A video titled “First Pick” depicting the efforts of San Joaquin Valley cotton producers to produce honeydew-free cotton has been distributed worldwide.

The Calcot-produced video is certainly getting rave reviews at home.

California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association president Earl Williams had high praise for Calcot's efforts in telling the cooperative's mill customers about efforts to reduce sticky cotton.

The stickiness issue reached a peak in 2001 when mills throughout the world complained about SJV sticky cotton. Not long after the problem became evident, the industry faced it head on with a massive effort from Calcot, the cotton growers and ginners associations and other cotton industry interests, was instrumental in educating growers about the challenge that sticky cotton would mean for the industry. Calcot and other sponsors aired commercial radio ads to inform and educate growers during the cotton harvest season, when cotton is at its greatest risk for stickiness.

The problem was not eliminated last season but it was greatly reduced with growers and pest control advisers taking more stringent efforts to control the two insects, silverleaf whitefly and aphids, that cause the stickiness.

300 copies

Calcot ordered 300 copies of the nine-minute video in English for distribution to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh and several European countries. “We are also translating it into Mandarin Chinese and Spanish,” according to Mark Bagby, Calcot's director of communication.

“A video project of this type has seldom, if ever, been done. Most marketing material in the past has been print-based, but mass-produced video communication is unusual in the U.S. cotton industry,” said Bagby. “This particular project is also notable in that cotton buyers have a chance to see Calcot members in action and hear from them firsthand of the care and pride they take in producing some of the world's best cotton.

Calcot officials are gratified by the response. Bagby called it “overwhelmingly positive. Our customers have told us over and again that they greatly appreciate the information, and the assurances offered by the Calcot video have been of great help in determining that cotton from California and Arizona has the high qualities that our customers want and have come to count on, not only in the current season, but in seasons to come.”

The video itself is only part of the story. Calcot has also had President David Farley, assistant vice presidents of sales John Burch and Claud Acker and assistant export sales manager Carlo Bocardo on the road in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Latin America, meeting face-to-face with Calcot customers.

“The video, the personal visits and individual contact are critical parts of our strategy to rebuild and strengthen the partnership between Calcot growers and textile mills,” Farley said, “and to restore confidence in Far Western cottons in general.”