Deputy Administrator Darryl Earnest

Darryl Earnest has served as the Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) - Cotton and Tobacco Program (C&T) since 2005.  He has spent his entire government career with the Program since joining AMS in 1990 after graduating from college.  Over his career, Darryl has served in many different areas of cotton operations and program management and in 2008 assumed direction of the AMS Tobacco Program when it joined Cotton as part of an agency merger.  As national director for both, he is ultimately responsible for all operations within the Cotton and Tobacco divisions.  In 2011, Darryl moved his Washington DC headquarters office to Memphis, TN to streamline Program leadership.  C&T grades all cotton produced in the U.S. for fiber quality used to market the cotton all over the world.  This equates to approximately $7-$8 billion in raw cotton value each year to the U.S. cotton industry and much more in expanded value throughout the supply chain.  In addition, the Program grades all cotton submitted for futures trading with the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE); produces all Universal Cotton Standards used for instrument and manual cotton grading in over 50 countries worldwide; disseminates cotton and tobacco market news information to millions of users annually; grades all domestic tobacco submitted for crop insurance adjustments through the USDA’s Risk Management Agency; and oversees the Cotton Research and Promotion Program through oversight of both the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated budgets.  Darryl is currently leading the C&T initiative toward a fully automated and vertically integrated methodology for cotton grading as well as the full integration of business analytics into all facets of Program operations. This includes new facility designs, renovations, and acquisitions to accomplish this vision.  He is a 1990 graduate of the University of Alabama where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering.