To celebrate Gold Bond Inc.'s acquisition of World Wide Line that was announced July 10, the Hixson, Texas-based supplier will offer end quality pricing (EQP) to all distributors through the end of 2014.

Natural Trends announced that Brian Ketterlin, of Bridge Marketing Southwest, has joined the Natural Trends family as the Southwest region multi-line rep. Ketterlin will represent the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

TRG Group, located in St. Louis, has hired Stephen Bell as its new Midwest region manager. Bell will be responsible for sales in the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

The drought map shows a number of worringly dry areas around the globe, but the largest area of catastrophic drought centers on Texas. It's an angry red swath on the map, signifying what has been the driest year in the state's history.

At the moment, 70 percent of Texas is experiencing "exceptional drought"—the worst classification—along with 55 percent of Oklahoma and significant chunks of Louisiana, New Mexico and Kansas.

Because it covers a huge and economically significant area, the Southwestern drought is having effects across the United States and even internationally, particularly in the food and agriculture sectors.

Texas grows more cotton than nearly any other state, but dry weather is threatening the crops.

Farmers in the area are fast approaching deadlines to plant cotton so they can file claims with insurance companies if it doesn't grow.

Ralph Bachmayer has been working in the business for nearly 70 years.

Right now, the cracks in the soil seem to outnumber the cotton plants growing in it, a problem for Bachmayer, who owns a cotton gin in Williamson County.

"This year, you're hoping it will grow," he said.

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