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The Cotton Foundation

Membership: 57 organizations

Organization Focus: Research and education support funded by business allies of the U.S. cotton industry

Years Since Founding: 59

Program Focus: Research and technology education and support of National Cotton Council policy development

Cotton is a staple in our daily lives: it's in our clothes, bedding, health and beauty products, and even our food. This $100 billion crop is grown in 17 states stretching from coast to coast, yielding 7.3 billion pounds annually.

The Cotton Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, helps support this vital industry, conducting research and education projects each year.

Affiliated with the National Cotton Council (NCC), The Cotton Foundation is supported by organizations that service and supply the U.S. cotton industry, with membership dues typically funding 20 research projects a year covering pest management, sustainability, fiber quality and processing techniques. In addition to being a dues-paying member of the Foundation, and thus supporting this important research, Farm Credit's National Contributions Program also sponsors two National Cotton Council annual events.

The Cotton Foundation is supported by organizations that service and supply the U.S. cotton industry.

Beltwide Cotton Conference
The Beltwide Cotton Conference is a research and technology forum bringing 11 different conferences related to cotton production together. It attracts 1,500 attendees annually, including cotton economists, weed specialists, plant breeders, agronomists, textile scientists, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers and growers. Attendees discuss emerging issues – including the current role technology is playing in the production and processing of cotton – share ideas and network with other industry participants.

"The forum continues to be a world-class information sharing event," says Jimmy Dodson, a Beltwide Cotton Conference attendee. "Participants are able to stay current on all major production issues and are provided with the opportunity to expand their networking with experts from across the Cotton Belt. This networking not only provides valuable resources during the growing season for helping with tough decisions, but also increases researchers' awareness of emerging issues."

NCC Annual Meeting
Each year, the National Cotton Council invites members of The Cotton Foundation, which includes Farm Credit, to sponsor its annual meeting. This policy-setting forum hosts up to 850 attendees each year and tackles current issues - most recently, crop insurance options included in the 2014 Farm Bill. By supporting the NCC annual meeting, these Cotton Foundation members are able to further demonstrate their support for the industry and support advocacy efforts that benefit U.S. cotton.