Earlier this year, The Cotton Board hired Grant Saum as its new Mid-South regional communication manager. His territory includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
The RCMs work to ensure that stakeholders of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program in their respective territories are informed about program activities. These pursuits are conducted by Cotton Incorporated and administered by the Cotton Board.
They also visit producers in the field, speak at industry meetings, participate in trade shows and coordinate producer tours of Cotton Incorporated.
To help Mid-South growers get to know their new regional communication manager, I asked Grant to answer these questions:
Q Tell us about yourself and your work in the cotton industry.
A I have spent all my life around row crops and livestock. Growing up in Ramer, Tennessee, I was very active in livestock showing and FFA. During the 2012-13 school year, I was elected FFA treasurer for the state of Tennessee.
That year, my love for agriculture developed even further as I had the opportunity to travel across the state and visit with farmers, schools and companies that were all advocating for agriculture.
I attended college at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where I graduated with a degree in agribusiness and a minor in business administration. After college, I went to work on the retail side of ag as a seed salesman for Winfield United under the brand name Croplan. My time in retail has given me a solid foundation in agronomy and strengthened my understanding of the day-to-day needs of growers.
Q What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
A I’m looking forward to working directly with cotton growers. I want to strengthen my existing relationships and cultivate new ones with the cotton growers and leaders within the Mid-South. Since starting with The Cotton Board in January, I’ve gotten the chance to go out and meet some of the growers and industry partners in my region.
I’m so impressed by their dedication to sustainably producing fiber for the world. I’m hopeful that working alongside some of the most influential leaders in the cotton and agricultural sectors will allow me to grow my leadership skills so I can help push the cotton industry forward.
Q What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about The Cotton Research and Promotion Program in your time with The Cotton Board?
A I’ve been very surprised to learn about the promotional work conducted by the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Coming from a farming background, I always knew about the ag research work, but the number of resources put toward the promotion and marketing side is great.
Cotton Incorporated does an excellent job reaching consumers and giving them reasons to purchase cotton products. There are so many programs behind the scenes to help drive demand for cotton and continue to help consumers view cotton as The Fabric of Our Lives.
Q What makes you passionate about the cotton industry?
A I am proud to be part of an industry with such a profound impact on feeding and clothing the world. Cotton is used in so many ways and has a far-reaching effect on people’s everyday lives.
The evolution of the U.S. cotton industry is also fascinating. The cotton producers I get to work for have led the way in embracing new technology and sustainable production practices, and that is pretty inspiring.
For more information about Grant and the work of The Cotton Board’s regional communication managers, please visit cottonboard.org/producers.
Stacey Gorman is The Cotton Board’s director of communications. Contact her at email@example.com.