Delegates will review and adopt specific resolutions for NCC action in six key program arenas: farm and economic policy; international trade; public relations and international market development; research and education; packaging and distribution; and health, safety and the environment.

They will place special emphasis on: 1) cotton textile manufacturers, 2) industry segments hard-hit by disastrous weather and chronically low prices, and 3) export development programs for U.S. cotton and cotton products. They also will review trade and economic policies, which can increase consumption of U.S. cotton and cotton products, and identify programs and industry practices that provide opportunities to enhance competitiveness, efficiency and profitability.

“Vision, Strategy, Results” is the theme of the meeting at the Tampa Marriott Waterside, which is expected to attract 1,000 leaders from U.S. cotton’s seven segments and industry stakeholders across the Cotton Belt.

“The National Cotton Council continues to work to preserve essential farm bill provisions and for fair and equitable trade policies,” NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood said. “We must help all industry segments, especially the textile industry, make sure existing agreements are vigorously enforced and that any new agreements benefit all segments of the cotton industry.

“One of the key ingredients to the Council’s success in these arenas will be the industry’s seven segments’ ability to develop sound policy and communicate with Congress and the Administration in a unified voice.”

Hood will cover the state of the U.S. cotton industry and outline a plan of action in his address to the general session Feb. 10. Joining him on the program will be Rep. Larry Combest (R-Texas), who chaired the House Agriculture Committee from 1999-2002. Other general session speakers include Dr. Larry Sabato, professor and political analyst who will provide his view of President Bush’s and Congress’ agendas and commentary on today’s political and legislative environments, and J. Berrye Worsham, III, president and chief executive officer of Cotton Incorporated.

Other key sessions scheduled during the annual meeting are: the American Cotton Producers (ACP), the NCC’s producer the policy development group; the National Cotton Ginners Association’s annual meeting; and Cotton Council International’s Board of Directors. Results of the NCC’s annual Planting Intentions Survey, which provides the first insights into growers’ plans for the 2003 season, will be announced at the ACP meeting on Feb. 7.

On Feb. 8, the NCC will present its economic outlook report to a joint session of the NCC’s six program committees, and the National Cotton Ginners Association will conduct its annual meeting. A special luncheon will feature Marlin Fitzwater, who served as press secretary and public relations strategist for Presidents Reagan and George Bush.

As the unifying force of the U.S. cotton industry, the Memphis-based National Cotton Council brings together industry representatives from the 17 cotton-producing states to establish policies reflecting the common interests and promoting mutual benefits for its broad membership and ancillary industries. The U.S. cotton industry provides employment for some 440,000 Americans and generates more than $120 billion in annual economic activity.

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