By Shawn Wade

Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

Texas cotton producers get a number of benefits through the research and promotion efforts carried out by Cotton Incorporated and the Cotton Board.

One of the most successful programs carried out by Cotton Incorporated is the State Support Program. The State Support Program (SSP) returns 5% of the total CI operating budget back to cotton producing states each year for the purpose of carrying out additional producer directed research and promotion activities.

Members of the Texas State Support Program Committee met, in Austin, to review research proposals concerning projects that will be carried out in the 2003 calendar year. The committee approved funding for projects totaling some $740,000 for 2003.

Within the Texas State Support Program funds are allocated based on formula that includes specifying one-half of available funds for projects deemed relevant to the entire state. The remaining money is further divided among the nine growing regions in the state, based on each region's percentage of statewide production averaged over the most recent three growing seasons.

Based on this allocation structure, High Plains producer leaders selected projects for 2003 funding totaling an estimated $225,000. A final listing of approved projects will be complied and released, along with final funding levels, by Cotton Incorporated staff as soon as CI budget figures are approved later in the year.

Cotton states receive their share of the SSP funds based on the percentage of Research and Promotion Program money collected from producers in each state. Collectively cotton importers also receive SSP funds equivalent to their share of total collections.

Representatives, from the nine regional cotton producer organizations that make up Texas Cotton Producers, Inc., met, in Austin, to discuss cotton related regulatory and legislative issues and to elect the organization's 2002-2003 officers.

Ronnie Riddle, Abilene, was elected president for the 2002-2003 growing season. Riddle takes the reins from Petersburg cotton producer Ronnie Hopper, who served as TCP president in 2002.

Elected vice president was Larry Turnbough, Balmorhea. Johnna Oman, executive vice president of the Rolling Plains Cotton Producers, was selected to serve as the organization's secretary of 2002-2003.

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