During its annual meeting in Durham, North Carolina, the Cotton Board reviewed and voted to recommend Cotton Incorporated’s proposed 2012 budget of $80 million to the Secretary of Agriculture. The budget and plan, along with the Cotton Board’s recommendation, will be forwarded to the USDA for final approval.

The Cotton Board elected John Clark as its chairman for 2011/2012. Clark, an importer representative from Los Angeles, thanked the board for his election, saying, “I will work to represent all the members of the board during the upcoming year.”

Clark is the Vice President of Michar, LLC, which specializes in design, sales, sourcing, importation and distribution of all genders and ages of wearing apparel. Clark has been a member of the Cotton Board since 1998.

Clark holds a B.A. in International Relations and International Business from University of Southern California. He is also the Vice Chairman of the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel. He and his wife Suzanne have three grown daughters.

The full slate of new Cotton Board officers is as follows: John Clark, importer from Los Angeles, California, Chairman; Kevin Rogers, producer from Mesa, Arizona, Vice Chair; Mike Sturdivant, Jr., producer from Glendora, Mississippi, Secretary; and Gary Ross, importer from Yardley, Pennsylvania, Treasurer.

Craig Shook, outgoing Cotton Board Chairman and Texas cotton producer, commented on his year as chairman, saying “I believe we have had a good, productive year. We have taken steps to strengthen the Research and Promotion Program, and we have continued to improve the ability of the members of the Cotton Board to carry out our mission.”

Shook praised previous chairmen of the Cotton Board, and the work they had done to pave the way for his chairmanship. During his time as chairman, Shook worked on several projects including hiring a new CEO, reviewing USDA investment policies, and revising the contract with Cotton Incorporated.

The Cotton Board also voted to recommend the Secretary of Agriculture approve a proposed $80 million budget for the Cotton Research and Promotion Program, developed and to be carried out by Cotton Incorporated.

“The proposed budget represents a 13 percent increase from the 2011 plan and reflects an emphasis on innovation, stronger research programs, sustainability issues, and increased competition. Cotton Incorporated’s proposed budget reflects many of the recommendations developed in March by the Cotton Board. We commend Cotton Incorporated for its responsiveness to our concerns and the thoughtfulness represented by this proposed budget. We believe this proposed program of research and promotion will continue to move the cotton industry forward. We look forward to working with Cotton Incorporated during the 2011/2013 program year,” said Clark.