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June 28, 2024

By June 28th, 2024No Comments

Welcome to the June 28, 2024 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Is the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge Stealing Cotton Acres?

In April four national wildlife refuges — including Muleshoe — received support from the federal government to expand their acreage. The original boundary set by the government limited potential growth, so the U.S. Department of Interiors lifted the boundary limitations.

However, there is no eminent domain process involved. It is all freedom of choice as to whether someone wants to sell their land to the refuge.

“Some of my best friends are cotton farmers,” said Jude Smith, manager of the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge and overseer of the expansion project. “We’re just looking to expand our conservation endeavors for wildlife and wetlands, but we’re not taking it by force.”

He went on to say some of the information being distributed by the American Stewards of Liberty group is a little misleading. The nonprofit champions private property rights and have dedicated a page of their website to what they call the “Muleshoe Land Grab.”

While the new plan allows the refuge to expand up to 700,000 acres in the Southern High Plains of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, it doesn’t mean that the land will automatically be given to them or taken by force from the landowner. The plan will take decades to reach the goal set, according to Smith, and “will hopefully provide a flexible plan into the future for everyone involved.”

“Yes, it’s voluntary,” said Margaret Byfield, executive director of the American Standards of Liberty. “However, we are concerned that land will be taken under federal control through conservation easements or regulatory pressure from the government.

They create the problem for landowners by regulating practices through the Endangered Species Act, and then they come in with the solution: we’ll buy your land and then you won’t have to worry about it.”

Byfield goes on to say that conservation easements can potentially yield all control to the government as well. If entering a conservation easement contract, it’s important to read the fine print, and, according to Jay Bragg, associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities for Texas Farm Bureau, consult with your attorney, family and heirs. “This is a big decision,” agreed Smith. “No one should ever feel rushed to enter into an agreement.”

However, if landowners pay careful attention to their contracts should they desire to enter into one, they still retain ownership of the property even if they sell their development right through a conservation easement.

Byfield claims this plan was enacted to achieve the goals of the Biden Administration’s “America the Beautiful” initiative — also known as the 30×30 vision within Biden’s climate crisis executive order issued shortly after he took office in 2020. The 30×30 vision aims for the U.S. to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands and freshwater and 30% of U.S. ocean areas by 2030.

“It’s all about government control, which will decimate local economies by taking land out of production and out of local County tax revenue,” Byfield added.

Smith emphasized the choice behind this plan. “It’s just an option for landowners who have been asking for this for more than a decade. They don’t have to sell, and we won’t take the land from them.”

PCG Key takeaways from visiting with both the American Stewards of Liberty and the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Read all the fine print from both sides.
  • Talk to both parties before coming to an opinion.
  • Calling this plan a land grab is inaccurate.
  • There isn’t a “removal of acreage” — it’s an optional transaction should someone wish to sell or contract a conservation easement.
  • If you “cross your t’s and dot your i’s” on the conservation easement contractual agreement, then you retain ownership rights of property.
  • When evaluating land sales to the refuge or conservation easement, consult an attorney.
  • Eminent domain is not involved in this process.
  • This is not a federal mandate.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. 

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Cotton Incorporated Launches “The Fabric of Now” Campaign

Cotton Incorporated has taken their consumer marketing to a new level with “The Fabric of Now” campaign. Society’s culture has shifted toward relaxing and enjoying the moment as well as sustainability and caring for the environment.

Cotton Incorporated is meeting the stakeholders where they are with this new initiative.

Launched April 24, 2024, the platform focuses on the art of slowing down. The younger generation’s exhausting inundation with news, information and screens has this audience craving a moment of pause and intentionality in their lives and shopping choices. Cotton, as a natural, breathable, and sustainable fabric is the choice for this audience’s moment.

TV Efforts

This 30-second commercial airs on major networks and is titled, “The Fabric of Phone-Free Fridays.” 

Taking advantage of trending topics that reach the target audience (18- to 34-year old females) — like phone-free Fridays or sleeping in — Cotton Incorporated has two TV ad spots running on major networks focused on capturing attention spans and influencing them toward cotton fiber.

These commercials were crafted with intention. From the couple with their dog (consumers are much more likely to be impacted by a commercial that features a pet) showcasing the durability and comfort of cotton sheets to the trendy young people enjoying a Friday night dinner with friends.

“We slowed down the motion toward the end of the commercial and turned off audio to capture attention to the relaxation element that these consumers are seeking,” said Kim Kitchings, senior vice president of Consumer Marketing for Cotton Incorporated.

And it worked. Roughly one-third of consumers surveyed said the commercials made them think differently about cotton and cotton products. “Most people think of cotton in terms of underwear or white T-shirts,” Kitchings added. “We are breaking through that stigma with this campaign.”

This 15-second commercial airs on major networks and is titled, “The Fabric of Sleeping In.”

One consumer remarked that he or she didn’t realize that cotton was breezy until he saw the “Sleeping In” commercial showing cotton curtains blowing in the breeze. Another said the commercial made him think of how versatile the fabric is.

After watching the “Phone-Free Friday” commercial featuring young people eating spaghetti and spilling drinks, another consumer said, “It made me think that perhaps there are ways to get stains out of cotton easier than I have experienced in the past.” (This is another important stigma Cotton Incorporated is breaking and why the stain care section of The Fabric of Our Lives website is one of the most highly visited of the company’s web presence.)

Social Media Efforts

The campaign is disseminated through multiple social media channels as well including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.

The commercial content has been repurposed to fit social media formats and draw more attention to the versatility, comfort and durability of cotton fabric.

Cotton Incorporated has also latched onto the influencer space in social media. Social media influencers are similar to brand promoters. They use their content to build rapport with their followers, which makes them credible with their audience when they begin to recommend products. They highlight a brand’s message to specific target audiences and can have millions of followers depending on their influencer category.

Collaborations between brands and influencers is an effective marketing strategy for the 18–34-year-old range that Cotton Incorporated is focusing on currently. They’ve executed many of these partnerships, the most recent being the collaboration with Olympic gymnast hopeful Suni Lee and LoveShackFancy (a niche clothing store and e-commerce site with locations in predominantly affluent areas). The Cotton x LoveShackFancy collaboration will feature more than 100 cotton-rich items.

The exposure cotton has had through “The Fabric of Now” activities has been impressive. Millions of people have seen cotton through this promotion and are influenced to buy the products, which were designed with cotton materials.

There are future plans well underway to continue to increase cotton’s exposure to eager consumers, and PCG will continue to bring updates of Cotton Incorporated’s efforts on your behalf.

P.S. The U.S. Olympic Team’s opening day outfits will be designed by Ralph Lauren and will be made from denim! How exciting to see cotton win!

Click on images to enlarge.