The Cotton Board thoroughly reviewed and unanimously approved Cotton Incorporated’s proposed 2011 budget of $71 million during its recent Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore.

The budget and plan will now be forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final approval.

The annual meeting for the Cotton Board also marks the election of officers. At the close of the meeting, outgoing Cotton Board chairman, Alabama cotton producer Larkin Martin provided comments to the members and alternates about her year as Chairman. “I want to start by thanking you for the opportunity to serve as your chairman this year. I have learned a lot from you all and we, as a board, have covered a great deal of ground and accomplished many things.”

She continued by commenting about the increased two-way communication between the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated; she commended the Cotton Board staff on their recent office move and thanked the members and alternates of the Cotton Board for their diligent work serving the Board and the cotton industry.

The Cotton Board’s newly elected chairman, Texas cotton producer Craig Shook, then took the podium. “It is truly an honor to be able to serve the cotton industry in this capacity,” said Shook.

Shook has been Director of Farm and Ranch Operations for the Robert, Julia and Robert Jr. Driscoll Foundation, in Corpus Christi, Texas since 1976. He is a member, former president and former chairman of the South Texas Cotton & Grain Association and has held those positions for the Texas Cotton Growers Association as well. He has, since 1993, been repeatedly appointed to the Cotton Standards Conference in Memphis, Tenn., and serves on the board of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.

He was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Marketing and Advisory Committee for the development of recommendations to the Secretary on cotton classing issues in 1994 and has held a member position with the Cotton Board since 1999. Craig has served as a Southwest producer representative to the Cotton Board’s Executive Committee and has been chairman of their Compliance Committee. He was most recently Cotton Board vice-chairman prior to his election as chairman during the Cotton Board’s Annual Meeting. Craig received his B.S. degree in Ag Economics from Texas A&M University in May 1975.

“As staff, we are looking forward to working with Craig and drawing on his vast background and experience in agriculture,” states Lisa Droke, CPA, vice-president of Finance and Interim CEO, Cotton Board.

The full slate of new Cotton Board officers is as follows: Craig Shook, producer from Texas, chairman; John Clark, importer from California, vice-chairman; Kevin Rogers, producer from Arizona, secretary; and Gary Ross, importer from Pennsylvania, Treasurer.

The Cotton Research & Promotion Act established the Cotton Board as a quasi-governmental, non-profit entity to serve as the administrator of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. Funded by America’s cotton producers and importers through the cotton check-off, the program’s research and promotion activities are conducted worldwide by Cotton Incorporated, the Cotton Board’s sole-source contracting organization, to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton.

The Cotton Research & Promotion Program continues to work in all areas of cotton’s pipeline — from the field to the consumer — to keep cotton the No. 1 fiber choice in the U.S.

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