The NCC remained active in Farm Policy Facts.org.
Throughout 2008, the NCC communicated the urgency of getting a new farm law in place. A steady stream of news releases, columns, op-eds and other documents were issued and interviews conducted with national news media.
That effort included active membership in Farm Policy Facts.org (http://www.farmpolicyfacts.org), a non-profit coalition which issues documents to educate Americans, particularly Congress, about agriculture’s contributions.
The NCC specifically created “Dispelling Myths About U.S. Support to Cotton Farmers: U.S. Programs Have Not Caused Low Cotton Prices and Hurt Foreign Growers,” a document that was posted on the NCC’s website and distributed to major national news outlets. Other documents, ranging from farm bill proposal summaries to letters to key lawmakers and USDA were posted on the NCC’s special farm bill website area.
Late in the year, the NCC distributed columns and articles regarding the timing of the WTO Doha Round ministerial. The aim was to draw attention to what was wrong with the current agriculture negotiating text and what was needed for U.S. cotton to support an agreement. NCC Chairman Larry McClendon reinforced that message by holding a briefing and question/answer session with journalists attending the 2009 Beltwide Cotton Conferences.
The NCC, along with other commodity organizations, continued to support America’s Heartland, a weekly television program that highlights the diversity and success of American agriculture. Viewer ratings were up 12 percent during the program’s third season. Along with a complete listing of stations and programming schedules, www.americasheartland.com also now features an educational section with teaching tools and discussion guides. That material complements the segments of America’s Heartland, which now is partnering with the national Ag in the Classroom program.
NCC-generated columns and articles regarding the WTO Doha Round ministerial were distributed to the trade press and NCC Chairman Larry McClendon reinforced that message by holding a briefing and question/answer session with journalists.
In other public attitudes activity, the NCC worked with the National Cotton Ginners Association (NCGA) and Plains Cotton Growers on a news briefing in Lubbock to emphasize the USDA Cotton Ginning Lab’s contributions. The media were told that the facility, which was slated for closure under the Administration’s currently proposed FY09 budget, is not only important to Texas cotton producers/ginners – but to the entire Cotton Belt.
Progress on the farm bill development and the NCC’s efforts to explain the new law’s provisions were reported through Cotton’s Week, news releases, the AgDay Cotton’s Week television segment and radio newslines.
A special farm bill section was created on the NCC’s website for the organization’s members and included information ranging from talking points to farm bill provision summaries.
The NCC coordinated with the farm trade media on multiple articles focusing on the 2009 Beltwide Cotton Conferences’ programming – to generate more awareness and bolster attendance at that forum.
Promotion and public relations support was given to Cotton Council International, The Cotton Foundation and to various cotton interest organizations such as the American Cotton Producers, the NCGA and others. For example, CCI support included work on its annual directory, buyer’s guide, calendar, quarterly newsletters, CCI-FAX, as well as various audiovisual reports.
Audiovisual projects were conducted for both the NCC and other industry organizations. Among those were the 2009 NCC staff report and work with the NCGA on revising scripts and acquiring footage for updating its gin safety videotapes.