AS growers prepare for one of the biggest cotton seasons on record a familiar face will lead the way for the industry's peak body.
After nine years on Cotton Australia's board, including three as deputy chairman, Nigel Burnett will now take the reins as chairman of Cotton Australia.
The Emerald grower celebrated his new position by busily planting this season's crop as the Emerald district was the first across the country to begin planting.
"It is an exciting period for the cotton industry as we have had a change of season in NSW and the central valleys from drought conditions to full storages in the space of a couple of years," Mr Burnett said.
"That is exciting because we have gone from a crop of 2.7 million bales last year up to what is likely to be about five million bales this year, coupled with really strong prices for cotton, which allows the success of the industry to roll into rural economies."
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A mixed cattle and crop producer, Mr Burnett said the cotton industry was in his heart and innovation would be a key focus of his leadership.
"How far we've come in the sustainability side of things really excites me and it's something I want to be part of and something I really want to lead," he said.
"I think we have real opportunities in that sustainability space along with retailers and customers, who are calling out for a sustainable supply chain.
"I think we can provide that to them with our sustainability program, which we are looking to progress over the couple of years in the hopes of it opening up new marketing opportunities for our industry."
COVID-19-enforced labour shortages and finding new markets were two challenges Mr Burnett said the industry was currently facing.
"We really do need to expand those marketing opportunities into other countries," he said.
"It is one of many things the board will be looking to achieve in the next few years."
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