The Cotton Board recently held its March Board Meeting in Austin, Texas. The purpose of the meeting was to allow The Cotton Board to review Cotton Incorporated’s plan for 2013 and develop strategic recommendations. The meeting was well attended by both producer and importer board members.

During the meeting’s general session, The Cotton Board heard thought-provoking presentations from several keynote speakers. The Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, the Honorable Todd Staples, addressed the Board and spoke about the importance of agriculture in the United States. Specifically about cotton production, he said, “The key to our many successes has been our innovation in areas such as yield increase due to new seed varieties, water and drought management techniques and the boll weevil eradication program.”

Also addressing the Board was Wally Darneille, president and CEO of Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA). “I don’t think the absolute level of prices is as important — if everyone can make some money — as stability in prices. Volatility has killed us over the last couple of years,” explained Darneille. Mr. Darneille’s presentation focused on helping both producers and importers make sense of cotton’s extensive supply chain, which ranges from producers to spinning mills and cotton marketing.

Information about consumer attitudes and trends was presented by The Cotton Board’s new consumer advisor, Marshal Cohen, who is the Chief Industry Analyst for the NPD group. He highlighted the need for renovation, communication and invigoration saying, “We really need to use technology to rewrite the rules in order to engage today’s consumer.”

The general session ended with a presentation from Cotton Incorporated’s senior staff giving an update on the Vision 21 project, focusing on results from the recently completed life cycle analysis. All four presentations can be found on the Cotton Board Web site at www.cottonboard.org.

Also attending the meeting were four past chairmen of The Cotton Board. They included: Nancy Marino, an importer from New York who served as chairman from 2006-07; Bob McGinnis, a producer from Arkansas who served as chairman from 2008-09; Larkin Martin, a producer from Alabama who served as chairman from 2009-10; Craig Shook, a producer from Texas who served as chairman from 2010-11.

The next full Board meeting for The Cotton Board will take place in August 2012. During the August meeting The Cotton Board will review and decide whether or not to recommend approval of Cotton Incorporated’s proposed 2013 plan and budget to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval.