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Leading Private Companies: No. 4 — Staplcotn

$625 Million (Last year No. 5)

Formed in 1921 with the name Staple Cotton Cooperative Association, Staplcotn was a response to marketing problems experienced by Mississippi Delta cotton farmers.

Based in Greenwood, formerly known as the Cotton Capital of the World, Staplcotn is the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.

Staplcotn has experienced a changing of the guard as Meredith Allen, an Indianola native, has become the company’s new president and CEO.  Allen replaced Woods Eastland, who began serving in the position in 1986. Eastland has retired and now serves as chairman of the board. Allen was previously vice president of marketing, and he and Woods worked together for more than 24 years.

Allen says goals for the coming year are the same as they always have been: “To enhance our members’ income by providing cost-effective marketing, warehousing and financing.”

Staplcotn sells about one-half of its volume in the United States, which makes up about one-third of the U.S. supply. The other 50 percent of Staplcotn’s bales are exported to more than 20 countries. Its top export markets are China, Mexico, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The cotton market, which has suffered in recent years, is on the rebound. Allen said “prices are up about 30 percent from last years and 50 percent from two to three years ago.”

America’s cotton competition from China and India is “actually decreasing. As the middle class grows in those countries, they need more of the U.S. cotton crop,” Allen said.

Staplcotn offers services to cotton producers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Stapldiscount, offers agricultural financing in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

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