The Cotton Research and Promotion Program

The Cotton Research and Promotion Program's ongoing goal is to develop, fund and implement a coordinated plan of research and promotion designed to strengthen Upland cotton’s competitive position and to maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets and uses for cotton.
At the farm level, the Cotton Research and Promotion Program is dedicated to agricultural research aimed at helping Upland cotton producers increase yields and improve profitability. At the fiber level, the Cotton Research & Promotion Program is working to increase the demand for cotton and cotton products worldwide.


Program History and Highlights

By the mid-1960s, cotton had lost many of its traditional markets to the new "easy-  care" synthetic fibers.  Realizing this, U.S. Upland cotton producers conceived a self-help agriculture promotion program.   The passage of the Cotton Research & Promotion Act of 1966 enabled upland cotton producers to join together to begin battling synthetic competitors and re-establishing markets for cotton.  In a referendum, producers voted to set up a per bale assessment system to fund the program and established built-in safeguards to protect their investment. The Cotton Research & Promotion Act of 1966 established The Cotton Board to administer and oversee the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. The Act also directed The Cotton Board to contract with a separate organization to conduct the actual research and promotion activities. That organization, originally called the Cotton Producer's Institute is now known as Cotton Incorporated. 
In 1970,  the Cotton Producer's Institute was separated from the National Cotton Council and became a separate, non-profit entity named Cotton Incorporated. Cotton Incorporated is the research and marketing company for U.S. Upland cotton, as administered by the Cotton Board. Cotton Incorporated’s World Headquarters and Research Center is located in Cary, North Carolina and its Consumer Marketing Headquarters is located in New York, New York. Supporting offices are located around the globe in Mexico City, Osaka, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The cotton module builder was developed under Cotton Incorporated sponsorship. The module builder enabled harvested cotton to be compacted and stored as a large trapezoid bale. For the first time, modules were able to stay in the field, covered by waterproof tarps, until the gin was ready to receive the harvested cotton. This invention changed the cotton landscape, resulting in a chain of improvements and cost savings across the farm-to-warehouse process.



The Seal of CottonTM is introduced. The Seal provides a focal point that serves as the basis of advertisements, produces an identity for cotton, attracts instant attention at retail, and quickly communicates comfort and quality to the consumer. By the end of 1973, 18% of American consumers are able to identify it. By 2003, that number had risen to more than 80%, making the Seal of Cotton one of the most recognized brands in the country.


Cotton Incorporated launched the Engineered Fiber SelectionTM  (EFS) system, a suite of software programs and services that leverage USDA High Volume Instrument (HVI) data. The system provided significantly improved cotton inventory management and analysis capabilities, as well as electronic communication between producers, ginners, mills, and merchants/co-ops.





Cotton Incorporated introduced wrinkle-resistant technology for cotton. Wrinkle-resistant, or easy-care cotton, proved to be a game changer for cotton’s market share in the dress shirt and dress pants product categories.






Cotton Incorporated launched The Fabric of Our LivesTM  advertising campaign to an audience of more than 200 million on Thanksgiving Day. The campaign introduced cotton as and integral part of the American experience. The campaign marked the debut of the iconic tagline – “The touch, the feel of cotton, the fabric of our lives.”



The most significant amendment to the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966 occurred in 1990 and expanded the Program to include assessment collections on the cotton content of imported apparel and other products.






EasiFloTM Cottonseed, a patented process developed by Cotton Incorporated, was made available to dairy feed formulators. EasiFloTM featured a patented starch coating that improves handling and flow of the seed.





Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go GreenTM denim recycling program, then called Cotton. From Blue to GreenTM, was created by Cotton Incorporated to emphasize the natural and environmental attributes of cotton. This unique program collects denim (made from cotton) so that it can be recycled back to its original fiber state and transformed into something new, like housing insulation or pet bed inserts.




After many years of Cotton Incorporated-funded research, a toxin called gossypol was selectively removed from cottonseed. Gossypol is toxic to humans and single-stomached animals. The elimination of gossypol potentially increases the value of cottonseed by opening up new markets for cottonseed protein in livestock and aquaculture feeds, in addition to direct consumption in human foods.



Cotton Incorporated, the National Cotton Council, and Cotton Council International complete the first Life Cycle Inventory and Life Cycle Assessment of cotton fiber and fabric in an effort to set sustainability benchmarks and bring transparency to the cotton industry.






The Cotton Board celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program.






Cotton Incorporated celebrates its 50th anniversary.