During its Annual Meeting in Durham, North Carolina, The Cotton Board reviewed and voted to recommend Cotton Incorporated’s proposed 2018 budget of $74 million to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The Cotton Board also elected Louisiana cotton producer George LaCour, Jr. as Chairman of the Board and elected an entire slate of new officers for the 2017/2018 Program Year.
The $74 million 2018 proposed budget represents an increase of $4 million compared to the 2017 budget. It is the first increase in Cotton Incorporated’s annual budget since 2013. The Cotton Research and Promotion Plan for 2018 continues the strategic direction set by Cotton Incorporated in 2017 and includes a focus on four major initiatives that cross all departments of Cotton Incorporated: 1) Performance Cotton (the activewear market); 2) Sustainability; 3) Comparative Marketing; and 4) Message Amplification.
The 2018 budget also contains initiatives focused on production costs and producer margins. The budget and plan, along with The Cotton Board’s recommendation of approval, will be forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final approval.
During its Business Session, The Cotton Board elected new officers to guide the Program, including George LaCour, Jr. to serve as Chairman for the 2017/2018 Program year.
LaCour is a cotton producer from Morganza, Lousiana. As General Manager of the farming partnership GNG Farms, LaCour has overseen production on more than 5,000 acres in Pointe Coupee Parish for the last 30 years. In addition to cotton, his crops include corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar cane, pecans, crawfish and timber. He has served in leadership positions throughout the cotton industry, and has been honored with various awards for his efforts in cotton production, ginning, and conservation.
LaCour commented on his election, saying, “I am honored to be given this opportunity to help lead this industry, and I will work hard on behalf of the cotton producers and importers who invest in the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Producers are facing significant challenges this marketing year, and the Program is responding with initiatives intended to help margins in the short-term while staying focused on long-term demand.”
Before passing the gavel to LaCour, outgoing Chairman Janet Ydavoy, an importer from Portsmouth, NH, said "We have made great progress for the stakeholders of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program this year, and I know George will continue to lead the charge. His passion for his work and the cotton industry will serve us well."
The full slate of newly elected Cotton Board officers is as follows:
George LaCour Jr., Producer from Morganza, Louisiana, Chairman; Peter McGrath, Importer from Dallas, Texas, Vice Chairman; Jeff Posey, Producer from Roby, Texas, Secretary; and
Jimmy Webb, Producer from Leary, Georgia, Treasurer.