Leveraging its budget through alliances with Brooks Brothers, Lands’ End, Tommy Bahama, L.L. Bean and others, has been key to Supima’s success, Curlee said.

“That’s how we’ve gotten the recognition we have,” Curlee said. “It’s been retailers like these who have promoted their products with Supima and the Supima brand that has helped tremendously.”

Dixon added: “Our job is to elevate Supima and separate it from other cotton brands as the premium cotton. Supima is American superior cotton; we’re an American brand. We love the linkage with the American cotton fiber.”

In one example, Dixon said Brooks Brothers each year puts up a Supima display in its store windows, including store-front windows along Madison Avenue and 44th Street in New York City. This is not merely a means of marketing their fine clothing, according to Dixon, but a means of promoting the grower of fine American cotton by combining it with an agricultural display in each of its windows. These displays include small bales of cotton and other small agricultural icons.

“What we’re trying to do is tell your story,” Dixon said. “You have a great story to tell.”

Supima accounts for about 3 percent of the annual cotton production in the United States. It is grown exclusively on furrowed rows where growers can closely regulate irrigation and other inputs. According to Supima’s website, China, India, Pakistan, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Peru are large importers of U.S. Pima.

Supima can be found at finer department and specialty stores nationwide. Retailers carrying Supima product include Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers, Lord & Taylor, Bed Bath and Beyond and Costco.

Supima product can also be found in direct mail-order catalogs from Lands' End, Linensource and L.L. Bean. Examples of brands carrying Supima trademarked-products include Ralph Lauren (towels), WestPoint Home (towels and sheets), Springs Wamsutta (sheets), Brooks Brothers (men's dress shirts), James Perse (casual knits) and Michael Stars (women's knits).

While much of the Supima meeting centered on marketing efforts and a little bit of humor through a keynote speaker, Keith Deputy, a cotton grower from Anthony, N.M., was elected board chairman to represent the Phoenix, Ariz.-based organization. He follows Don Cameron, a cotton producer from Helm, Calif., as chairman.

Deputy grows about 650 acres of Pima and about 850 acres of Upland cotton on both sides of the Texas/New Mexico border north of El Paso, Texas. He gins with Mesa Farmers Co-op, located between El Paso and Las Cruces, N.M. He also grows pecans, corn silage, winter forages and alfalfa.

“I’m really nervous about my cotton right now,” Deputy said, noting that heavy monsoon rains and some cool mornings could hamper his crop.

“We had 4-6 inches of rain over a one-week period,” Deputy said, adding that some fields saw even more rain. “Now we’ve had some mornings in the 46-47 degree range.”

Deputy is in the process of working with his fields to prepare them for defoliation. Given the recent turn in the weather in his region he is not betting on the kind of heat needed to dry out the cotton.

“I think up until these rains our crop looked outstanding,” Deputy said. “Now we’ll have to wait and see.”

 

tfitchette@farmpress.com

 

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