Cotton Foundation News

National Cotton Council periodically disseminates information such as news releases and articles in its newsletter, Cotton's Week, regarding Cotton Foundation projects, including progress reports and announcements of new special projects.

Cotton's Week - March 2024

NCC Emerging Leaders Visit Washington

The NCC’s Washington office hosted participants of the Cotton Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Program, a year-long training and educational initiative designed to give the next generation of potential NCC directors an understanding of the role the NCC plays in advocating for the U.S. cotton industry.

While in D.C., the group met with Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC); CFTC Commissioner Caroline Pham; numerous officials at USDA, including Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade Jason Hafemeister; Bayer Vice President and Head of North America Public Affairs Duanne Simpson; EPA Senior Advisor for Agriculture Rod Snyder; White House Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Will McIntee, who specializes in agriculture and rural issues; Ambassador Doug McKalip, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator, and Dr. Laurie-Ann Agama, the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Economic Affairs; and House and Senate Agriculture Committee staff.

This year’s Emerging Leader Program participants are Trey Beyer, a producer from Portland, Texas; Ryan Johnson, a producer from Wilmot, Arkansas; Kevin Madding, who works for Calcot in Bakersfield, California; Nick Marshall, a producer from Baker, Florida; John Newby, a producer from Athens, Alabama; Paula Price, who works for Cargill in Cordova; Ross Rayner, a producer from Goodyear, Arizona; Will Sanford, a producer from Prattville, Alabama; Randy Squires, a Plains Cotton Cooperative Association warehouser from Hobart, Oklahoma; Steve Stirling, a ginner from Tuscumbia, Alabama; and Blake Wilber, a producer from Tulare, California.

Cotton's Week - March 2024

High Cotton Awards Winners Recognized

The 30th High Cotton Awards recipients were recognized at the annual High Cotton Breakfast held on March 1 in Memphis. The awards, given to producers from each of the four Cotton Belt regions for growing quality U.S. cotton using regenerative practices, are supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from Farm Progress.
The 2024 honorees are: Southeast – Andy Wendland, Autaugaville, Ala.; Midsouth – Edward Greer, Rayville, La.; Southwest – Richard Gaona, Roby, Texas; and West - Jerry Rovey, Buckeye, Ariz. More information about the recipients and their operations is at

Cotton's Week - June 2023

Emerging Leaders Receive Communications Training

U.S. cotton industry members chosen for the NCC’s 2023 Emerging Leaders Program participated in sessions in Memphis and St. Louis where they received an orientation to the NCC, media training, communication skills training and briefings on key issues. 

The 12 participants are: PRODUCERS – Trey Beyer, Portland, TX; Ryan Johnson, Wilmot, AR; Nick Marshall, Baker, FL; John Newby, Athens, AL; Ross Rayner, Goodyear, AZ; Will Sanford, Prattville, AL; and Blake Wilbur, Tulare, CA; GINNERS – David Hardin, Yuma, AZ; and Steve Sterling, Tuscumbia, AL; MERCHANT – Paula Price, Cordova, TN; WAREHOUSER – Randy Squires, Hobart, OK; and COOPERATIVE – Kevin Madding, Bakersfield, CA.

Supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Bayer, the Emerging Leaders Program provides participants with a better understanding of how the NCC carries out its mission of ensuring the U.S. cotton industry can compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.

Specifically, participants get an in-depth look at: 1) the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the issues affecting the industry’s economic well-being; 2) the U.S. political process; 3) the NCC’s programs, as well as its policy development and implementation process; 4) Cotton Council International’s activities aimed at developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products; and 5) the role that Cotton Foundation members play in fostering a healthy U.S. cotton industry.

Now in its 11th year, the program also provides participants with professional development and communications training such as presentation skills and business etiquette instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.

Cotton's Week - July 2023

MCEP Allows Cotton Belt Leaders to Tour Idaho Agriculture

Producers from eight states in the Cotton Belt toured agricultural production and processing operations in Idaho on June 25-30 as part of the NCC’s Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).

Launched in 2006, the program is coordinated by NCC’s Member Services and commodity association leadership. It is supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from John Deere.
The MCEP is designed to provide its participants: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region; 2) observation of that region’s agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure; and 3) tours of the region’s research facilities and its agricultural processing operations and related businesses relevant to the area economy.

The 2023 tour’s participants included: Daniel Baxley, Dillon, SC; Marvin Beyer, Taft, TX; Philip Edwards, Smithfield, VA; Richard Gaona, Roby, TX; Jon Jones, Floydada, TX; Jeff Hill, Gates, TN; Charlie Meyer, Stratford, CA; Brent Murphree, Mason, TN; Reid Nichols, Altus, OK; Nathan Reed, Marianna, AR; Jadee Rohner, Tempe, AZ; Martin Stoerner, Lockney, TX; Jon Whatley, Odem, TX; Brad Williams, Burlison, TN; and Greg Wuertz, Casa Grande, AZ. The group was accompanied by John Gibson, NCC’s vice president, Member Services, Cordova, TN.

The tour, which was hosted and arranged by the Idaho Barley Commission (IBC), Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA) and Idaho Wheat Commission, began on June 26 in Twin Falls with an overview of Idaho agriculture from staffers with IBC and IGPA. During a visit to the Riverence Trout Farm, Blue Lakes Facility, the group heard presentations on aquaculture research and commercial trout production. They also toured the Milner Dam for a presentation on Idaho water issues, visited the Oak Valley Dairy Farm and toured the McCain Foods French Fry Plant.

Later that week, the group traveled to Caribou County where they visited Gibbs Farms to tour seed potatoes before visiting Bayer for a phosphate mine tour. They also toured Bar H Bar Ranch to see public and private land grazing and toured Thunder Mountain Elk Ranch. The group was welcomed at the Idaho Farm Bureau offices and then traveled to American Falls where they toured the Driscoll Farms fresh pack potato and hay compaction facilities. They also visited a John Deere dealership, the American Falls dam, saw sugar beet production at Clinger Farms and dryland grain production at Kress Farms.

The tour concluded with visits to:  Anheuser Busch in Idaho Falls, no-till barley and mustard fields at Place Farms in Hamer, the Cubeit Hay Company, the Intermountain Bison Ranch, and Hamilton Farms in Ririe.

Cotton's Week - July 2023

PEP Participants Complete Training, Briefings  

The 2023 Policy Education Program (PEP) producer participants completed their training with a trip to Washington, DC.

The NCC’s Washington, DC, office hosted the second session of the annual Policy Education Program (PEP), which gives cotton producers an opportunity to learn about the NCC’s work and some of its most important priorities. The PEP is supported by FMC through a grant to the Cotton Foundation.
While in DC, the PEP participants had the opportunity to meet USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie, EPA Senior Advisor Rod Snyder, numerous House and Senate staffers of the agriculture and appropriations Committees, and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Maneval in the Office of Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
Prior to the DC visit, the PEP participants met with NCC staff and FMC executives in Philadelphia, PA, where they had the opportunity to take part in professional development and media training. The group’s first 2023 PEP session enabled them to attend the NCC's Annual Meeting in February where they observed leadership from the seven U.S. cotton industry segments establish NCC policies.

This year’s participants were Kellum Cahoon of Engelhard, NC; Douglas Cardoza of Tipton, CA; Cassy England of Casa Grande, AZ; Tyler Furgeson of Idalou, TX; Katy Holladay of Lubbock, TX; Wesley Kirkpatrick of Tillar, AR; Lori McDonald of Corpus Christi, TX; and Todd Rovey of Buckeye, AZ.
Since its inception, more than 200 NCC producers have participated in the PEP.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      August 8, 2023
Contact:  Marjory Walker (901) 274-9030 or Kimberly Davis 

West, Southwest Cotton Producers to See Mid-South Operations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Fourteen cotton producers from the U.S. Cotton Belt’s West and Southwest regions will observe cotton and other agriculture-related operations in Louisiana and Mississippi on August 13-18 as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.).

More than 1,200 U.S. cotton producers will have been exposed to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own after the tour and this year’s other P.I.E. tour in which Southeast and Mid-South producers are seeing cotton operations in Texas on August 20-25. Launched in 1989, the P.I.E. program is sponsored by BASF Agricultural Solutions through a grant to The Cotton Foundation.

Specifically, the program aims to help the cotton producer participants boost their farming efficiency by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and 2) observing firsthand the unique ways in which their innovative peers are using current technology. A unique program benefit is that the participants get to ask questions of both the producers they visit on the tours and the producers from their own region that they travel with during the week.

The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, coordinates the P.I.E. program’s tours and participant selection.

The tour participants are: Arizona – Brittney Carranza, Stanfield; Matt Forbis, Casa Grande; California – Todd Fernandes, Tulare; Greg Riccomini, Bakersfield; Oklahoma – Braden Cunningham, Hollis; Russell Isaacs, Turpin; Austin Leverett, Altus; and Texas – Steven Acevedo, Lamesa; Chase Bubenik, San Angelo; Karson Davis and Tanner Heffington, both of Littlefield; Ryan Harlan, Bishop; Jeremy Jeffcoat, Smyer; and Alton Synatschk, Olton. 

The group will begin their Mid-South activities in Louisiana on August 14 at the Somerset Plantation in Newellton with an overview of black bear habitat, conservation practices, variable rate seeding and fertilizers, soil sampling program, and cover crops. While in the Newellton area, they will visit the Panola Co., Ltd. office where they will learn about corn harvest and 60-inch cotton. 

On August 15, the group will travel to Lake Providence where they will tour the Port of Lake Providence and the Louisiana Cotton Museum. While in the area, they will tour Tap Parker Farms and learn about Bunches Bend. They also will tour Panola Pepper Co. to see hot sauce production. 

The next day in Mississippi, the group will begin their day at the Delta Council in Stoneville with an overview of operations and Delta cotton production. They also will tour the Delta Branch Experiment Station before taking individual tours with producers in that area.

The tour concludes on August 17 when the producer contingent will see row rice production at Silent Shade Planting Company in Belzoni and catfish production and processing at Simmons Farm Raised Catfish in Yazoo City. 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      August 15, 2023
Contact:  Marjory Walker (901) 274-9030 or Kimberly Davis 

Mid-South, Southeast Cotton Producers to See Texas Operations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council’s Producer Information Exchange program (P.I.E.) will enable Mid-South and Southeast cotton producers to see cotton and other agriculture-related operations in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and Coastal Bend regions on August 20-25. 

After this year’s two P.I.E. tours, more than 1,200 U.S. cotton producers will have been exposed to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own. Launched in 1989, the P.I.E. program is sponsored by BASF Agricultural Solutions through a grant to The Cotton Foundation.

The P.I.E. program has a specific goal of helping U.S. cotton producers maximize production efficiency and improve yields and fiber quality by 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and 2) observing diverse farming practices and the creative ways in which other resourceful producers have adopted new and existing technology. The program provides another beneficial opportunity as it fosters the sharing of information among the participants within their own Cotton Belt region as they travel together during the week.

The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, coordinates the P.I.E. program’s tours and participant selection.

The 2023 Southwest tour participants are: Alabama – Chase Gossett and Jeff Gossett, both of Centre; Steve Griffith, Dutton; Arkansas – Tyler Cornish, Monette; Payton Stegall, Marianna; Georgia – Chase Grantham, Douglas; Brett Sauls, Shellman; Greg Sikes, Brooklet; Mississippi – Burke Hendrix, Jr., Hernando; George Perry, III, Tunica; Missouri – Terry Fuller, Kennett; and Virginia – Wesley Barnes, Courtland; and Tyler Oliver, Smithfield.

The tour will begin on August 21 in Harlingen where the group will learn about cottonseed oil processing at the Valley Coop Oil Mill and visit the Ross Gin Company in Mercedes. Later, they will tour Rio Farms in Monte Alto and tour individual farms in the area.

The next day, the group will learn about BASF agronomic performance trials near La Feria, tour a border cotton trans-shipment warehouse at CI Logistics in Weslaco, and then hear about the availability of irrigation water from the Rio Grande River at the Hidalgo and Cameron Counties Irrigation District #9 in Mercedes. Later that day, the producers will tour Chris Bauer Farms near San Benito and then get an update on boll weevil eradication status in the Rio Grande Valley from the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. 

The next two days will be spent in the state’s Coastal Bend region. 

On August 23, the producers will observe agriculture in Kleberg County and visit Smith Gin Coop in Odem before touring area farms. 

The tour concludes on August 24 when the group will travel to Corpus Christi where they will visit the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service cotton classing operation before observing module truck manufacturing at the Stover Equipment Company.



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