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Cotton Program seeks diverse leaders that reflect industry demographics

Cotton CPOs and CIOs will caucus this summer to nominate candidates for leadership positions. Importance of board diversity and broad participation encouraged.

Certified Producer and Importer Organizations (CPOs and CIOs) will caucus this summer to nominate candidates for leadership positions within the Cotton Research & Promotion Program, including the Cotton Board.

“The upcoming caucuses offer cotton producers and cotton importers, brands and retailers the opportunity to participate in leadership positions that provide oversight of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program,” said Craig Shook, Texas producer and Cotton Board Chairman. “These are important positions, and we need strong leadership that reflects the diversity within the U.S. cotton industry.  Diverse representation brings a broad range of knowledge and experience to the table which strengthens the work of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program.”

Shook recently facilitated two conference calls with CPOs and CIOs to emphasize the importance of board diversity and encourage broad participation by industry members. USDA guidelines governing board nominations stress that checkoff boards should reflect diversity in the size of operations, experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, as well as race, ethnicity, and gender. The USDA guidelines assert that Boards should be reflective of the industry population that contributes to the research and promotion assessment.

Shook further stated, “It is clear thatboard diversity will continue to play an important role as the Secretary of Agriculture considers potential appointees to the Cotton Board.”

The Cotton Board is pleased to join USDA to encourage and support diversity among those nominated to serve as members of the Program’s appointed leadership. The pursuit of diversity in board membership is an opportunity for embracing new ideas and growth that will enable boards to better serve their industry associates.

The Cotton Board has been consciously pursuing and encouraging board diversity through several activities. In addition to a conference call with CPOs and CIOs, the Cotton Board’s Regional Communication Managers continuously meet new producers and discuss the leadership opportunities within the Cotton Board. The Cotton Board also has in place a term limit policy intended to promote diverse board leadership opportunities on a continuing basis. 

If you are interested in serving on the Cotton Board please contact your local CPO/CIO or contact the Cotton Board for more information at (901) 683-2500.

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