(MEMPHIS, TN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the appointment of 12 members, 12 alternate members, and two advisors to serve on The Cotton Board. All appointees will serve three-year terms starting January 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2026.
Newly appointed members: Matthew Cauzza, Producer – CA; Kent Smith, Producer – NC; Michael Popp, Producer – TX; and Kirk Smithwick, Importer – AL.
Newly appointed alternate members: Doug Cardoza, Producer – CA; Kim K. LeQuire, Producer – NC; Miranda Barrett, Producer – TX; Kelly Gupta, Importer – TX; and Amanda Jean Wils, Importer – WI.
Reappointed members: Pace Hindsley, Producer – AR; William B. Guthrie, Producer – LA; Thomas Hayes, Producer – MS; Sigi Valverde, Producer – TX; Chuck Ward, Importer – NC; Scott Johnson, Importer – CA; Akiko Inui, Importer – NY; and Laurie Sutandar, Importer – OH.
Reappointed alternate members: Rafe Banks, Producer – AR; Rebecca Thom, Producer – LA; Patrick Johnson, Producer – MS; Jon Jones, Producer – TX; James McKinnon, Importer – NY; Svitlana Linska, Importer – IL; and Dhruv Agarwal, Importer – NC.
Newly appointed advisor: Damian Murrieta – AZ.
Reappointed advisor: Willie Scott – GA.
In addition, USDA issued the following appointments to fill board vacancies. Douglas Brenner, Importer Alternate – TX with a term that expires in 2025; Kenneth Shelton, Importer Alternate – OH with a term ending Dec. 31, 2025; and Nicholas Pence, Importer Alternate – MD with a term ending Dec. 31, 2024.
“I am pleased to welcome this group of leaders to The Cotton Board. I look forward to meeting the new appointees and leaning on the experience of those who have been reappointed. The Cotton Board has an extensive orientation program set up for early 2024 to ensure new Members, Alternates, and Advisors are fully up-to-speed and prepared to participate at our March 2024 board meeting,” said Mark Nichols, Oklahoma cotton producer and current Chairman of The Cotton Board. “On behalf of The Cotton Board, I would like to thank Secretary Vilsack for these timely appointments and thank the appointees for their willingness to share their time and expertise with the cotton industry,” said Nichols.
Members, Alternates, and consumer advisors of The Cotton Board collaboratively represent the interests of both importers and producers to The Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated. Their insight contributes to activities of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program targeted at improving the profitability of the entire cotton industry. If you are interested in becoming a member of The Cotton Board, please contact your local Certified Producer/Importer Organization or the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 540-361-2726 for more information.