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Supreme Court Ruling Helps Cotton Industry

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

US cotton growers and makers of cotton textiles and apparel were gratified by a US Supreme Court ruling upholding a beef marketing program similar to the Cotton Board's and Cotton Incorporated's marketing programs. The court ruled last week that the Beef Promotion Act, which uses a checkoff procedure to fund beef research and promotion, is constitutional. The decision recognizes that commodity promotion programs do not infringe on the First Amendment rights of industry participants who are required to fund the programs.

National Cotton Council Chairman Woods Eastland said: "The decision by the Supreme Court in the beef promotion cases is great news for beef producers and cotton farmers alike. This decision should clarify the law regarding the constitutionality of agricultural research and promotion programs like the Cotton Research and Promotion program. The cotton research and promotion program spurred a remarkable turnaround in then retail use of cotton textiles in the United States."

He added that the program generates positive returns for the entire cotton apparel production chain with about $60-million per year devoted to research and promotion of cotton and cotton textiles and apparel.

June 1, 2005