial pursuits.
Partnerships with community colleges and state tourism agencies are on the drawing board, as well as school curriculum development. New mill town historical societies are springing up and, despite anger at the decline of jobs and flood of foreign textiles, a new appreciation of this bygone culture seems to be gaining steam.
All reunion events are free, thanks to a grant from the NC Humanities Council, but pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Fridays events will take place at Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church on Vance Street in downtown Kannapolis and Saturdays sessions will take place nearby at the A.L. Brown High School on First Street in Kannapolis.
Special motel rates & maps are available upon request.
For more information on this event or leads to those who might be active in textile heritage work in your market for a potential interview or graphic images for story: Contact Lynn Rumley, director, Textile Heritage Center at Cooleemee 336-284-6040 or email@example.com.
* To register by phone: 336-284-6040
* To register on the Internet: www.TextileHeritage.org (download schedule and registration coupon)
* To order Bobbin & Shuttle magazine: Send $5 donation (shipping/handling included) to Textile Heritage, PO Box 667, Cooleemee, NC 27014
LOWELL, MA As part of a special exhibit honoring our nations past, the American Textile History Museum recently hosted Richard Scott, who brought to life political maverick and textile entrepreneur General Benjamin Butler.
(L-R) Political maverick General Benjamin Butler, portrayed by Richard Scott; John H. Pearson Jr., chairman, ATHM Board of Trustees; Michael J. Smith, ATHM president and CEO. Photo by Frank J. Leone Jr.
During the museums annual Presidents Dinner March 9, Scott entertained more than 85 guests as he portrayed the life and times of Butler (1818-1893), a Lowell native.
Butler was educated in New England as a lawyer, was a Union general during the Civil War, served as a member of Congress for several terms, was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1882 and left his mark as a self-styled politician and textile industrialist.
Scotts appearance as Butler was in keeping with the theme of ATHMs special exhibit, Born on the Fourth of July: Lowell Celebrates the Nation, which recently ended.
The centerpiece of the exhibit was the Butler Flag, the first flag made in the United States from American bunting and produced in Lowell in 1865 on Butlers initiative. The flag, acquired by the museum, has been restored and preserved on the museums premises by the museums Textile Conservation Center.
ATLANTA The International Society of Industrial Fabric Manufacturers (ISIFM) will hold its spring meeting at the Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park here May 2-3.
Roger Hutchins, ISIFMs vice president and program chairman, has scheduled an diverse group of speakers.
Ralph Owens and Guenter Kurz of EMS Primid will present the keynote address. They will speak on Competitive Advantage through Bonding Agent.
A block of rooms has been set aside at the Embassy Suites.
For information, contact Sandy Saye, secretary-treasurer, at 864-240-9321 or David Hyatt, president, at 770-330-9909.
ROCK HILL, SC Springs Industries associate Tommy Louie Rutledge on April 5 was named the companys Rewards and Recognition Corporate Associate of the Year by Crandall Bowles, Springs chairman and chief executive officer.
Tommy "Louie" Rutledge is presented the Associate of the Year award by Crandall Bowles, Springs chairman and CEO.
A truck driver at Springs Traffic and Transportation Department in Lancaster, SC, Rutledge was selected from among 39 annual winners representing nearly every facility in the company. Those 39 winners were chosen out of more than 14,000 employees.
He received his award at a luncheon at the Baxter Hood Center here.
Hearing my name was a little bit of a shock, Rutledge said after being selected for the enviable honor. You always figure someone else is going to take it.
Rutledge, who joined Springs in 1996, stood out among his competitors for correcting errors on shipments of bedding products. His efforts saved the company thousands of dollars on reduced transportation charges.
Louie was selected because he embodies what this program is all about going the extra mile, said Bowles. His performance achieved measurable results that enhanced our business and contributed to our bottom line.
Louie continuously seeks ways to improve his job and our department, said Bill McKinney, Rutledges supervisor. He not only makes us aware of problems, but also offers suggestions as to how they can be corrected.
Louie is very conscientious about his job and sets the example for other associates to follow.
Rutledge, of Heath Springs, SC, took the opportunity to credit his fellow drivers.
Any driver in my place wouldve seen the errors that I discovered, he said. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Im real proud of the award, but its a team effort and Im not looking for special attention. I just want to keep on trucking.
Springs instituted the Rewards and Recognition program in 2001 to highlight and compensate associates for their outstanding contributions.
The Associates of the Year receive a designated parking space, $1,000 and companywide recognition.
WINSTON-SALEM, NC National Textiles LLC said it is phasing out operations at its Hodges Plant in Greenwood County, SC, by the end of June, leaving 390 people out of work.
The plant, which opened in 1989, produces fleece and jersey fabrics and cut parts.
Jerry Rowland, CEO of Winston-Salem, NC-based National Textiles, said diminished demand for plants products led to the decision.
Greenwood has been a very successful facility, and its closing in no way reflects on the employees there, he said. We will focus our attention over the next few months on helping our displaced employees make a career transition and identifying a buyer for the facility.
After the closing, National Textiles will operate nine plants, including seven in North Carolina.
In 2001, the company closed its Cherokee County knitting plant in South Carolina, affecting about 480 jobs.
MAIDEN, NC Carolina Mills, Inc. said April 1 that certain departments in its Plant No. 22 located in Ranlo, NC, will close by the end of May, putting 114 people out of work.
This decision was unfortunately driven by the recent surge of low-priced imported products, the escalating cost of petroleum based synthetic fibers and the resulting necessity to streamline our manufacturing operation to more closely match the reduced requirements of our customers, Steve Dobbins, president and CEO.
The surge of textile and apparel products from China since quotas were lifted on January 1, 2005 is huge, he added. Virtually every market segment has been severely affected and the damage is growing every day.
He added that this level of market disruption is in violation of the WTO accession agreement signed by the Chinese.
Our government should immediately self-initiate the safeguard provisions that were specifically included in the agreement to prevent such damage as were seeing now, he said.
The plant produces synthetic yarns for apparel and home furnishings fabrics.
We certainly regret the need for this restructuring and its impact on employees, their families and the community, Dobbins said.
Dobbins said the company will try to place as many employees as possible in other Carolina Mills plants in the area. Additional assistance will be provided for employees through transitional and retraining programs.
The plant, Carolina Mills last in Gaston County, is one of seven currently being operated by the company.
VALDESE, NC Yarn package dyer Burke Mills, NC, lost $841,000, or 30 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, after a loss of $983,000, or 36 cents per share, for the same period last year.
Net sales for the quarter decreased by 2.9 percent to $5.7 million compared to $5.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2003.
For the year, the company lost $1.7 million, or 62 cents per share, from a loss of $1.6 million, or 58 cents, in fiscal 2003.
Sales for the year were $25.1 million compared to $24.8 million for 2003.
Net sales for the year increased slightly as a result of the companys expanding its sales into other fibers and adding customers, Burke said.
New customers accounted for about $1.7 million in sales, with most of these sales occurring after the first quarter of 2004.
The increase in new customer sales was partially offset by a decline in sales to existing customers, who are experiencing competition from imports and credit problems, Burke added.
The company said it finished the year with no long-term debt or debt under its credit line.
WASHINGTON, DC On April 1, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) celebrated its first year of operation with nearly 100 active members from across the textile spectrum.
During its first year of operation NCTO established itself as the premier trade association for U.S. textile interests with the most extensive and comprehensive outreach of any textile trade association to the US government, Capitol Hill the media and international bodies, according to NCTO.
The road ahead is not an easy one, but not an insurmountable one either, said Allen Gant Jr., chairman of NCTO and CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., Glen Raven, NC. The key to the textile industrys continued success is unity in purpose and vision. It is the goal of NCTOs leadership and staff to ensure this unity is maintained and utilized to the best interest of our companies and the workers we employ.
During the past 12 months, NCTO engaged in a number of legislative, government and international initiatives to support the U.S. textile industry.
NCTO was a founding member of the Global Alliance for Fair Textile Trade (www.fairtextiletrade), a coalition formed last year and now consisting of 96 trade groups from 52 countries that are opposing Chinas take-over of world textile and apparel trade.
As a founding member, NCTO co-organized three international conferences on China which were held in Brussels, Geneva and Washington DC, and briefed dozens of governments both in Washington and Geneva on the threat from China and how it can be addressed.
As a group, GAFTT was primarily responsible for the emergence of a new bloc of countries that are opposing Chinas efforts to monopolize world textile and apparel trade in the post-quota era.
On the domestic front, NCTO organized two Textile Unity events in Washington, including the largest lobbying day to take place in Washington in over 15 years. Over the past year, NCTO staff and leadership made more than 150 visits to members of Congress and briefed the Congressional Textile Caucus on five occasions.
NCTO also initiated a new Congressional communication campaign with key members of Congress now getting updates on industry issues every two weeks. As a result, communications between the textile industry and Capitol Hill are better now than they have been in over a decade.
NCTO outreach to the administration was the most extensive the industry has had in many years. These included multiple meetings between NCTO leadership, the U.S. Trade Representative and senior White House staff.
Gant was named as a member of the ACTPN (Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations) the first textile appointment to this committee in more than 10 years.
NCTO successes on the domestic front included:
the defeat last session of a Haiti bill that would have harmed industry interests;
successful application of the China textile safeguard by having quotas re-imposed in four textile and apparel categories that were removed from quota in 2002;
the governments acceptance of industry safeguard threat petitions on China, increased funding for the U.S. Customs Service to focus on textile enforcement; and
the expansion of textile support on the Hill to include signatures from almost 175 Congressman and Senators on a letter regarding the impending threat from China.
NCTO was a lead player in organizing joint industry efforts on behalf of the entire textile industry, including working with the National Cotton Council and the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition to develop joint industry positions on trade and other issues.
NCTO also worked diligently to broaden industry outreach to other manufacturing and labor groups and was a founding member of the Sound Dollar Coalition and the China Currency Coalition. NCTO serves on the Executive Committee of the China Currency Coalition and participated with other major trade groups in filing the first ever 301 petition on Chinas currency manipulation.
NCTO is also a founding member of the CVD/NME Coalition to allow U.S. companies to take subsidy cases against China and other non-market economies.
NCTO also established a new PAC TextilePAC and developed a grassroots network focused on generating support and input at the plant level of member companies. This network was utilized to deliver thousands of letters and e-mails in support of industry efforts regarding the acceptance of threat petitions against China.
By Odyll Santos
USDAs Prospective Plantings Report showed a slight rise in cotton acreage for the 2005-06 season, and results were below most expectations in the cotton industry. In addition, there were surprising acreage decreases in some major cotton-producing states.
The U.S. will plant 13.8 million acres of cotton in the new season, up 1.1 percent from 2004-05, according to the report released on March 31. Most estimates pegged plantings at 14 million to 14.3 million acres.
Last season, U.S. producers planted 13.66 million acres of upland and pima cotton combined.
In January, the National Cotton Councils planting intentions survey indicated U.S. farmers would plant 13.73 million acres this season, with 13.48 million acres to upland cotton and 255,000 acres to pima.
USDA expects upland cotton acreage to rise 1 percent from 2004-05 to 13.54 million acres in 2005-06. Pima cotton acreage is seen rising 10.2 percent to 275,000 acres.
The increase is primarily in California, where producers are intending to plant 25,000 more pima acres than last year, USDA said in its report
Producers this season are seen increasing upland plantings in most cotton-growing states, but decreases are expected in the key states of Texas, California and Georgia, as well as Arizona, Florida and Kansas. Total cotton sowings in Texas, the largest cotton-producing state in the U.S., are expected at 5.72 million acres, down from 5.87 million acres in 2004. Georgia sowings are seen at 1.2 million, down from 1.29 million acres last season. California plantings are seen at 720,000, compared to 775,000 acres last season.
Despite the decline in planting intentions seen in the report, subsoil moisture conditions indicate that Texas acreage likely would be close to 2004 levels, perhaps even increasing marginally this season, said Mississippi cotton marketing specialist O.A. Cleveland in market comments for the trading week ended April 1.
Futures prices for December cotton at more than 55 cents per pound also may prompt Texas producers to plant more cotton. In addition, while peanut acreage is expected to expand in Georgia, Cleveland doubts that acreage in that state would fall more than 3.0 to 5.0 percent, compared to USDAs forecast of 7.0 percent.
In the Mid-South, every cotton-growing state is seen increasing acreage. Cleveland noted that Mid-South plantings are forecast to rise 400,000 acres to 3.83 million acres. Weather-delayed corn planting in the Mid-South could expand cotton acreage even further, he said.
Cleveland sees final U.S. plantings very near 14 million acres, as most areas of the Cotton Belt simply do not have viable alternatives to cotton. USDA releases its report on final plantings for the season at the end of June.
Meanwhile, some observers wonder whether higher acreage in 2005-06 will lead to another record crop. Plantings in the last season resulted in a record harvest for the year, projected at more than 23 million bales. Texas had been expected to produce a record 7.6 million-bale crop in 2004. However, recent ginnings show that 7.8 million bales have been ginned, well above the 4.3 million bales ginned in 2003.
Editors note: Following are excerpts, edited for space, of comments by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), made to the South Carolina Division meeting of the Southern Textile Association on March 24. The meeting, which drew about 400 members and guests, took place at the Woodside Conference Center in Greenville, SC.
Before I talk to you about what the government can and should do to help you ... I want to talk to you a little about your industry and Lindsay Graham. How many of you have been to Central (SC)? How many people are Clemson graduates? My dad had a liquor store in Central, so I recognize many of you. I thought some of yall looked familiar. Well, I grew up in downtown Central. My dad had a liquor store and a restaurant and a pool hall. And everything I needed to learn about politics, I learned right there. And when the mill would change Cannon Mills people would come in and get breakfast and then get lunch and then come in in the evenings and get something before they went home. And it was a family restaurant. And I can remember very well riding my bike through the mill village. And my best friends to this day are the people I grew up with.
When I was 21 my mom died of Hodgkins Disease. She was 52. When I was 22 my dad died. He was 69. ... One thing I learned as a young man is you never know whats coming your way. My sister was 13. And if it werent for survivor benefits and Social Security, we wouldve been in a world of hurt. And when you talk about Social Security reform and the reason were doing it, no one has to lecture me about why its there and what purpose it serves. No one has to tell me what the textile industry means to thousands and thousands of middle class families, because I saw it. I was part of it.
Now, once my parents died we moved in with an aunt and uncle over in Seneca. My uncle worked at Cannon Mills and my aunt worked for JP Stevens. They had a job they appreciated. It provided them a good living. They never had kids and they made a place for my sister and myself and I finished college. That paycheck from Social Security meant the world to my family. My aunt and uncle are now retired. ... Im almost 50. In South Carolina, that means Im halfway through. You know what we call Mr. (Roger) Milliken in Washington? A nice young man.
Now Im at a time in my life where I can give back. And Im going to give back to Social Security and Im asking for yall to help me do that. Make sure its there for your kids and grandkids. Now Im at a time in my life where I can help the people that helped create a life for my family, because it was the textile worker in a textile town that allowed my family to make a living. You dont have to work in the plant to be affected by the industry. From the time I grew up in Central until now, my life has taken many turns. And Im living my parents dreams. Im the first person in my family to go to college. Probably similar stories are out there among this crowd. Now, I have a chance as a United States senator to fight back and make a difference. I promise you I will.
Here is the strategy: Alliances. Weve got to build alliances with other industries and other nations that are experiencing the same phenomena you are experiencing. Mr. Milliken and others are very good at doing that. The steel industry is under siege. Were losing steel plants all over America because the Chinese, the Russians and other countries are dumping steel onto the market below cost. And I can go on and on and on about American manufacturing under siege.
But heres the new phenomena: What used to be your competitor now could be your allies. The Turks. Pakistan. Its amazing whats going on in the world because of China. Ladies and gentlemen, we have an historic opportunity to push back in a more effective way than ever because the wheel has turned in the Senate. What used to be the nice young man from South Carolina whos a protectionist is now a guy with an intriguing idea because all of my plants are closing, too.
If fast track were up for a vote today, I dont believe it would pass, because whats happened between that first vote and now has been a devastation of American manufacturing. Specifically, we have a provision in the current law that will allow quotas to be reattached to Chinese imports. The administration has agreed that theyre dumping. The retail people dont feel the administrations taking too long. Were going to push. We need you to help us push. We need to get a resolution of that case so that we can reattach that quota because theyre cheating. Their currency is far below its value on purpose. They need to revalue their currency in China because if we allow them the current practice were going to lose more and more manufacturing jobs because their currency creates an unfair discount.
Ive been in many textile plants throughout my life. Youre investing in new technology, youre modernizing. Youre doing what you need to do to be competitive. Your government is lagging behind. Were going to change that. And its going to take effort and its going to take determination.
Were going to push the administration to reattach the quotas. Were going to go after (Chinas) currency and hope we can create pressure to revalue it. Were going to band together in an international effort with the EU and others to try to get the currency to change, because the EU and the euro is suffering more than the dollar. So there is an historic opportunity here to hit above your weight by having alliances of domestic and international business concerns to control this thing called China. This thing called China is an aberration.
Ladies and gentlemen, capitalism is about labor cost, it is about taxation, it is about a good business climate. Many of your companies moved to the South from the North. Your problem is not cheap labor. That you can deal with. Your problem is a government called China manipulating its people and the markets in a way that you can never win. That is the challenge of my political generation. Its to bring this communist dictatorship in line with international business and human rights norms. If you dont respect freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of personal property rights, then how in the heck are you going to respect trade agreements? Should it shock us that this is a country that imprisons its people, kills young people in Tianamin Square because they want to be heard will cheat?
I dont blame the Chinese anymore. I blame us. They respond to weakness and they will respond to strength. If we dont watch it, China is going to grow so strong and were going to have so many business ties that were going to lose Taiwan to a dictatorship. The money from these trade agreements are not going to benefit the Chinese people at large. Theyre going into their military.
My last thought about how we can approach this problem: We need to make this a national security problem. A country that cannot outfit its own troops, a country that cant put its parts together for its war-fighting machine is a country thats insecure. There is a national security component to this whole debate that needs to be raised. The Berry Amendment is a good start.
So ladies and gentlemen, as you can tell, I have listened to your concerns. And my job is to put it into a form that will get peoples attention and will help you stay in business. I appreciate all the support for these many years and I need you now more than ever. But the climate is changing on Capitol Hill. Lets work together. Whatever differences you have needs to be set aside for the common good.
CAFTA. Mr. Milliken has killed a whole forest sending me stuff about CAFTA. Mr. Milliken, I got it. No more trade agreements that become vehicles for China to cheat. No more trade agreements that can be ignored and can result in you losing your job because China does not abide by them. No more trade agreements until China shows that it can live up to its word. So my commitment to you is not only to oppose CAFTA, but oppose any other trade agreement coming through the Senate until we get a control over this thing called China.
And Ill leave one last thought. This is a nation at war. And as I speak tonight, there are a lot of young men and women risking their lives to make sure that we have a chance to build our business and pass on our hopes and dreams to our children. Whatever problems we have to be understood in terms of sacrifice. What these young people are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan makes me want to save Social Security in the worst of all ways, because it would be a shame for a politician like Lindsay Graham to be more worried about my political career than tackle a problem that will affect the future of this fighting force when they grow old. It would be a shame if Lindsay Graham and other senators and congressmen are more worried about being liked than they are to fight. Were going to fight and were going to win. God bless you.