Cotton Leaders Recognized for Research and Promotion

    Mature cotton ready for defoliation. Photo: Justin Ballew, Clemson University

    Cotton Incorporated recently announced the 2015 class of the Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame. The program, now in its second year, recognizes U.S. cotton industry leaders that have made significant contributions to the Program or to the cotton industry in general.

    “The vision of cotton industry leaders in the 1950s and 1960s created The Cotton Research and Promotion Program at a time in history when there was a need to join together and form a movement to battle synthetic competitors and re-establish markets for cotton. These leaders and the public/private partnership they created gave the cotton industry a second life,” said Bill Gillon, President and CEO of the Cotton Board.

    “The Hall of Fame Honorees helped implement that vision by making significant contributions to cotton’s competitiveness.”

    The five honorees are:

    Dr. Fred Bourland  (Arkansas) is acknowledged for his extensive contributions to U.S. cotton plant breeding. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Bourland developed valuable plant measurements and techniques that aided the release of more than 80 cotton lines (germplasm and cultivars) for the Mid-South region.

    David Burns (North Carolina) served as Cotton Board Chairman during the integration of importers to the Board. In this role, Burns facilitated the easy assimilation of the importer constituency to the Program, and kept growers and importers focused on common goals.

    Jim Hansen (California) has provided outstanding leadership to the Cotton Research and Promotion Program in a variety of roles. He is the only person to serve as both Chairman of the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors, and Chairman of the Cotton Board. Mr. Hansen also has served as Chairman of Supima and is a long-time board member of California Cotton Growers and Ginners Association.

    Dr. Preston E. Sasser (North Carolina) is widely regarded as one of the cotton industry’s leading research experts. During his tenure as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Cotton Incorporated’s Research Division, Dr. Sasser led research that addressed health issues in cotton textile processing, and oversaw the development and implementation of cotton-testing technology.

    Hugh Summerville (Alabama) elevated the participation of the Board of Directors during his time as Cotton Incorporated Chairman, and fostered the strong relationship between the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated that still exists today.  He was also a champion of the Cotton Incorporated World Headquarters and its role as an incubator for cotton innovation.

    Cotton Board Chairman, Aaron Barcellos of Los Banos, California, said, “By recognizing past leaders and innovators, we remind ourselves of the hard work and dedication required to make cotton the preferred fiber for the world. Their efforts inspire the leaders of the Research and Promotion Program today as cotton again faces significant competitive challenges. We will continue to work with the industry’s future ‘hall-of-fame’ leaders to find new answers for cotton and secure the industry’s future.”

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