It is “abundantly clear” that the federal Cotton Research and Promotion Program checkoff program has benefited U.S cotton producers, importers and government stakeholders, according to the leader of a team of economists from Texas who evaluated the program.

Oral Capps, Texas A&M agricultural economics professor, also told the Cotton Board at its annual spring meeting in Del Mar, Calif., that the checkoff program has benefited textile mills and cotton producers worldwide by increasing the consumption of cotton.

Based in Memphis, Tenn., the Cotton Board is the oversight and administrative arm of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program, representing U.S. Upland cotton. It contracts with Cotton Incorporated to carry out the research and promotion activities for U.S. producers and importers of cotton with a current annual budget of about $77 million that is likely to reach $100 million within three years.

This money is raised via an assessment of $1 per bale plus five-tenths of 1 percent of the value of cotton from producers, imported raw cotton and the cotton content of imported textile and apparel products.

The study by economists from Texas A&M and Texas Tech also shows that U.S. taxpayers are better off because the cotton checkoff program has reduced government outlays directed to cotton farmers.

The report from the Texas economists was the fourth done since 1996 when Congress ordered an economic analysis of the program every five years. Capps has been involved in three of the four previous evaluations.

For the past 24 years, the checkoff program has provided an annual return on investment of a little more than four to one for producers; eight to one for the government in reduced support payments; and 14 to 1 for assessed importers.

“By and large the cotton (checkoff) program is doing what it was designed to do,” Capps said.