THE 2005-05 cotton leadership class is in its first of six week-long development session, including an orientation to the National Cotton Council and communications training in Memphis, Tenn.

The 22nd class, recently selected by the NCC's Cotton Leadership Development Committee, includes:

  • Producers — Debra Barrett, Edcot, Texas; Justin Cariker, Tunica, Miss.; Max Denning, Benson, N.C.; and Adam Hatley, Mesa, Ariz.

  • Ginner — James Askew, Servico Gin, Inc., Courtland, Ala.

  • Warehouseman — Ronald Lee Jr., McCleskey Cotton Co., Bronwood, Ga.

  • Merchant — Dale Cougot, Paul Reinhart, Inc., Richardson, Texas.

  • Crusher — Craig Moore, PYCO Industries, Inc., Lubbock, Texas.

  • Cooperative — Carlo Bocardo, Calcot, Ltd., Bakersfield, Calif., and Robert Oppenheim, SWIG, El Paso, Texas.

Over the next year, the class will visit industry leaders, tour production and processing operations, and observe research activities. They will attend the NCC's annual meeting, visit lawmakers in Washington and participate in orientation sessions with Cotton Incorporated, the New York Board of Trade and DuPont Crop Protection, which supports the program with a grant to The Cotton Foundation.

Leadership Development Committee Chairman Jimmy Sanford, an Alabama producer, said the program is reinforcing one of the U.S. cotton industry's strength's — the continuity of solid leadership.

“This program leaves nothing to chance,” Sanford said. “It accelerates the process of identifying those with leadership potential and introduces them to the breadth of the U.S. cotton industry and the issues and challenges it faces.”

Also on the group's first-week schedule was a tour of Cargill Cotton in Memphis and a trip to the Mississippi Delta with visits to: Ellendale Planting Company in Clarksdale, Miss.; Delta Council, the USDA-ARS Ginning Lab, and the Delta Branch Experiment Station in Stoneville, Miss.; Staplcotn Cooperative and the PYCO, Inc. cottonseed crushing facility in Greenwood, Miss.; Hood Farms in Gunnison, Miss., and Maud Farms in Dundee, Miss.

More than 200 industry members have participated in the Cotton Leadership Program, which began with the 1983-84 class. The 2004-2005 class is the first without a manufacturer representative — a reflection of industry consolidation and economic conditions in the textile sector.

Duke Kimbrell with Parkdale Mills, Gastonia, N.C., said it has become very difficult for manufacturers to authorize key people to take time away from their day-to-day assignments to participate.