MEMPHIS – Applications will be taken until July 1 for U.S. cotton industry members seeking selection to the 2003-04 Cotton Leadership Class.
Those interested in applying can visit the Cotton Leadership Program’s new web site at http://leadership.cotton.org to review the program curriculum, eligibility requirements and download the application. The site also includes a contact form which allows users to submit questions, request information and schedule a personal visit with local program alumni. After July 1, industry members can submit applications for the 2004-05 class, said National Cotton Council Member Services Director John Gibson who manages the program.
He said the NCC’s Cotton Leadership Program seeks to identify potential industry leaders and provide them developmental training through this class. During five sessions of activity across the Cotton Belt, participants visit with industry leaders and observe production, processing and research. They meet with lawmakers and government agency representatives during a visit to Washington, DC, and attend the NCC’s annual meeting and its mid-year board of directors meeting.
The program, now in its 20th year, is supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from DuPont Crop Protection and is the Foundation’s longest running special project. The 10-member leadership class is comprised of four producers and one participant from each of the other six industry segments. The 2003-04 class is to be chosen in July by the NCC’s Cotton Leadership Development Committee.
Committee Chairman Jimmy Sanford, an Alabama producer, encouraged industry members wanting to take a more active role in the U.S. cotton industry to apply for the class.
"The numerous challenges facing U.S. cotton today in legislative and regulatory arenas continue to pose serious threats to industry profitability," Sanford said. "As a result, the demand for well-trained, effective industry leadership has never been more critical."
Sanford said leadership program alumni, now at 200, have utilized the skills and knowledge gained from their participation to represent the U.S. cotton industry on state, regional, national and international levels. He noted that 1984-85 leadership class graduate Bobby Greene currently serves as the NCC’s chairman – the organization’s top post. Greene, a Courtland, AL, ginner, is the first leadership class graduate elected to that position, but others have served in key positions in NCC. That includes Bobby Carson, a Marks, MS, producer and graduate of the first leadership class (1983-84). Carson currently is president of the NCC’s export promotions arm, Cotton Council International, and perviously served as president of The Cotton Foundation.
Members of the 2002-03 class are: producers – Todd Isbell, Muscle Shoals, AL; George LaCour, Jr., Morganza, LA; Brian Vanderlick, Alexandria, LA; and Jack Seiler, Blythe, CA; ginner – Russ Kuhnhenn, Acme Gin Company, Buckeye, AZ; warehouseman – Dan Sullivan, Anderson Clayton/Queensland Cotton, Fresno, CA; merchant – Edward Clarke, Joseph Walker & Company, Columbia, SC; crusher – Tim Detamore, Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Oklahoma City, OK; cooperative – Scott Stockton, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, TX; and manufacturer – Vern Tyson, Jr., National Textiles LLC, Winston-Salem, NC.