2017-18 Emerging Leaders Program Class Announced

Twelve U.S. cotton industry members have been chosen to participate in the NCC's Emerging Leaders Program for 2017-18.

April 27, 2017
Contact: Marjory Walker or T. Cotton Nelson
(901) 274-9030

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Twelve U.S. cotton industry members have been chosen to participate in the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Emerging Leaders Program for 2017-18.

Participants include: PRODUCERS – Blake Fennell, Earth, Texas; Jesse Flye, Jonesboro, Ark.; Richard Heiden, Buckeye, Ariz.; Justin Jones, Smithville, Ga.; and Rose Robertson, Coolidge, Ariz.; GINNER – Cacky Sobral, Wilson, Ark.; MERCHANTS – Wesley Rentz, Greenville, S.C.; Beau Stephenson, Richardson, Texas; and John Stevens, Memphis, Tenn.; WAREHOUSER – Joe Tillman, Memphis, Tenn.; MARKETING COOPERATIVE – Jayci Cave, Lubbock, Texas, and MANUFACTURER – Kimberly Bamonte, Gastonia, North Carolina.

Now in its fifth year, the NCC’s Emerging Leaders Program is supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto.

NCC Chairman Ronnie Lee, a Bronwood, Ga., producer, said, “We are grateful for Monsanto’s ongoing support of the Emerging Leaders Program. U.S. cotton needs dedicated leaders who are committed to helping our industry maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. This initiative is helping to identify men and women who have demonstrated the potential for taking on this important challenge and then encouraging and equipping them for this important task.”

Overall, the Emerging Leaders Program provides participants with a better understanding of how the NCC carries out its mission of ensuring the U.S. cotton industry’s seven segments can compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.

Specifically, participants get an in-depth look at: 1) the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the issues affecting the industry’s economic well-being; 2) the U.S. political process; 3) the NCC’s programs as well as its policy development and implementation process and 4) Cotton Council International’s activities aimed at developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products.

The Emerging Leaders Program also provides participants with professional development and communications training such as presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.

Class members will participate in three sessions. The first session, set for the week of June 12, 2017, in Memphis and St. Louis, will provide an orientation to the NCC, professional development and communication skills training and an agribusiness briefing. During the second session, class members will see policy development at the NCC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in February. The third session, to be conducted later in 2018 in Washington, D.C., will provide a focus on policy implementation and international market development.