The National Cotton Council capitalized on all of its communications tools to keep members quickly informed of how the NCC was managing key issues. That included the daily Cotton eNews, the Cotton’s Week newsletter, and the AgDay Cotton’s Week television spots and radio news lines.
|NCC President/CEO Mark Lange is interviewed on trade and other key issues by farm broadcasters, Gary Dijiuseppe, left, Arkansas Radio Network, and Don Molino, Louisiana Agri-News Network, during the 2006 Beltwide Cotton Conferences.
The NCC also utilized its redesigned web site, www.cotton.org, to post timely information ranging from Action Alerts to white papers. The NCC’s swift response to the Bush Administration’s 2006 budget proposal included a statement and numerous interviews with the national news media. The NCC conveyed its hope that Congress would evaluate the proposal’s options within the context of keeping U.S. agriculture, including cotton, competitive in world markets.
To reach key audiences with the NCC’s position on the current farm law and upcoming farm bill development, news releases were distributed throughout the Cotton Belt. Distributed following USDA’s farm bill listening sessions, the releases contained points and quotes from NCC producer leaders about the need to maintain the 2002 farm law through its duration and the harm that further limitations on payments would cause to the production and rural economy sectors.
The NCC launched an extensive campaign of letters to the editor in support of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. NCC member producers and other industry members emphasized how a good CAFTA would help stabilize the U.S. textile sector and benefit U.S. cotton producers.
Interest from foreign journalists in the U.S. cotton industry and the federal farm program continued, though not as frenetic as 2004. Interviews were coordinated with NCC staff and industry leaders, including a Japanese public television film crew’s visit to NCC headquarters and their taping at a West Tennessee farm for a piece in conjunction with the WTO ministerial in Hong Kong.
|NCC Secretary-Treasurer Craig Shook, far right, joined Darrin Ihnen, far left, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s Biotechnology Working Group, and Neal Bredehoeft, president, American Soybean Association, at the biotech milestone event in Chicago.
NCC Secretary-Treasurer Craig Shook and NCC Vice President of Technical Services Andy Jordan joined farm leaders from other commodity groups at a news conference in Chicago to recognize the planting of the one-billionth acre of biotech-enhanced agricultural commodities. Shook and the other producers talked about the benefits crop biotechnology delivers to producers, consumers and the environment.
National Cotton Women’s Committee officers conducted Ag in the Classroom national conference workshops for 500 teachers. That and their local efforts helped 1) increase educators’ awareness of the cotton industry’s impact on the national economy and 2) integrate cotton-focused lesson plans into existing curriculum requirements.