The U.S. cotton industry's export promotion program has been given a timely boost via a Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co. grant.

Stoneville's $75,000 annual special project grant to The Cotton Foundation will be used to support Cotton Council International's (CCI) COTTON USA Advantage program — an effort designed to help overseas consumers distinguish the unique qualities and services of U.S. cotton and U.S. cotton products.

As the export promotion arm of the Memphis-based National Cotton Council of America, CCI works to promote U.S. cotton fiber and cotton products as the choice for global textile manufacturers and consumers through its extensive COTTON USA trade servicing and consumer promotion programs. With offices in Washington, Memphis, London, Hong Kong and Seoul, CCI plays a major role in strengthening key markets for U.S. cotton and U.S. cotton products in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

“This grant from Stoneville couldn't have come at a better time because it is imperative that we elevate the competitiveness of U.S. cotton in the world marketplace,” said CCI Second Vice President Bobby Carson.

The Marks, Miss., cotton producer said this type of grant really maximizes CCI's budget power because CCI can use this contribution to leverage its U.S. government, industry and international funding sources.

Mark Lange, a NCC vice president and economist, said Stoneville's support of the industry's export promotion program is encouraging.

“This comes at a crucial time as CCI is striving to help U.S. cotton overcome stiff competition from cotton and other fibers,” he said. “There is a good possibility that U.S. cotton can export nine million bales in 2001 and capture a 32 percent share of the world cotton market. A strongly-endowed CCI can certainly help U.S. cotton be competitive and maintain that market share in the future.”

Stoneville Pedigreed Seed President Thomas F. “Bud” Hughes, said, “we are really pleased to support CCI's COTTON USA market development programs, and to be able to help U.S. cotton continue as the dominant player in world cotton trade. Stoneville has been advancing the supply side of U.S. cotton through more productive varieties for almost 80 years. Now, by working cooperatively with CCI, we have found a small way to help build demand for our U.S. customer's product.”