The National Cotton Council actively managed the U.S. cotton industry’s priorities in 2008, including the farm bill’s development and implementation — a long and arduous course that began in 2007.
Throughout that process, the National Cotton Council was well-served by: sound industry policies, dedicated staff work, Congressional friends’ efforts and committed industry leadership who worked closely with their Congressional delegations on each contentious issue.
The NCC, which moved its headquarters to Cordova, just east of Memphis, made good use of its website, www.cotton.org, as an important and valuable portal to timely industry information. For example, a special Farm Bill section was created early in 2008 to house many documents, ranging from the farm bill legislative proposals to NCC member talking points and Congressional contact information.
2008 brought a number of economic challenges for the industry, including an erratic futures market. The NCC relayed industry concerns and recommendations to Congress and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The House eventually passed the Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act but similar legislation had not cleared the Senate by year’s end.
The World Trade Organization Doha Round required intense monitoring by NCC staff as well as aggressive communication with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. As in 2007, the NCC was diligent in working to ensure cotton was not unfairly singled out and that adequate market access remained a priority during the agriculture negotiations, which stalled without an agreement.
NCC’s diligence on several technical issues boosted U.S. cotton infrastructure’s efficiency. Among examples were its “KeepItClean” lint contamination prevention initiative, spreading the word on an electronic warehouse receipt enhancement aimed at speeding the flow of warehoused cotton to domestic and international markets and staff involvement in the Keystone Initiative, a coalition of producer organizations, technology companies, food companies and conservation groups designed to measure the sustainability of production agriculture.
Cotton Council International (CCI) was involved in a number of major initiatives in 2008 that actively involved customers throughout the worldto build demand for U.S. cotton. CCI, which partnered withCotton Incorporated on several activities, received near record public funding in a particularly challenging year legislatively — which speaks volumes about the CCI’s program quality.
The Cotton Foundation continued to support the industry’s technology-based priorities and educational needs. An example of this was the launch of “Vision 21.” This project will provide for a critical assessment of the fastest growing consumer markets for cotton textiles, important life-cycle studies to strengthen U.S. cotton’s sustainability message, and a thorough analysis of cotton handling and transportation logistics with a focus on improving flow and shipping.
Sound farm legislation coupled with the NCC’s visionary programs should provide the industry some much needed underpinning to face a year that promises to be full of challenges. Guided by the NCC’s exceptional leadership and dedicated staff, U.S. cotton is well-positioned to weather the current business environment and emerge an even more powerful force in the world marketplace.
|Larry McClendon |
|Mark Lange |
President/Chief Executive Officer