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U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Announces Expanded Board of Directors

Expanded Board of Directors includes 11 new appointments, bolstering equal representation from across the global cotton supply chain 

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The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has today announced the appointment of a refreshed and expanded Board of Directors. The refreshed board comes with the appointment of 11 new board members and expands the board from the previous 16 to now 22 members. The appointment of the new board comes as part of a governance review four years into the successful development of the program, and at a natural inflection point in the Trust Protocol’s evolution. The board has been expanded in particular to give greater and more equal representation to international stakeholders and across the entire supply chain, while enhancing its diversity.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Board of Directors announced today includes:

  • four growers, each representing one of the four U.S. cotton-growing regions;
  • three representatives of gins and cottonseed producers;
  • four merchants and cooperatives;
  • four mills and manufacturers;
  • three representatives from NGOs and academia, and
  • four brand and retailer members

The refreshed board is structured to deliver on the Trust Protocol’s emphasis of further connecting the supply chain from the farm to end user, driving demand from all segments, and seeking to improve impact, as well as building program understanding amongst growers to drive continued enrollment. With a view to ensuring fresh perspectives while retaining institutional knowledge, board members are appointed for a period of two years renewable once. An Advisory Council with a fluctuating number of seats complements the board by providing ad-hoc expertise on specific topics. 

Commenting on the board appointments, Daren Abney, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, said: “I’m thrilled about the formation of our newly refreshed Board of Directors. Comprised of exceptional experts and leaders spanning the global supply chain, this board represents a significant milestone in the governance of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. By incorporating a blend of domestic and international voices, this board will ensure a diversity of perspectives that will drive value for all members across the supply chain, while ensuring that cotton growers remain at the very heart of the program.”

The new board members are- 

Cotton Growers: Sam Whitaker, Partner, Whitaker Farms

Gins and Cottonseed: Larry Black, General Manager, Central Rolling Plains Gin

Coops and Merchants: Krista Rickman, Commercial Strategic Lead, Cargill Cotton; Carlos Garcia, Director of Sales, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association

Mills and Manufacturers: Adolfo Kalach, Vice President, Kaltex Manufacturing Group; Saima Chowdhury, Founder and CEO, Noi Solutions LLC 

NGOs and Academia: Suzy Friedman, Senior Director of Food Policy, World Wildlife Fund; Tyson Raper, Associate Professor, Pettigrew Cotton Specialist, University of Tennessee 

Brands and Retailers: Katherine “Katie” O’Hare, Senior Director, Sustainability, J. Crew Group; Agata Smeets, Head of Environment and Product Sustainability, Gap Inc.; Virginie Cayzeele, Head of Raw Materials, Kiabi

They join existing members- 

Cotton Growers: Aaron Barcellos, Partner, A-Bar Ag Enterprises; Dahlen Hancock, Owner, DK & J Farms

Matt Coley, Owner, Coley Farms

Gins and Cottonseed: Fred Serven, General Manager of Cotton, Archer Daniels Midland; David Blakemore, President, Blakemore Cotton and Grain, LLC

Coops and Merchants: Henry “Hank” Reichle, President and CEO, Staple Cotton Cooperative Association; William “Buddy” Allen, President and CEO, American Cotton Shippers Association 

Mills and Manufacturers: Jim Martin, Executive Vice President of Cotton Operations, Parkdale Mills, Inc.; Mike Quinn, Vice President of Cotton Operations, Gildan yarns, LLC.

NGOs and Academia: Kris Johnson, Director of the North America Agriculture Program, The Nature Conservancy 

Brands and Retailers: Hitesh Sharma, Senior Lead, Sustainable Sourcing and Traceability (Global Sustainability), Levi Strauss & Company

To find out more and see the full list of board members, visit

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