OUR CHRONICLES: WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Our roots to cotton go all the way back to the early 80’s, after graduating with a degree in Agribusiness Ed Jernigan began a career in Commodity Futures and chose to specialize in Commercial Cotton Hedging. The opportunity was presented to work on Wall Street and work for the legendary commodity firm “Acli International”. The firm was active in both futures and physical commodities around the world and was a major force in coffee and sugar. After being assigned to the Asian desk and being told to learn the cotton business from top to bottom it all began. The weekly publication “Jernigan on the Cotton Market” began and continues today. The firm was originally located in White Plains, NYC but soon relocated to the Marine Midland Bank Bldg. which was next door to the New York Cotton Exchange and the New York Coffee, Cocoa and Sugar Exchange. The interaction with the floor resulted in being assigned to lead the firm’s effort in trading Cotton Options when they first opened in the mid-80. This resulted in our team soon becoming the global leader in trading cotton options and their commercial use. Eventually came the opportunity for a seat on the New York Cotton Exchange and interaction with several market legends.
The New York Cotton Exchange is part of the history of US Futures trade, the exchange was first opened in 1868 under the name New York Board of Cotton Brokers. By 1870 it became the New York Cotton Exchange the same year that work began on the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge. From these humble beginnings, the exchange grew into the world leader in Cotton and other commodities. After obtaining a seat on the exchange Ed had the honour to be elected to serve on the Exchange’s Board of Directors. The Exchange experienced tremendous growth in that period and he was able to attend the 125thyear celebration of the Exchange’s history. His time on the Board provided the opportunity to serve with many of the legends of the Modern Cotton Era: Mr. William B. Dunavant Jr. (Billy) which shaped modern cotton trade and conducted the first sale ever of US cotton to Modern China. Adolph “Bucks” Weil whose firm was active in the US and Global Cotton trade since the late 1800’s and instrumental in shaping global trade. Mr. Pete Diffly of Cargill who was responsible for establishing the interiority of the current contract and worked tirelessly in that effort. Paul Tudor Jones, who after his trading career in Cotton when on to become one of the largest Hedge Fund operators in the world. Paul was Chairman of the exchange and led the effort to expand into other products with the formation of the Finex division and was responsible for the design of the still active US Dollar Index Futures. They were many others such as Joe O’Neil who as Executive Director of the exchange worked tirelessly for the advance of hedging and the use of the contract. These and the other men and women that Ed had the honour to serve with were living examples of a tireless work ethic and unbinding source of interiority for the entire cotton industry. It was a honour to serve with each of them. Ed continued to serve on the Cotton Committee of the New York Board of Trade after the merger of the Cotton Exchange and the New York Coffee, Cocoa and Sugar Exchange until the exchange was sold to the Intercontinental Exchange in 2007 and the deal closed in 2008. Ed also became a member of the New Orleans Commodity Exchange and was active in its short staple Cotton futures contract and Rice futures. The NOCE Cotton contract was short lived while the Rough Rice futures eventually became part of the Chicago Board of Trade.
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LEADER IN COMMERCIAL HEDGING
Eventually, the Jernigan Group was formed which grew into the largest Cotton Derivative group in the world handling approx. 10/15% of the turnover in Cotton futures and options. This success led to Ed’s nomination as one of the top 10 commodity brokers in the world. As this business grew and expanded the Jernigan Group became active helping the commercial cotton trade around the world manage its risk took him to most of the major countries of the world. The first expansion was in Australia in 1985 as the country produced over a million bales for the first time. In that expansion, Ed met the major cotton growers and merchants and developed lifelong friendships and business relationships. From here business was developed across Asia with very active business in Japan, Singapore and South Korea. He was invited to China as the Cotton sector was opened under Deng Xiaoping, eventually, a joint venture was formed with the China National Cotton Reserve Corporation. The China Cotton National Reserve Corporation is the largest cotton merchandising group in the world has managed over half of all global stocks over the past several years. The JV was operated thru Globecot, a new company that Ed formed to manage Textile & Apparel and Custom Research. Thru the JV Jernigan on the Cotton Market was published in Chinese. Thru this operation Ed and the Jernigan Group team travelled Chinese extensively and assisted in the development of a reliable statistical database for cotton production in Xinjiang. In addition, the JV conducted extensive research into the Xinjiang ELS production and quality. This experience allowed Ed to be at the forefront as China evolved as the World’s largest Textile and Apparel exporter. From here the Jernigan Group and Globecot expanded into Vietnam and other emerging market regions.
Jernigan Group was also active in Europe and developed extensive involvement with the West African Franc Zone cotton industry thru the Swiss and French-based trading groups. Ed was a member of the Liverpool Cotton Association which provided for the interaction with the entire global industry. Ed was active in the post-USSR cotton trade as the activity moved to Austria and the Central Asian region. This included being active in Uzbekistan as it became an independent country. This allowed the Jernigan Group to be one of the groups that worked hard for the launch of the New York Cotton Exchange World Cot look A Index futures contract and dominated its trade during its brief trading period. Extensive work was also done across Latin America.
The opening of Globecot allowed Ed to expand his work throughout the entire global cotton and textile industry. Globecot was active in providing services for US AID in cotton-related projects. This included work in Uganda and East African on the more efficient marketing of cotton and its risk management network. The companies team of Researchers and analysis provided solutions for global companies. The largest managed project was the introduction of Fibermax cotton on behalf of Bayer Crop Science to every major cotton spinning operations in the world. We identified each consumer of SM 1 1/8 type cotton and introduced cotton produced from Fibermax seeds at major marketing seminars held in Singapore, Dubai and Jakarta and in China. Globecot developed and introduced the world’s first premium cotton price index, which became the global price barometer for high-grade cotton. This series of indexes was licensed to Bloomberg in 2008.
NEW CHAPTER BEGINS
As the global commodity markets moved to electronic trade in 2008 and ICE completed its acquisition of the New York Board of Trade, the Jernigan Group and Globecot was sold. Ed assumed the role of the Managing Director of Asia for the acquiring firm and established the firm's Asian operations in Sydney, Australia. Upon the completion of the successful establishment of grain and cotton trading activities, Ed left to establish Jernigan Commodities Pty which later became JLC Commodities and still operates today. The company assist Australian Farmers in the marketing of Cotton including direct relationships with Chinese Mills. Ed moved back to the US in 2012 and established Jernigan Global as a Cotton and Commodity Procurement Manager operating extensively in Asia and Latin America as well as the US.
After spending a lifetime in the Cotton trading arena Ed realized that Cotton Farmers, Spinners, Weavers & Knitters, dyer and finishers and the cut & sew operations all were fighting for less than 5% of the proceeds of the supply chain and that had to end. Secondly Cotton was at war for market share against Polyester and other fibers and it was time to fight back after cotton saw its market share collapse after the 2008/09 Global Financial Crisis.
JERNIGAN GLOBAL BEGINS
Jernigan Global was born to capture over 35 years of global experience in commodity trade and cotton in particular of both Ed Jernigan and many of his associates around the world to collect all that knowledge and experience into one company. Jernigan Global is the market leader in innovative and transformative Cotton Textile Supply Chain Management. The Company in 2018 launched “Field to Closet”, the first supply chain linking the Cotton Producer to the Brand/Retailer with complete traceability and focus on quality. This initiative is the first in the world to allow cotton producers to participate in the proceeds of the entire supply chain. The Company thru JG Strategic assist companies in integrating New Innovative Cotton products into their offerings and companies in relocating and reformatting their supply chains. The Company also continues its 35 plus years of experience in providing extensive research on cotton supply demand and price movement.