Echols elected to lead Cotton Council James E. Echols, a merchant from Cordova, Tenn., will lead the National Cotton Council of America through what could be some of its most challenging times in 2001. He was elected at the industrywide organization's annual meeting in San Diego.

Echols, who served as a NCC vice president in 2000, succeeds Robert E. McLendon, who will chair the NCC's Executive Committee. Echols also will chair the NCC Board, which approved a change in the NCC's officer structure that establishes the chairman position as the industry's chief elected industry officer.

Kenneth B. Hood, a producer and ginner from Gunnison, Miss., was elected vice chairman and is slated to succeed Echols as chairman of the council in 2002.

Echols is past president of the NCC's export promotions arm, Cotton Council International; the American Cotton Shippers Association of which he currently serves as a director; and the Southern Cotton Association. He is a former member of the New York Cotton Exchange board of managers.

Echols began his career with Hohenberg Brothers Co. in 1960 as a trainee. In 1971, he was elected vice president of the company and in 1988 was named senior vice president. In 1990 Cargill, the parent company, announced his election as president of Hohenberg and chief executive officer of the Worldwide Cotton Product Line, which includes the merchandising firm Ralli Brothers and Coney based in Liverpool, England.

A native of Memphis, Echols attended Delta State University and graduated from the University of Memphis with a marketing degree.

Hood, who served as treasurer of the NCC in 2000, has been a council vice president and chairman of its Farm Program and Economic Policy Committee. He also currently serves as president of the Stoneville, Miss.-based Delta Council.

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Hood led the fight for boll weevil eradication in Mississippi, serving as president and now chairman of the board of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corp., the farmer organization that oversees the operation of the program in its state.

He also has been president of the National Association of Farmer Elected Committeemen, the organization of farmers who serve on county and state Farm Service Agency committees. Hood grows cotton in partnership with his brothers on their family farm in Bolivar County, Miss.

Also elected as NCC officers for 2001 were: vice presidents Fred Underwood, warehouseman, and Wayne Martin, crusher, both of Lubbock, Texas, and Secretary-Treasurer W.L. Carter Jr., producer, Scotland Neck, N.C.

Re-elected vice presidents were: Robert W. Greene, ginner, Courtland, Ala.; Van A. May, cooperative official, Lubbock, Texas; and W. Duke Kimbrell, manufacturer, Gastonia, N.C.

The council chairman, vice chairman, vice presidents and secretary-treasurer make up the NCC Executive Committee, which will oversee the organization's efforts to enact new farm policy aimed at helping pull the cotton industry out of its current financial problems.

Elected as NCC staff officers were: Phillip C. Burnett, president and chief executive officer; Gaylon B. Booker, executive vice president; and Mark Lange, vice president, policy analysis and program coordinator, both of Memphis.

Lange formerly served as director of NCC's Economic Services and Information Services departments. He will provide support for development of council policy governing such areas as farm law and trade as well as internal policy affecting council membership and interaction between the seven industry sectors. He also will help coordinate a council staff work plan to address recommendations industry delegates approve at the council's annual and board meetings.