Two U.S. cotton producers were recently elected by their respective boards of directors to serve as chairmen. Arkansas producer Bob McGinnis replaces Nancy Marino, outgoing Cotton Board chairman, and California producer Ted Sheely replaces Louie Perry, outgoing Cotton Incorporated chairman.

McGinnis is a 20-year veteran of the Arkansas House of Representatives. While serving in that role he was instrumental in the establishment of the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program and the Soil Testing Review Board.

He served as an advisor to the National Cotton Council on federal regulatory issues and is a past director on the board of Cotton Incorporated, where he served as chairman of the marketing committee.

He is responsible for the vision behind the development of COTVAR — a Web-based tool created cooperatively by Cotton Incorporated and the University of Arkansas that's now used to compare varieties tested in the Mid-South.

McGinnis also served as the co-chair of the Arkansas Blue Ribbon Commission on Education and is now the chairman of the Health Policy Board for the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

He was elected to the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sheely brings more than 40 years of cotton industry experience to the Cotton Incorporated board. He grew his first cotton crop as part of a Future Farmers of America project and has expanded his operation to almost 9,000 acres. Growing both upland and Pima cotton, Sheely's diversified farming operation includes tomatoes, wheat, pistachios, garlic, grapes, safflower, barley and triticale.

Sheely has long been known for his innovative thinking and testing of cutting-edge precision agricultural technology. He has been a leading figure in the USDA/NASA Ag 20/20 Program, studying the integration of remote sensing-based tools and technology to increase production efficiency and improve the quality of his farming operation while decreasing its overall environmental footprint.

Both McGinnis and Sheely will serve two-year terms.