One of Our Many Members


ICE Futures U.S.operates global commodity and financial products marketplaces, including the world's leading electronic energy markets and soft commodity exchange. ICE's diverse futures and over-the-counter (OTC) markets offer access to contracts based on crude oil and refined products, natural gas, power and emissions, as well as agricultural commodities including cocoa, coffee, cotton, ethanol, orange juice, wood pulp and sugar, in addition to foreign currency and equity index futures and options.


The 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.


May 2, 2017

Contact: Cotton Nelson (901) 274-9030 or Marjory Walker

2017 P.I.E. Program Tour Dates Set

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) has scheduled tour dates and locations for the 2017 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.

The P.I.E. program’s goal is 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 unique ways in which their innovative peers have adopted new and existing technology. A unique program benefit is that the participants get to ask questions of both the producers they visit on the tours but also from producers from their own region that they travel with during the week.

This season, Mid-South producers will visit California’s San Joaquin Valley on July 17-21; Southwest producers will see agricultural operations in Georgia on July 31-August 4 and producers from the Southeast and Far West will tour two Texas cotton production regions on August 14-18.

The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection. Sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 29th year and has exposed more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own.

Cotton Foundation President Gill Rogers, a Hartsville, S.C., cotton producer, said Bayer’s support of the P.I.E. program continues to provide its producer participants an invaluable opportunity to boost their on-farm efficiency.

Rogers, who was a 1993 P.I.E. program participant, said at that time nobody in his area was using irrigation. He said after seeing the innovative irrigation techniques cotton producers were using in California and Arizona, he decided to begin irrigating his cotton back in South Carolina.

“It (tour) changed the way I farmed from that day forward, helped me do a better job of farming,” Rogers said.

Rogers also recalled that during his Far West tour he heard from farmers who were making the effort to educate their children so they would continue to farm.

“I have never forgotten that,” he said. “Everyone on the tour was very positive about agriculture and the tour was a very positive experience for me.”


April 27, 2017

Contact: Cotton Nelson (901) 274-9030 or Marjory Walker

2017-18 Emerging Leaders Program Class Announced

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Twelve U.S. cotton industry members have been chosen to participate in the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Emerging Leaders Program for 2017-18.

Participants include: PRODUCERS – Blake Fennell, Earth, Texas; Jesse Flye, Jonesboro, Ark.; Richard Heiden, Buckeye, Ariz.; Justin Jones, Smithville, Ga.; and Rose Robertson, Coolidge, Ariz.; GINNER – Cacky Sobral, Wilson, Ark.; MERCHANTS – Wesley Rentz, Greenville, S.C.; Beau Stephenson, Richardson, Texas; and John Stevens, Memphis, Tenn.; WAREHOUSER – Joe Tillman, Memphis, Tenn.; MARKETING COOPERATIVE – Jayci Cave, Lubbock, Texas, and MANUFACTURER – Kimberly Bamonte, Gastonia, North Carolina.

Now in its fifth year, the NCC’s Emerging Leaders Program is supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto.

NCC Chairman Ronnie Lee, a Bronwood, Ga., producer, said, “We are grateful for Monsanto’s ongoing support of the Emerging Leaders Program. U.S. cotton needs dedicated leaders who are committed to helping our industry maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. This initiative is helping to identify men and women who have demonstrated the potential for taking on this important challenge and then encouraging and equipping them for this important task.”

Overall, 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’s seven segments 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 and 4) Cotton Council International’s activities aimed at developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products.

The Emerging Leaders Program also provides participants with professional development and communications training such as presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.

Class members will participate in three sessions. The first session, set for the week of June 12, 2017, in Memphis and St. Louis, will provide an orientation to the NCC, professional development and communication skills training and an agribusiness briefing. During the second session, class members will see policy development at the NCC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in February. The third session, to be conducted later in 2018 in Washington, D.C., will provide a focus on policy implementation and international market development.



March 3, 2017

Contact: Cotton Nelson (901) 274-9030 or Marjory Walker

2017 High Cotton Winners Recognized

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The 2017 Farm Press-Cotton Foundation High Cotton Awards recipients (by Cotton Belt region) are: Southeast – Ronnie Burleson/Andrew Burleson, Richfield, N.C. Mid-South – Byron Seward, Louise, Miss.; Southwest – Brent Hendon, Welch, Texas; and Far West – Mark McKean, Riverdale, California. They and their families were honored on March 3 at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis.

The High Cotton Awards were begun by Farm Press and the National Cotton Council in 1994 as a way to demonstrate that cotton growers and their families are concerned about the environment and are the true stewards of their land, air, and water. The program, which now has recognized nearly 100 U.S. cotton producers, is supported by a Farm Press grant to The Cotton Foundation.

Southeast winners Ronnie Burleson, and his son, Andrew, are known for their commitment to soil conservation, adapting the latest technology and going the extra mile to produce a high yielding, high quality cotton crop. Burleson and his family were the first farmers to bring cotton back to North Carolina’s Stanly County in 1991 after the boll weevil — and low prices — had driven growers out of the crop. They have grown cotton every year since then, though, and plan to stay with the crop.

Mid-South winner Byron Seward, whose family has been growing cotton in the Mississippi Delta since the 1930s, became one of the first farmers there to make variable rate applications of fertilizer, using a flagging system to show the applicators where to increase or decrease the rates. The practice helped him to better match the applications with the needs of plants, while preventing the excess from running off into area streams.

Someone in Brent Hendon’s family has been growing cotton in the Welch, Texas, area since the late 1920s. Hendon irrigates 75 percent of his 4,000 acres of cotton, watering with center pivots with low elevation spray application. He also employs soil conservation practices, rotation and resistant weed management.

Far West winner McKean, who has farmed for 29 years, places great emphasis on environmental stewardship, using inputs such as nitrogen, plant protection products and growth regulators sparingly – to protect the groundwater in California.

“Spraying a chemical is the last thing I want to do,” said McKean, who has sprayed his cotton just once or twice per season in recent years. “Anytime you start applying chemicals, you are in a cycle of doing it again and again,” McKean said. “The longer you can put it off, the better.”

More information on the recipients is at

This year’s awards are co-sponsored by Americot, AMVAC, Bayer FiberMax/Stoneville, Dow Phytogen, Dyna-Gro, Helena, John Deere, Netafim and Simplot Grower Solutions.


Copyright ©2002-2017 The Cotton Foundation. All Rights Reserved.