National Cotton Council delegates will develop policies and programs to help the U.S. cotton industry meet future challenges during its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., next week.

The NCC plans to tackle challenges ranging from federal budget proposals to free trade negotiations during the Jan. 27 through Jan. 31 meeting, the NCC said in. Delegates will review and adopt specific resolutions for NCC action in six key program arenas: farm and economic policy; international trade; public relations and international market development; research and education; packaging and distribution; and health, safety and the environment.

Emphasis will be placed on reviewing trade and economic policies, which can increase consumption of U.S. cotton and cotton products in the U.S. and overseas markets, and identify programs and industry practices that provide opportunities to enhance competitiveness, efficiency and profitability, the NCC said.

Mark Lange, NCC president and CEO, said that protecting the U.S. cotton's interests in the current farm legislation will continue to be a challenge. "There is concern that when Congress addresses the budget deficit in 2005, there will again be attempts to compromise farm law," Lange said in a statement. "We will continue to emphasize the fact that farm program expenditures have been under spent by $17 billion during the first three years of the farm bill."

Lange added that the NCC will remain steadfast in monitoring World Trade Organization negotiations to ensure that the farm program components are not "unfairly targeted."

Outgoing NCC chairman Woody Anderson, a Colorado City, Texas, cotton producer, said this year's actions by Congress and the Administration "will affect how our industry can compete in the world marketplace."

Source: Association Release