The cotton industry is full of wonderful producers, ginners and industry partners, many of whom are women. Whether she is in the role of making daily farming operation decisions, supporting the farm behind the scenes or working in the industry, women in agriculture are essential.
The Cotton Board recognizes the major role of women in the industry and puts an emphasis on reaching out and engaging them in agriculture. Since 2015, The Cotton Board has hosted six Women in Agriculture tours, taking nearly 300 women to Cotton Incorporated’s headquarters.
“Women play such a huge role in our industry, and there is great value in us bringing them together,” says Bill Gillon, president and CEO of The Cotton Board. “The women in the cotton industry are a treasure trove of untapped perspective and information. We wanted to reach out to educate them about the Cotton Research and Promotion Program and to start fostering relationships with this sector of the industry in hopes of inspiring future leaders.”
The Cotton Board regularly hosts producer tours to make sure the stakeholders who pay into the Cotton Research and Promotion Program understand what that investment does for them.
On both producer and Women in Agriculture tours, attendees hear about each segment of Cotton Incorporated in detail. This allows them to see exactly what the organization is doing in the areas of agricultural research, fiber competition, product development, global supply chain marketing and consumer marketing. An in-depth tour of the Cotton Incorporated’s World Headquarters and Research Facilities in Cary, North Carolina, is also part of the tour program.
A real effort is made to encourage the attendees to not only gain a better understanding of the program but also to help them become advocates for the cotton industry. For the women’s outing, The Cotton Board also includes social media training.
The Cotton Board held the 2021 Women in Agriculture tour Aug. 22-24. The nearly 40 women who attended this year’s event consisted of current and future leaders in the cotton industry.
“Their perspectives and insight are invaluable to the continued success of the program,” Gillon says. “The cotton industry needs the type of leadership demonstrated by these women as we work to move the industry forward.”
He also says events like the Women in Agriculture tour are a great first step to becoming more involved in the industry.
“These tours are the best way to see your cotton assessment dollars at work,” says Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated. “This is your program; you really should see the great work that is being done on your behalf.
“Use the tour of Cotton Incorporated’s facility as a steppingstone to get more engaged and involved in the industry and to make some lasting relationships with women in the industry you otherwise may not have met.”
The 2022 Women in Agriculture Tour will be held June 12-14. Anyone who is interested in this trip or another producer tour of Cotton Incorporated is encouraged to reach out to your Cotton Board regional communication manager.
Stacey Gorman is The Cotton Board’s director of communications. Contact her at email@example.com.