Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced the appointment of several new members and alternate members of the Cotton Board, the organization that oversees the cotton check-off program.

The newly appointed members are producers John J. Baxter, Watson, Ark.; Harley Metcalfe, III, Greenville, Miss.; and Henry A. McLaurin, Laurinburg, N.C., and importers William E. Donelan, Ramsey, N.J., and Gail W. Strickler, Brookfield, Conn.

New alternate members include: Ernest R. Arnold, Marked Tree, Ark.; Robert A. Gammill, Jr., Tyronza, Ark.; Cynthia L. Gordan, Milton, Mass.; William C. Heaton, Clarksdale, Miss.; Edward T. Carmichael, Laurinburg, N.C.; Arthur K. Winget, III, Gastonia, N.C.; and Maureen E. Gray, New York, N.Y.

Veneman said Billie J. Collier, Knoxville, Tenn., will serve as a consumer advisor to the board.

The Cotton Board, which is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., consists of 32 members, their alternates and one consumer advisor and is authorized by the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966. Members of the board represent cotton producers, importers, and consumers.

“I am pleased that these individuals have agreed to serve and provide their expertise to this program,” said Veneman.

The members, alternates, and consumer advisor named by Veneman on Dec. 5 will serve a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2005. One importer alternate member term will end Dec. 31, 2004.

Re-appointed to the board were: Robert L. McGinnis, West Memphis, Ark.; John E. Pucheu, Jr., Tranquillity, Calif.; Rodger C. Glaspey, Fresno, Calif.; Thomas A. Parker, Lake Providence, La.; and Ronnie N. Hopper, Petersburg, Texas.

The re-appointed alternate members: Steve Cantu, Tranquillity, Calif.; George G. LaCour, Jr., Morganza, La.; David C. Cornelius, Crosbyton, Texas; and George R. Herron, Taylors, S.C.

The cotton research and promotion program advances the position of cotton in the marketplace. It is funded by a mandatory assessment on all domestically produced cotton and imports of foreign-produced cotton and cotton-containing products. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service monitors the program.