STRAIGHT ANSWERS TO THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COTTON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION PROGRAM
By: Stacey Gorman
WHAT IS THE COTTON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION PROGRAM?
The Cotton Research and Promotion Program (the Program) is carried out by cotton farmers and cotton importers who work together to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton. Its purpose is to educate consumers about cotton and to research, innovate, and promote cotton and cotton products.
WHO PAYS INTO THE PROGRAM?
U.S. cotton producers pay an assessment on all of the cotton bales they harvest and gin. Cotton importers pay an equivalent assessment on the cotton content of all Upland cotton products they import into the U.S. In fact, all agriculture promotion groups are founded and funded by stakeholders in their respective industries
DOES THE PROGRAM RECEIVE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE?
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the Program, it is paid for entirely by cotton producers and cotton importers. Essentially, each participant in the Program puts money from his or her business toward its operation. The Program is not funded by taxpayers or any government agency.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM BENEFIT U.S. COTTON PRODUCERS AND IMPORTERS?
There is strength in numbers, and the cotton industry segments have joined together to do what they cannot do individually. U.S. cotton producers and importers have found that the most effective way to remain competitive is by working together to fund research and promotion that advances cotton and educates consumers. For over 40 years, the program, through Cotton Incorporated, has carried out award-winning national advertising campaigns, enhanced cotton fabrics through countless innovations, improved cotton production and harvesting technologies, and created favorable consumer demand for products with the Seal of Cotton®. The Seal of Cotton® is one of the best known brands in the world. In fact, the most recently executed USDA required evaluation of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program reflected very well on the Program’s effectiveness. Some of the most significant findings from the preliminary report are listed below. Because of the Program…
- Annual world consumer demand for cotton was more than 2 million bales higher per year.
- U.S. mill consumption of cotton was 1.2 million bales higher than it would have been without the Program.
- U.S. cotton production averaged 500 thousand bales higher.
- Importer profits averaged $900 million higher.
- The annual average U.S. farm price for cotton was 5.4 cents per pound higher.
WHO DIRECTS THE PROGRAM?
The Program is directed by The Cotton Board, which is comprised of cotton producers, importers and consumer advisors appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The CottonBoard provides strategic direction for the Program, establishes annual budgets, and reviews its implementation by Cotton Incorporated. If you are interested in becoming amember of The Cotton Board and taking an active role in the cotton industry, please contact your local Certified Producer/Importer Organization or the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 540-361-2726 for more information.