Jay Hardwick, a Newellton, La., cotton producer, was elected chairman of Cotton Incorporated at the recent Cotton Incorporated board meeting. Hardwick, who succeeds outgoing chairman Rickey Bearden of Plains, Texas, has served as an officer in various U.S. cotton-related organizations, including National Cotton Council chairman in 2009.

“Jay’s experience as a cotton producer and as an officer in numerous cotton organizations gives him a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities for cotton at this point in the industry’s history,” says J. Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated.

Somerset Plantation, Hardwick’s farming operation in northeast Louisiana adjacent to the Mississippi River, has produced cotton, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat since 1981. He received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and earned a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.

Hardwick has held key positions in many farming and farm-governing organizations including: vice president of the Louisiana Cotton Warehouse Association and of the Newellton Gin Company; director of Tensas Warehouse, Tensas State Bank’s Farm and Livestock Credit; the Tensas Concordia Soil and Water Conservation District; president of the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association; past secretary of the National Peanut Board; vice president of Electronic Warehouse Receipts;NCC Chairman; and secretary of Cotton Incorporated.

Hardwick will serve a two-year term as Cotton Incorporated chairman.