To arrest the decline in the demand for cotton brought on by competition from manmade fibers, particularly polyester, the cotton industry proposed legislation to create a federally authorized, industry-funded, self-help program designed to strengthen cotton’s competitive position. The resulting statute is the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966 (pdf) which created the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. The subsequent Cotton Research and Promotion Order (pdf), which was approved by the industry, authorizes the Cotton Board with the administration of the program.
The Cotton Research and Promotion Program assesses U.S. cotton producers a $1.00/bale and 5/10 of 1 percent of the value of the bale, and importers are assessed an equivalent based on the kilograms of imported cotton and cotton-containing products. These assessments, totaling about $70-80 million annually, fund the research and promotion activities.
The Agricultural Marketing Service serves as delegated oversight and guidance responsible for the Cotton Research and Promotion Program and all costs. This includes USDA administrative costs which are financed through producer and importer assessments, not taxpayer dollars.
The Cotton Board is appointed by the Secretary and responsible for carrying out the program of research and promotion in order to strengthen the competitive position of cotton by expanding domestic and foreign markets for cotton, improving fiber quality and lowering costs of production. The Cotton Board contracts with Cotton Incorporated to carry out the research and promotion activities, including supporting the Program’s notable and popular tagline, “Cotton. The Fabric of Our Lives.” While Cotton Incorporated is consumer and trade focused, the Cotton Board’s mission to keep U.S. producers and importers informed on the innovative developments stemming from the Cotton Research & Promotion Program.
Cotton Board Membership & Nominations
Eligibility Requirements: The Cotton Board is composed of representatives of cotton producers and importers of cotton and cotton-containing products.
Nomination Process: Nominations to the Board are accepted from certified eligible producer organizations from cotton-producing states and importer organizations. USDA determines the eligibility of organizations based on provisions defined in the Cotton Research and Promotion Order. Certified industry organizations caucus to nominate eligible candidates. The caucuses then submit to USDA first and second choice nominees for every position to be filled. All nominees are subject to USDA background review.
Term of Office: Members and alternate members, as well as the advisors, serve staggered 3-year terms with no term limits. Each year, the Secretary of Agriculture appoints approximately one-third of the Board.
Organic Assessment Exemption
Research and promotion programs allow persons that produce, handle, market, process, manufacture, feed or import “organic” and “100 percent organic” products to be exempt from paying assessments regardless of whether they are a “split” operation.
USDA AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program
Research and Promotion
Shethir M. Riva, Director
100 Riverside Parkway
Fredericksburg, VA 22406
Phone: (540) 361-2726