CORDOVA, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council has selected the first class of its new Emerging Leaders Program -- an effort aimed at ensuring the U.S. cotton industry benefits from a continuity of sound leadership.
Sponsored by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto, the Emerging Leaders Program not only will provide class participants with an in-depth look at the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the business and political arenas in which it operates but also give them intensive professional development training, including communication skills enhancement.
"We are very pleased with the quality of this first Emerging Leaders class, as many of them already are involved in leadership roles at the state and regional level, " said NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson, a Robstown, Tex., producer. "It is essential that the U.S. cotton industry have effective leadership, and we applaud these class members for taking the time to equip themselves with the tools, information and training they must have to help guide this great industry."
Among Emerging Leaders Program objectives will be to help participants gain a better understanding of: 1) the NCC's role, including its programs, policy development and implementation process; 2) Cotton Council International's central mission of developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products; 3) the broad spectrum of issues that affect U.S. cotton's economic well-being; and 4) the U.S. political process. The program also will encourage participants to increase their involvement in these and other NCC activities.
This leadership initiative also will focus on helping participants enhance their communications skills -- including presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.
The 11-member 2013-14 class is comprised of Marvin Beyer, Jr., a Taft, Tex., producer; Lee Cromley, a Brooklet, Ga., producer; Ben Evans, a ginner with Coffee County Gin & Four Corners Gin, Douglas, Ga; Matt Hyneman, a Jonesboro, Ark., producer; Jeff Johnson, a merchant with Allenberg Cotton Company, Cordova, Tenn.; Jon Jones, a Floydada, Tex., producer; Erin Langston, a ginner with Langston Enterprises, Blytheville, Ark.; Johnie Reed, a Kress, Tex., producer; Matt Simpkins, a warehouseman with Lov-Cot Warehouse, Lubbock, Tex.; Kent Smith, a Rocky Mount, NC, producer; and Davis Warlick, Jr., a manufacturer with Parkdale Mills, Los Angeles, Calif.
Class members will participate in three sessions. The first session, set for the week of June 9 in Memphis and St. Louis, will provide a NCC orientation, professional development/communication skills training and an agribusiness briefing. Class members will see policy development at the NCC's 2014 Annual Meeting in February during the second session while the third session in Washington, D.C., will provide a focus on policy implementation and international market development.
There is no age limit for Emerging Leaders candidates whose primary livelihood must be derived from at least one of the seven raw cotton industry segments. Nominations are made by one of the following: a certified interest organization, NCC officer or NCC director. Selections are made by the NCC chairman in consultation with the NCC President's office and NCC Member Services.
"Our desire is that these class participants will be recognized by their peers as emerging leaders and that they will be given opportunities to assume greater leadership roles within their industry segments and in the National Cotton Council," Dodson said. "The Council relies on qualified industry members to communicate cotton policy and issues to Congress, the media and other agricultural groups."
As the U.S. cotton industry's unifying force, the Cordova, Tenn.,-based National Cotton Council carries out a mission of ensuring the seven industry segments' ability to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.