MEMPHIS, TN – Thirteen U.S. cotton producers have been selected to participate in the 2014 National Cotton Council Policy Education Program (PEP) – which will give them an opportunity to learn more about the NCC's policy development/implementation process and industry issues.
Supported annually by Syngenta Crop Protection through grants to The Cotton Foundation since 1999, the PEP enables up to four producers from each major Cotton Belt region to attend the NCC's annual meeting where they receive an orientation to the NCC and its policy development process firsthand. The participants also receive communications training – a key step in the NCC's efforts to identify, train and maintain capable industry spokespersons.
This year's participants include: Jacob Appleberry and A.J. Hood, both from Tillar, Ark.; Brandon Belch, Conway, NC; Jayme Dunn, Satana, Kan.; Scott Flowers, Clarksdale, Miss.; Philip Marek, Wharton, Tex.; Nick Marshall, Baker Fla.; Lance Miller, Boaz, Ala.; Steve Olson, Plainview, Tex.; Glenn Sapp, Sale City, Ga.; Chase Schuchard, Roscoe, Tex.; Nick Seaton, Meadow, Tex.; and Martin Stoerner, Lockney, Texas.
The first 2014 PEP session will enable the NCC producer members to attend the NCC's Annual Meeting, February 7-9 in Washington, DC. There they will see representatives from the seven U.S. cotton industry segments in the 17 Cotton Belt states work out common problems and develop programs of mutual benefit. They will see the formulation and implementation of NCC policy and NCC resolutions, which guide the organization's efforts as it manages issues that confront the industry during the year.
In the mid-July Session 2, the group will travel to Greensboro, NC, and return to the nation's capital. While in Greensboro, they will participate in a series of meetings with Syngenta's management team and tour their research facilities as well as receive communications training. In Washington, the group will visit with House and Senate agriculture committees' staff, meet with USDA officials and get briefed by NCC Washington operations staff.
John Gibson, the NCC's Member Services director and PEP coordinator, said Syngenta's faithful support of the program has enabled the NCC to raise some 200 cotton producers' awareness of how their commodity association functions and the challenges facing the industry.
"Providing these producers, for example, with a deeper understanding of federal farm policy, environmental issues and market development is invaluable," Gibson said. "They understand better how these affect their industry's health and competitive position in the world marketplace which, in turn, helps the Council mobilize them when we need to advocate with lawmakers and other key officials."