At its recent board of directors meeting in Dallas, Cotton Incorporated proposed a bold move for its 2015 budget, calling for funding of $80 million for research and promotion, despite an expected decrease in total collections. Chairman Gary Ross, an importer from Yardley, Pa., says the Cotton Board is drawing from its reserves to maintain funding at this level.
"We need the power of one," he says. "It is a critical time for the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Cotton demand is not where we need it to be, and there is no quick or easy path that guarantees a quick turnaround. Now, more than ever, we need our boards to question, reflect and encourage each other to find better ideas and better solutions than we had yesterday."
Ross hopes honest discussion can create an environment where members of Cotton Incorporated and the Cotton Board feel comfortable discussing both positive and not-so-positive returns.
"Sometimes, home run hitters strike out," he says. "We need our team to go to the plate and swing as hard as they can – to swing for the fences. Our industry cannot afford to take a pitch or walk."
The two boards plan to meet in August to finalize the 2015 budget before the Cotton Board sends its recommendation for budget approval to the Secretary of Agriculture.