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Segment Swap Program Educates Cotton Board Producers

September 22nd, 2014

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) – The Cotton Board's leadership is comprised of both cotton producers and importers. Cotton Board Importers represent U.S. textile mills, brands and retailers who import cotton products. Cotton Board Producers represent U.S. upland cotton growers. Together these experts combine their unique experience and insight to collaboratively guide the Cotton Research and Promotion Program.   

The Cotton Board's producer members recently had the opportunity to participate in an industry  “Segment Swap” program intended to provide a greater understanding of cotton's supply chain - including an inside look at how cotton importers make their sourcing decisions. Elizabeth King, VP of Importer Relations for The Cotton Board, said " Whether it is in cotton fields or cotton fashions, our Board represents the major forces driving cotton’s global supply chain. We have programs like the segment swap in place to make sure we're keeping our board fully informed and educated about the industry." 

This year's segment swap was held in San Francisco, California and hosted by Levi Strauss & Co. and Gap, Inc. Producer tour attendees included: David Grant, current Cotton Board Chairman and producer from North Carolina; Adam Hatley, producer from Arizona; Kim Mayberry-Holifield, producer from Missouri; Mark Nichols, producer from Oklahoma; Bryan Patterson, producer from Texas; Kevin Rogers, producer from Arizona; and Sigi Valverde, producer from Texas.

The group first visited Levi Strauss & Co. headquarters, the company who invented the first pair of blue jeans and has been innovating the world of denim for over 140 years. Joe Don Long, an importer serving on The Cotton Board and the Director of Technical Services for Levi's, welcomed the producers from The Cotton Board and presented some history on the company. Commenting on the segment swap program, Long said "It is very important that we have exchanges such as this one. There is a real benefit from sharing our business challenges and opportunities with cotton producers, and the exchange of information benefits the industry as a whole."

The Cotton Board producers were then able to visit the Levi's denim archive and see some of the oldest known blue jeans in the world. They also toured the company's innovation lab and heard a presentation from Michael Kobori, Vice President of Global Sustainability for Levi's. 

Next, the group visited Gap, Inc.'s headquarters. Gap, Inc. is the overarching company for the retail brands: Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, Piperlime, and Intermix. Senior staff at Gap, Inc. addressed the group and walked through the company's history, social responsibility programs, global supply chain, and design initiatives.  Sally Gilligan, the VP of Supply Chain Strategy and Sourcing for Gap, Inc. and an importer serving on The Cotton Board, talked to the group about challenges stemming from the lingering effects of the cotton price spike in 2011. 

The Cotton Board's importer members will have the chance to do a similar segment swap in the Fall, and will visit a cotton farm, gin, and USDA classing office. 

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Contact: Stacey Gorman, Director of Communications (870) 226-1445 

About The Cotton Board: The Cotton Research & Promotion Act established the Cotton Board as a quasi-governmental, non-profit entity to serve as the administrator of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. Funded by America’s cotton producers and importers through the cotton check-off, the Program’s research and promotion activities are conducted worldwide by Cotton Incorporated, the Cotton Board’s sole-source contracting organization, to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton. The Cotton Research & Promotion Program continues to work in all areas of cotton’s pipeline – from the field to the consumer – to keep cotton the number one fiber choice in the U.S. For more information about the Cotton Board and the innovative activities stemming from the Program, visit www.cottonboard.org.

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