In 1993, Texas organic cotton farmers formed the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) to develop new markets for the organically grown fiber. Over time the cooperative has survived floods, sandstorms, hailstorms and drought that destroyed as much as 70 percent of its crops in some years. Perseverance paid off, and in 2015, cooperative members harvested 14,000 organic bales and 1,200 transitional bales from 20,000 acres. These High Plains pioneers now produce 80 to 90 percent of the organic cotton grown in the United States. The cooperative received the prestigious “Organic Farmer of the Year” Leadership Award from the Organic Trade Association in September. “These TOCMC farm families are the thin line guarding our top soil, air and water for generations to come,” says Marc Chase, CEO of Native Organic Cotton. According to Chase, the TOCMC represents the only commercial growers of long-staple certified organic cotton in the United States.
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