William A. "Bill" Gillon was named President & CEO of The Cotton Board in October 2010. Bill has been active in agricultural law and policy for over 35 years. His work experience includes the USDA Office of General Counsel, Senior Counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee, General Counsel of the National Cotton Council of America, and private law practice focusing on agricultural law and policy, the promotion of entrepreneurship, and non-profit organizations. Throughout his career, Gillon has been heavily involved in agriculture, international trade, conservation and environmental issues, and public policy in general.
Among other national programs, he helped develop and implement the Conservation Reserve Program, Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetlands protections, the 1990 Farm Bill, the Organic Foods Production Act, and several meaningful and significant disaster bills. He also had a hand in a major rewrite of U.S. international food donation law. Gillon served as General Counsel to the National Cotton Council for 19 years, participating in legislative, regulatory, legal, and international trade issues during his time there. Among other issues, he developed the legal framework that allowed the cotton industry to adopt electronic warehouse receipts, represented the U.S. cotton industry in international trade negotiations, and defended the U.S. cotton industry in international trade disputes.
Gillon was raised on a small, diverse farming operation in north central Mississippi. He received his law degree from the University of Georgia and his undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University. He has served on several local boards and organizations, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Agricenter International, Chairman of the Shelby County Agricenter Commission, and President of the Advisory Council for the Dean of the Mississippi State University College of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife Adrienne have two adult children. Gillon enjoys playing guitar and the odd woodworking project.