Jon Bibb, a Tunica, Miss., farmer, and John Romines, a merchant with Cargill Cotton, Memphis, Tenn., have been selected for the National Cotton Council’s Emerging Leaders Program class for 2014-15.

The program, sponsored by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto, gives participants an in-depth look at the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the business and political arenas in which it operates and it provides professional development training.

The Emerging Leaders Program “is designed to encourage and equip industry members so they are better prepared to handle the responsibilities of being a U.S. cotton industry leader,” said NCC Chairman Wally Darneille.

The program helps participants gain a better understanding of: the NCC’s role, including its programs, policy development and implementation process; Cotton Council International’s central mission of developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products; the broad spectrum of issues that affect U.S. cotton’s economic well-being; and the U.S. political process.

The Emerging Leaders Program encourages participants to increase their involvement in these and other NCC activities. It also helps them develop communications skills — including presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.

In addition to Bibb and Romines, members of the 2014-15 class are: Christopher Alphin, a ginner with Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Va.; Scott Gunn, a manufacturer with Swift Spinning, Inc., Columbus, Ga.; Bradley Harrison, a Yuma, Ariz., producer; Chad Mathis Jr., an Arlington, Ga., producer; Travis Mires, an O’Donnell, Texas, producer; Stacy Smith, a Wilson, Texas, producer; John Romines, a merchant with Cargill Cotton, Memphis, Tenn.; Brett Underwood, a warehouseman with The Trinity Company, and Steven White, an executive with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, both in Lubbock, Texas.

Class members will participate in three sessions. The first session, set for the week of June 15 in Memphis and St. Louis, will provide an orientation to the NCC, professional development/communication skills training and an agribusiness briefing. Class members will see policy development at the NCC’s 2015 annual meeting in February during the second session while the third session in Washington, D.C., will provide a focus on policy implementation and international market development.