The Cotton Board approved Cotton Incorporated’s proposed 2010 plans and budget of $67 million during their recent Annual Meeting.

Those proposed plans and budget will now be forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final approval. The Cotton Board’s Annual Meeting was supported by John Deere, Monsanto and Syngenta.

During the Cotton Board’s Business Session, Arkansas cotton producer Robert “Bob” McGinnis, delivered his outgoing Chairman’s Address and reviewed Cotton Board milestones achieved during his tenure. He started by saying “My remarks today come from my heart, because it is there my love for agriculture rests.” McGinnis applauded the Cotton Board’s 99.65 percent collection rate, noting that it remains the highest of all of our nation’s commodity programs. After adjusting for inflation He congratulated Cotton Board staff for meeting their organizational goals while reducing their 2009 operating costs by almost $400,000.00.

The Cotton Board Annual Meeting also marked the election of new Cotton Board officers. The new slate of officers include: Larkin Martin (Ala), Chair; Craig Shook (Texas), Vice Chair; John Clark (Calif.), Secretary; and Kevin Rogers (Ariz.), Treasurer.

During the General Session, National Cotton Council Chairman, Louisiana producer Jay Hardwick provided an update about current policy matters affecting cotton including key elements of the farm bill. Hardwick also reviewed key activities related to Vision 21, a two-year, $1.5 million (donated by Monsanto) project that will glean insight into research needs while providing strategic thinking for cotton’s future.

He then gave a poignant presentation about how sustainability on his farm, Hardwick Planting Co., continues to be a high priority. “We make it our mission to achieve a viable and profitable farm enterprise while providing a balance between habitat and production resources with a minimum impact upon the farm’s ecosystem. This land is not my own, we are a family operation, and it is imperative for me to leave something for not only my children, but for their children, and those who come after them, “ emphasized Hardwick.

He ended his presentation by stating that he views his role on the farm as “the caretaker” of the natural resources.

Special guest speaker Gary Raines, vice-president Economics and Analysis with FCStone Fibers & Textiles, gave an eye-opening presentation to the Cotton Board regarding efforts to forecast economic trends affecting cotton. He stated that cotton is well-positioned to take advantage of any rebound in economic growth. He noted that China is the key-player in most aspects of cotton trends, but pointed out that developing economies will drive the rebound of global GDPs (Gross Domestic Products).

For more information about the Cotton Board and the innovative activities stemming from the Program, visit http://www.cottonboard.org.