For many years, the United States has been the largest exporter of cotton. With the recent decline in textile manufacturing in the USA, exports have assumed an increased role. Cotton merchandising is closely interlinked with government program operations, which given recent WTO rulings, are likely to change.
ECOM cotton, for some 120 years, has been active in the U.S. cotton markets. From our initial emphasis on Texas cottons, ECOM USA has expanded into Memphis Territory and more recently into Western growths and Pima. As a result, our office handles a full range of U.S. cotton. To remain in close contact with producers and ginners, ECOM USA maintains branch offices in Lubbock and Memphis. Our Dallas office functions as the coordinator of all buying and selling operations and contract execution. Additionally, it maintains a staff directly in contact with the floor of the New York Board of Trade for management of market risk exposure, and hedging of group, U.S. and global operations. Our group infrastructure permits the broadest range of client inventory and supply management, including just-in-time and lay down basis delivery.
Logistics are a critical part of U.S. cotton origination. With cotton grown over large areas and on farms of modest size using local warehouses, it can be difficult to create efficient and timely shipments. As such, warehouses often have extended backlogs of shipments and the number of warehouses from which shipments are needed can be extensive. To facilitate client service, ECOM USA maintains a network of warehouses in country, consolidation and export points. These warehouses are federally approved, bonded cotton warehouses that are acceptable to the USDA for storage of government loan cotton. In the case of Memphis and Houston facilities, our warehouse network is approved by the New York Board of Trade for the tender and storage of exchange certified stocks. With dedicated warehouses, ECOM USA is able to provide superior client service.
ECOM is the exclusive marketing agent for the U.S. Cotton Growers Association (USCGA), a USDA approved cooperative marketing association. ECOM USA provides a broad range of risk management and administrative services to the USCGA, supporting an annual turnover in excess of 500,000 bales produced by over 700 members. The USCGA allows ECOM USA to directly work with farmers and ginners, which in turn permits pre-crop planning and improvements in supply chain efficiency that ultimately benefits both the producers and the mills.