In 1907, an international group of cotton industry representatives met in Atlanta, Georgia, to address serious problems that had developed in the marketing of cotton.
A resolution was passed which recommended the establishment of uniform cotton standards to “eliminate price differences between markets, provide a means of settling disputes, make the farmer more cognizant of the value of his product, and, therefore, put him in a better bargaining position, and in general be of great benefit to the cotton trade.” In response, over the next several years, laws were passed authorizing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop cotton grade standards and offer cotton classification services.
Under the authority of the U.S. Cotton Statistics and Estimates Act of 1927, the U.S. Cotton Standards Act of 1923, and the U.S. Cotton Futures Act of 1914, USDA implemented a classification system. Thus began an industry-government relationship that remains strong and viable to this day, continuing beneficial results for the nation and for its customers abroad.
Overview of the Cotton Classification Process: Nature of Cotton, Classification, Structure, Scope, Process, Tracking.
To maintain the integrity of the USDA classification system, official standards and standardized procedures have been developed and used.
Learn how US Upland Cotton is Classified: Fiber Length, Length Uniformity, Fiber Strength, Micronaire, Color Grade, Trash, Leaf Grade, Extraneous Matter, Module Averaging.
Classification procedures for American Pima cotton are similar to those for American Upland cotton, including the use of HVI measurements.
The reproducibility of cotton classing results from one USDA facility to another is the measure used to determine the reliability of the data produced.
USDA disseminates data in two formats: (1) official classification information and (2) statistical information regarding quality, volume, and pricing.