Calcot is a true democratic cooperative: each member has one vote, regardless of business or farm size, acreage or production. The members elect a board of directors, who set policy for the organization. The directors also hire one employee, chief executive officer (president), who hires everyone else. We are very grower-focused, but recognize our chief function is to add value through sales and service to growers’ production and return as much of the final sales price to our grower-owners as possible. Formed in 1927, Calcot originally represented only California growers. In 1955, Calcot expanded into Arizona. In 2005, Calcot was invited into South Texas to offer Calcot’s marketing services, and in 2006 acquired SWIG (Southwestern Irrigated Cotton Growers), which expanded the reach into New Mexico and Far West Texas. Our volume has grown from the first season’s 10,000 bales to the current average of close to a million bales. Calcot is among the nation’s largest cotton exporters and the nation’s largest supplier of strictly Far Western cottons. The landscape continues to change. Today, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, the industry is coping with fewer acres, lower production and fewer growers. This mirrors the general evolution of agriculture. Calcot has fewer members today than in 1960, but handles more cotton. There are fewer farms, but they are larger. That has made competition for marketing their production more intense and while it has not made cooperatives less important, it has changed the nature of the original idea–that of representing the small grower in a world dominated by a few buyers–to one of partnership, operating as the direct marketing arm of a grower’s individual operations, providing first rate service at the lowest possible cost, allowing the grower to keep more of the actual selling price of their cotton, rather than paying a middleman to handle the risk. Today, Calcot is the marketing voice of cotton growers, a major supplier of raw cotton to the world’s textile mills and an innovator of cotton marketing and shipping methods, one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the world, owned by cotton growers of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the far western U.S., and headquartered in Bakersfield, California.