MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Thirteen U.S. cotton producers have been selected to participate in the 2015 National Cotton Council Policy Education Program (PEP).
Supported annually by Syngenta 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, its policy development process and the issues threatening industry health. Participants also get communications training – also a key step in the NCC's efforts to identify, train and maintain capable industry advocates.
This year's participants include: Thomas Ater, Vidalia, La.; Brent Coker, Lubbock, Texas; Trey Davis, Doerun, Ga.; William Dunlow, Gaston, N.C.; Jesse Flye, Jonesboro, Ark.; Kim Fryer, Frederick , Okla.; Mark Grant, Garysburg, N.C.; Richard Heiden, Buckeye, Ariz.; Garrett Jones, Albany, Ga.; John McDowell, Shamrock, Texas; Joe Posey, Roby, Texas; Michael Roane, Burlison, Tenn.; and Nick Seaton, Meadow, Texas.
The first 2015 PEP session enabled the NCC producer members to attend the NCC's Annual Meeting, February 6-8 in Memphis for observing the formulation and implementation of NCC policy and NCC resolutions that 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 to Washington, DC. 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 the nation's capital, 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 continued support of this program has enabled more than 200 American cotton producers to increase their understanding of how the NCC functions and advocates for the U.S. cotton industry.
He said this includes providing program participants with a deeper understanding of federal farm policy, trade, environmental and other issues as well as global market development programs.
"This additional insight into industry issues and activities the participants gain from this program is helping the Council," Gibson said. "This program is providing us with a larger base of producers who can more effectively advocate industry needs and relay concerns that threaten industry profitability with lawmakers and key government officials."