Cotton Board President and CEO, William A. “Bill” Gillon, has been elected to serve as the chairman of the board for Agricenter International. Gillon previously served on the volunteer board for five years and has held the positions of vice chairman and legal committee chair (attorney of record).

Other officers elected are vice chairman, Elton Robinson, Delta Farm Press editor; secretary, Bill Mayfield, USDA, retired; and treasurer, Fletcher Maynard, SunTrust Bank, retired.

 “We are extremely honored to have Bill as our chairman. His in-depth knowledge of agriculture and agricultural law and policy over the last 25 years will be an invaluable resource as we continue our work to meet the mission of our organization,” said Agricenter President John Charles Wilson. 

Based in Memphis, Agricenter International is a self-sustaining, not-for-profit organization that provides economic development and improved quality of life by facilitating agricultural research, educational programs, environmental conservation, natural area preservation and recreational opportunities.

Agricenter International is the world’s largest urban farm and research test facility, managing approximately 1,000 acres of farmland located in the Shelby Farms area of Shelby County.

During his tenure on the board, Gillon helped finalize the application of the Shelby Farms Park master plan to the Agricenter property and has worked to adapt Agricenter operations to comply with the conservation easement that now governs development of the Shelby Farms area.

Gillon brings a lifetime of agricultural policy experience with him. Recently named president of the Memphis-based Cotton Board in October 2010, his work experience includes the USDA Office of General Counsel, senior counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee, general counsel of the National Cotton Council of America, and private practice focusing on agricultural law and policy. 

“Having Bill as our chairman further strengthens the working relationship we have with both the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated because of the cooperative research in which we continue partnering today,” Wilson said.

Gillon holds a law degree from the University of Georgia and a BA fromMississippi State University.  He was named the 2005 Alumnus of the Year and 2009 Alumni Fellow for the Mississippi State College of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Tennessee and Georgia bars.  He currently serves as chairman of the Advisory Board for Mississippi State University College of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Shelby County Industrial Development Board. He and his wife Adrienne have two children and reside in Germantown, Tenn.