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Large Slate of New Board Appointees Will Join The Cotton Board

January 13th, 2017

(MEMPHIS, TN) - Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of 17 members and 18 alternates to serve on The Cotton Board. The cotton producers and importers appointed by the Secretary are charged with working together to oversee the Cotton Research & Promotion Program (the Program).

The Cotton Board Chairman, Janet Ydavoy, an Importer from Portsmouth, NH noted the large slate of appointees saying, “These emerging leaders in the cotton industry represent a wealth of untapped perspective and insight that will help guide The Cotton Research and Promotion Program forward. The large number of appointees this year gives us an incredible opportunity to cultivate a new era of leadership that will continue to inspire a renewed faith in our industry."

The newly appointed members are: Alisa Ogden, Producer - Carlsbad, NM; F. Guy Darby, Jr., Producer - Chester, SC; Helga L. Ying, Importer - Piedmont, CA; Joe D. Long, Importer - Irvine, KY; and, Monica J. Gorman, Importer - Winchester, MA.

The newly appointed alternate members are: Albert R. James, Producer - Sikeston, MO; Nathan H. Jurva, Producer - Carlsbad, NM; Don B. Wakefield, Producer - Jackson, SC; Shelley S. Butler Barlow, Producer - Suffolk, VA; Laurie A. Rando, Importer - Scotch Plain, NJ; Crystal A. Button, Importer - Great Neck, NY, and Gary E. Ross, Importer - Yardley, PA.

Secretary Vilsack also appointed Darren J. Hembree, Producer - Doerun, GA, as an alternate member to fill a vacant Georgia position with a term expiring December 31, 2018.

The re-appointed members are: Walter L. Corcoran, Producer - Eufoula, AL; David J. DeFelix, Producer - Campbellton, FL; James L. Webb, Producer - Leary, GA; Suzanne R. Drouhard, Producer - Danville, KS; Kim M. Mayberry-Holifield, Producer - Kennett, MO; Jess “Mark” M. Nichols, Producer - Altus, OK; Willie L. German, Producer - Somerville, TN; Madison "Matt" Farmer, Producer - Lamesa, TX; Lance V. Everett, Producer - Stony Creek, VA; Michael D. Wallace, Importer - Bentonville, AR; Peter M. McGrath, Importer - Addison, TX; and, Arlene M. Eastwood, Importer - Neptune, NJ.   

The re-appointed alternate members are:    Timothy J. Mullek, Producer - Robertsdale, AL; Alan J. Edwards, Producer - Jay, FL; Benjamin R. Grimsley, Producer - Weston, GA; Thomas L. Lahey, Producer - Moscow, KS; Clint D. Abernathy, Producer - Altus, OK; Catherine S. Via, Producer - Bells, TN; Sigifredo "Sigi" Valverde, Producer - Shallowater, TX; Sarah "Sally" M. Gilligan, Importer - San Francisco, CA; James C. Self III, Importer - Greenville, SC; and, Tara E. Hoffman, Importer - New York, NY.

"At our upcoming board meeting we include an orientation process for the new appointees that will educate them about the Program and guarantee they are able to immediately contribute to the Board. I look forward to building relationships with each of these future influencers of the industry," said Ydavoy.

The Cotton Research and Promotion Program is designed to advance the position of cotton in the marketplace.  It is funded by assessments on all domestically produced cotton and imports of foreign-produced cotton and cotton-containing products, and is authorized by the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966.  USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees operations of the Board. All appointees will serve three-year terms.


Contact: Stacey Gorman, Director of Communications, 901-233-9356, sgorman [at] cottonboard [dot] org

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

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