NCWC Launches 'Cotton Counts' Program

The National Cotton Council is launching Cotton Counts, a consumer awareness campaign aimed at improving the understanding of and the attitudes toward U.S. cotton.

January 9, 2002
Contact: Marjory Walker
(901) 274-9030

ATLANTA – The National Cotton Council is launching Cotton Counts, a consumer awareness campaign aimed at improving the understanding of and the attitudes toward U.S. cotton.

The announcement was made here today at the 2002 Beltwide Cotton Conferences during a National Cotton Women’s Committee (NCWC) rally.

Cotton Counts will focus on helping America’s students and the general public better understand and appreciate the importance of agriculture, specifically cotton and the U.S. cotton industry’s contributions to the nation’s economy. Cotton Counts supplants "Grown and Made in the U.S.A. – It Matters" but will retain some of that campaign’s elements.

NCWC volunteers will spearhead the Cotton Counts educational effort. The Cotton Foundation is providing support with a grant from Aventis CropScience North America. The grant will help offset the cost of developing and distributing educational materials and for NCWC members’ communication skills training.

In making the announcement, Foundation President James F. "Jimmy" Dodson said, "U.S. cotton, which is part of the world’s most efficient agricultural system, is a champion of the nation’s economy and the environment. For example, the U.S. cotton industry provides more than 440,000 jobs, contributes a value-added retail impact of $120 billion to the U.S. economy and uses such environmentally sensitive technology as genetically engineered, insect-resistant plants."

The Robstown, TX, cotton producer said that such statistics, along with the exciting, field to fabric cotton story, are what the National Cotton Council believes need to be conveyed more aggressively – from the schoolhouse to the state fair.

"National Cotton Women’s Committee members are partners in family operated businesses that grow, process and market cotton," Dodson said. "They have a vital stake in increasing the awareness of how cotton and agriculture touch their neighbors on a daily basis . . . through the clothes they wear, the furnishings they choose for their homes, the food they eat."

Al Luke, Aventis CropScience cotton business manager, said, "For several years now, the National Cotton Women’s Committee has done a tremendous job in raising consumer awareness about U.S. cotton through the Grown and Made program. With more and more of our nation’s citizens residing in urban centers and losing their ties to production agriculture, Aventis is very pleased to assist in increasing U.S. cotton’s presence inside and outside the classroom."

The NCWC was created in 1987 and is comprised of hundreds of volunteers across the 17-state Cotton Belt. They and their officers all possess considerable educational campaign experience.

The 2002 NCWC regional directors and alternates are, respectively: SOUTHEAST—Charlotte Mathis, Moultrie, GA; and Allison Newton, Raeford, NC; MID-SOUTH—Bobbie Jean Hill, Indianola, MS, and Tammy Hargett, Alamo, TN; SOUTHWEST—Merle Morrison, Lorenzo, TX, and co-alternates Maxine Abbott, Harlingen, TX, and Bethany Kilgore, Corpus Christi, TX; WEST—Pennee Murphree, Maricopa, AZ, and Karen Brooks, Phoenix, AZ.

State chairpersons are: ALABAMA/FLORIDA—Jamie Lazenby, Auburn, AL; ARIZONA—Julie Murphree, Phoenix; ARKANSAS—Tammy Wilkison, Brinkley; CALIFORNIA—Connie Lundquist, Fresno; GEORGIA—Linda West, Byromville; LOUISIANA—Karen Lensing, Lake Providence; MISSISSIPPI—Melissa Darden, Rolling Fork; MISSOURI—Polly Clark, Kennett; NORTH CAROLINA—Joan Balfour, Lumber Bridge; OKLAHOMA/KANSAS—Eva Letha Lucas, Elmer, OK; SOUTH CAROLINA—Christine Bickley, Elloree; TENNESSEE—Pat Hargett, Bells; and TEXAS—Margie Mayfield, Harlingen.

The Memphis-based National Cotton Council has a mission of ensuring the ability of all U.S. cotton industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and manufactured product markets at home and abroad.