Announcement of the new campaign was made during a National Cotton Women’s Committee (NCWC) rally at the 2002 Beltwide Cotton Conferences the Council sponsored in Atlanta. It came on the eve of the annual Atlanta Apparel Mart Convention.
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, Cotton 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, Texas, 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.