Sixty-four women from 16 of the nation’s 17 cotton-producing states converged on Cary, N.C. June 15 for a tour of Cotton Incorporated world headquarters for the Cotton Board’s first ever Women in Agriculture Tour.
“The women on this tour comprised current and future leaders in the cotton industry,” said Cotton Board President and CEO Bill Gillon. “Their perspectives and insight are invaluable to the continued success of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. From producer, to ginner, to industry representatives, the participants demonstrate the significant role women play in agriculture.”
Gillon said the tour was “a huge success by any measure, and we intend to host similar tours in the future. The cotton industry needs the type of leadership demonstrated by these women as we work to drive demand for cotton.”
Stacey Gorman, director of communications for the Cotton Board, said the women came away from the tour with a deeper understanding of the need for research and promotion to keep U.S. cotton competitive. “Women play such a huge role in our industry and it was important for us to bring them together. We were so proud to have such a dynamic group of women on this tour,” she said.
The 64 women on the tour were cotton producers, ginners, crop insurance agents, farm business managers and industry relations professionals. The group heard from key leaders at Cotton Incorporated on what is being done to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton.
After a morning listening to presentations from Cotton Incorporated officials, the women toured “the house that cotton built” which showcases the latest textile technology that Cotton Incorporated uses in its research efforts to expand cotton usage. The facility includes a fiber processing laboratory, a dyeing and finishing laboratory and a product evaluation laboratory.
Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated, urged the women to use the tour of Cotton Incorporated’s facility as a “stepping stone” to get more engaged and involved in the industry.
“The work of Cotton Incorporated takes great staff, but it also takes great support from the industry. Our support comes from the boards of Cotton Incorporated and the Cotton Board. Hopefully, I am looking out there and there are future leaders on both boards,” Worsham said.