About Us

The American Cotton Shippers Association is comprised of Cotton Merchants, Primary Buyers and Mill Service Agents who are members of four Federated Associations, located throughout the cotton belt.

ACSA was organized on July 8, 1924 to provide a united voice for the cotton merchandising trade of the United States:


ACSA’s member firms handle the majority of the U.S. cotton sold in domestic and foreign markets. The significant market involvement of ACSA members requires that the Association take an active part in promoting the increased use of cotton in the U.S. and throughout the world; establishing with other cotton trade organizations national and international standards for trade; collaborating with producer organizations throughout the cotton belt in formulating farm programs; and cooperating with government agencies in the administration of such programs.

Cotton merchants at every level of the marketing chain benefit. While cotton is a product of nature, how much is planted, by whom, and at what price is not always a market determination; it can be influenced by USDA.

The opportunity to participate in the formulation of ACSA policy, through input to, or service on, committees or Boards of Directors. The opportunity to voice concerns on numerous issues, to recommend policy changes in USDA regulations, or to change or enact legislation is available to each ACSA member the opportunity to participate fully in the affairs of ACSA.

Chairman’s Biography

Ernst D. Schroeder, Jr.

Ernst D. Schroeder, Jr. (“Ernie”) was born in Bakersfield, California and is the fifth generation raised in the San Joaquin Valley. He graduated from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After extensive training at Rhodes College Cotton School, the New York Cotton Exchange Floor, several international cotton companies, and the Harvard Business School, he assumed management of Jess Smith & Sons Cotton, Inc. Currently, Mr. Schroeder serves as Chairman of Jess Smith & Sons (“JSS”) Cotton, Inc., Bakersfield Cotton Warehouse, and JSS Almonds, which is involved in almond and pistachio farming, processing, and marketing. The company’s almond butter under the label Nuttzo is now in grocery stores across the United States.

Mr. Schroeder was a former director of Cotton Council International, a 3-segment member and director to the National Cotton Council, and long-time participant in Supima’s global delegations. He is a joint owner of The Seam, a member / former advisor to the California Cotton Growers/Ginners Association, member of the International Cotton Association, and past President of the Western Cotton Shippers Association.

He also enjoys golf and spending time with his family. He and his wife, Jennifer, have one child, Eric, who is a Junior in college.

My project-1 (3)

President’s Biography

William H. “Buddy” Allen

William H. “Buddy” Allen became the President/CEO of American Cotton Shippers Association on January 1, 2019. Mr. Allen also serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the American Cotton Exporters Association as well as Chairman of the Committee for International Co-operation Between Cotton Associations. Additionally, Mr. Allen serves on the Agricultural Advisory Board of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

After earning his degree from the University of Mississippi, Mr. Allen gained Capitol Hill experience from both the Office of United States Senator Thad Cochran and his involvement in The Macon Edwards Company, a government affairs firm, where he provided service to ACSA. He is a partner in A&J Planting Company, a vertically integrated agribusiness in Tunica, Mississippi.

Mr. Allen is a native of Belzoni, Mississippi and resides in Tunica, Mississippi. He is married to the former Allison Johnson, and they have three daughters.

William H. Allen 1

Officers and

  • Ernst D. Schroeder, Jr., Chairman, Jess Smith & Sons Cotton, Inc.
  • Azeez Syed, Vice-Chairman, Olam Agri Americas, Inc.
  • Darren Long, Second Vice-Chairman, ECOM USA, LLC
  • H. Thomas Hayden, Jr., Immediate Past Chairman, Louis Dreyfus Company
  • William H. Jones, III, Treasurer, Louis Dreyfus Company
  • William H. Allen, President & CEO, American Cotton Shippers Association
  • Thomas McMeekin, McMeekin Cotton LLC
  • Wesley Rentz, Olam Agri Americas, Inc.
  • Keith Elzie, ECOM USA, LLC
  • Krista Rickman, Cargill Cotton
  • Beau Stephenson, Omnicotton, Inc.
  • Brady Raindl, ECOM USA, LLC
  • Leigh Pell, Louis Dreyfus Company
  • Kevin McDermott, Jess Smith & Sons Cotton, Inc.
  • Amy Bain, Louis Dreyfus Company
  • Raymond Faus, Omnicotton, Inc.
  • Jeff Johnson, Louis Dreyfus Company
  • John King, Olam Agri Americas, Inc.
  • Nick Peay, Louis Dreyfus Company
  • Robin Pigot, Cargill Cotton
  • John Romines, Olam Agri Americas, Inc.

Become a Member

Application for membership in ACSA is handled through the four federated associations of ACSA, which represent the seventeen states throughout the cotton belt. Upon joining ACSA as a Merchant, Primary Buyer or Mill Service Agent member, you also become a member of the National Cotton Council.