Practically all cotton grown in the United States is classed (graded by the Agricultural Marketing Service) at the request of growers who pay a fee for the service. Cotton classification is not mandatory, but growers usually find it essential for marketing their crop and for participation in the USDA price support program.
USDA classes all cotton tendered for delivery on futures contracts on the New York Cotton Exchange and provides arbitration classing services to the industry worldwide. Classification services are also provided to individual buyers, manufacturers, breeders, researchers, and others upon request.
Other services provided by the Cotton Program are: Market News, Standardization, and oversight of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program, which is funded by U.S. growers and importers of cotton products.
International Services related to all of the responsibilities noted above are provided within the scope of the Cotton Program’s legislative authority.