The Cotton Board approved Cotton Incorporated’s proposed 2008 budget of $78 million on September 6 during the Cotton Board's Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The allocated budget and plan will now be forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final approval.

Cotton Incorporated’s President and CEO, J. Berrye Worsham, outlined the major budgetary needs and key directives for the organization during his presentation to the Cotton Board, which include the following: continued focus within the “green initiative” including a marketing strategy to promote the new Natural™ trademark; an increase in the organization’s Asian presence with the opening of the new Cotton Incorporated Hong Kong office early next year; continued research in cottonseed and gossypol developments; and continued joint promotional efforts with Cotton Council International (CCI) in China.

“We will continue to focus on promoting cotton as the natural choice for consumers in 2008 – both domestically and overseas,” said Worsham. “As retailers and brands are continuing to place an increased importance on sustainability, we understand the significance of spreading the positive message of cotton and the environment – and our plans going forward continue to incorporate sustainability in each division within our organization.”

Also addressing the Cotton Board, National Cotton Council Chairman and past Cotton Board Chairman John Pucheu Jr. provided an update about current policy matters affecting cotton including the current state of the Farm Bill and the Brazil case, as well as the continued importance of Cotton Incorporated’s and CCI’s efforts to link China and U.S. cotton while increasing the overall consumer demand for cotton. “We have worked hard to convey the industry’s priorities of the Farm Bill to Congress,” said Pucheu, “and while the structure of the existing farm program enjoys strong support, it needs some modifications to function more effectively in today’s export-oriented environment.”

Pucheu also acknowledged the work of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. “The National Cotton Council continues to be impressed with the innovative market promotion and research activities of Cotton Incorporated which are operated under the supervision of the Cotton Board,” he stated. “Because of the expanded resources from producers and importers, the Program continues to meet the challenges from synthetic fibers.”

Special guest speaker Erik Peterson, Senior Vice President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), gave a unique presentation to the Cotton Board about his broad-based effort to forecast key trends out to the year 2025 – called the Seven Revolutions Initiative (7revs.org). “These seven revolutions are designed to help us look well into the future and understand what we need to do to make our world prosperous and sustainable,” Peterson noted.

The seven revolutions he outlined include population, strategic resource management, technological innovation, the flow of information, economic integration, the nature of conflict and the challenge of governance. When addressing agricultural production and energy to the group, Peterson commented that “we need to work hard to understand the interaction of food and energy – and continue to be sustainable in our uses of resources because of the forecasted population growth.”

To close the Cotton Board’s annual meeting, outgoing Chair Nancy Marino provided comments to the Members and Alternates about significant activities of the Cotton Board during her two years as Chair as well as Cotton Incorporated’s approved budget. “Through the 40 years of this Program, Cotton Incorporated’s budget has grown incrementally as creative programs have been expanded to capitalize on market opportunities, and it is important to note that for the first time ever, the Cotton Board has authorized a three-year projected budget of $78 million,” she stated. “I believe this funding decision of the Board will ensure a financial foundation upon which Cotton Incorporated can continue to build and implement creative research and promotion programs to further their mission of improving the demand for and profitability of cotton.”

Marino also commended Cotton Incorporated’s role in eliminating gossypol in cottonseed, which could increase cotton’s use in the food market – as well as their recognition by Fast Company magazine as one of the top 25 companies that are making a difference in the world. On the importer front, she commented that the upcoming Sustainability Summit will “heighten the sourcing industry’s awareness of cotton’s sustainability by illustrating how cotton is positioned in front of the green curve.”

About the Cotton Board:

The Cotton Research & Promotion Act established the Cotton Board as a quasi-governmental, non-profit entity to serve as the administrator of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. Funded by America’s cotton producers and importers through the cotton checkoff, the Program’s research and promotion activities are conducted worldwide by Cotton Incorporated, the Cotton Board’s sole-source contracting organization, to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Cotton Research & Promotion Program continues to work in all areas of cotton’s pipeline – from the field to the consumer – to keep cotton the number one fiber choice in the U.S. For more information about the Cotton Board and the innovative activities stemming from the Program, visit www.cottonboard.org.