The National Cotton Council (NCC) and BASF are partnering to continue two successful cotton industry educational programs in 2001: the Cotton Coalition Professional Development Program and the Cotton Physiology Education Program.

The announcement was made by Phil Burnett, NCC executive vice president and chief executive officer, during the 2001 Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

"The Cotton Coalition represents one of the most proactive, effective educational programs available to cotton leaders and spokespersons. Initiated several years ago by American Cyanamid, this successful program will now be continued under the sponsorship of BASF," says Burnett.

The Cotton Coalition is a special project of The Cotton Foundation, funded by a grant from BASF. The program provides professional development training that helps cotton leaders effectively communicate to lawmakers, consumers, the media and others about constantly changing issues, policies and regulations that threaten cotton industry profitability.

According to Burnett, this BASF-sponsored program helps participants better understand the regional, national and international implications of complex economic, environmental and trade issues. Cotton Coalition members receive valuable training in government affairs, media relations and presentation skills. They also get to interact with research scientists and technical and marketing experts from one of the nation's largest suppliers of agricultural inputs.

"After completing a comprehensive training session, Cotton Coalition members continue their roles as cotton industry spokespersons. Their names are placed on the NCC action-alert list, and they are occasionally called upon to speak to legislators on behalf of the cotton industry," says Burnett.

Participants of the Cotton Coalition are selected from a list of candidates submitted by NCC field service representatives and BASF officials. Program organizers select up-and-coming industry and community leaders who support efforts of the NCC and are interested in becoming industry spokespersons.

Burnett also confirmed that BASF will continue to fund a grant to the Cotton Foundation to fund the Cotton Physiology Education Program. Now in its 12th year, the program's mission is to discover and communicate more profitable methods of producing cotton.

For more information about the Cotton Coalition Professional Development Program or the Cotton Physiology Education Program, contact the NCC at 901-274-9030.