By Jamie Woolley
Scott Stockton, PCCA’s field services supervisor, was selected for the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) 2002-2003 Cotton Leadership Class.
Stockton is a former NCC field representative and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University. He is one of 10 class members selected from various segments of the cotton industry to visit with industry leaders and observe production, processing and research during a total of six weeks of activity across the Cotton Belt. Stockton and other members also will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers and government agency representatives.
The NCC-coordinated leadership program was started in 1983 and is supported by The Cotton Foundation through a special grant from DuPont Ag Products. Its purpose is to identify potential cotton industry leaders and provide them developmental training. The NCC’s Leadership Development Committee selects the participants based on applications and recommendations.
John Gibson, director of member services for NCC, says the purpose of the program is to prepare the participants for future leadership roles in the cotton industry.
“Basically, what we’re trying to do is give industry members with leadership potential special training to prepare them for those leadership roles,” says Gibson. “We want to give them well-rounded exposure to the different segments of the industry and cotton research.”
The different segments of the industry that Gibson refers to are producers, ginners, warehousemen, merchants, crushers, cooperatives and manufacturers. Four producers and one representative from each of the other segments are chosen each year for the class.
Class members meet in six different sessions throughout the year beginning in September. The program is finished the following August with a graduation session.
Activities that take place during the sessions include field trips, lectures, discussions, meetings, and written and oral reports. The activities concentrate on four main areas– governmental affairs, communications techniques, research and marketing, and policy development.
The 2002-2003 Cotton Leadership Class met in September and again in November. Stockton says he already has learned a great deal in the early stages of the program.
“It’s very interesting to see the various ways cotton is produced in different areas of the country,” Stockton says. “There are a number of ways to accomplish the same objective, and it’s important for us to be exposed to as many different techniques as possible for us to do what’s best for the industry as a whole.”
Gibson says the main purpose of the leadership program is to ensure that future industry leaders have adequate knowledge of all facets of the industry as well as an understanding of NCC. He says it is a pathway for future generations of the U.S. cotton industry.