A marketing plan is a contingency plan of actions that a grower would take in various possible, but ultimately uncertain, market situations. Developing and implementing a marketing plan begins with an updated estimate of expected production costs. In order to plan how to price your cotton, you have to have an accurate and complete estimate of your expected cotton production costs (in dollars per pound of yield). Obviously, your expected costs and yields may differ from what actually turns out, but for planning purposes you still need a good working estimate.
The best source of both cost and yield information is from your own records, averaged across five to ten years of history.
In Texas, there are a number of resources that can assist you in identifying and organizing your cost information so that it is as accurate and complete as possible.
Agricultural economists with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension publish planning budgets for growing cotton. These are useful to identify the kinds of costs you should be keeping records of. You can find Extension Budgets for your region of Texas here.
You can work with the Texas A&M’s FARM Assistance program to create a customized budgets (and other financial statements). The FARM Assistance program will develop a strategic plan for your farming operation that includes cost of production projections based on your own records.
Texas A&M’s Agriculture and Food Policy Center periodically publishes cost and financial information from representative cotton farming operations in Texas. Their reports can be found at http://www.afpc.tamu.edu/pubs/ .
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. has a collection of 2004-2005 seed cost data to let you compare/confirm/budget for seed costs (a major expense). This information can be accessed at http://www.plainscotton.org/Seed/seedindex.html.
Lastly, USDA’s Economic Research Service conducts nationwide surveys of farmers, and publishes costs of production estimates based on those surveys. This information is available on-line at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/costsandreturns/ .