USDA Cotton Classification and the Efforts Used to Ensure Integrity and Accuracy​​

September 2021 | 35 min., 53 sec.
by Darryl Earnest
USDA, AMS, Cotton & Tobacco Program


​The USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Cotton and Tobacco Program (C&T) provides cotton classification services to the U.S. cotton industry on all the bales produced each year. As part of that classification, C&T uses specific procedures, rigorous validation processes, and a multifaceted quality management program to ensure the accuracy and integrity of each sample classed. This presentation describes the classing process, the quality management program and its processes, the training involved for cotton classers, and opportunities to visit C&T and observe classing in progress.

About the Presenter

Darryl EarnestDarryl Earnest has served as the deputy administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Cotton and Tobacco Program (C&T) since 2005. He has spent his entire government career with C&T, joining AMS in 1990 after graduating from the University of Alabama with a BS degree in industrial engineering. Over his career, Darryl has served in many different areas of cotton operations and program management. In 2008, he assumed direction of the AMS Tobacco Program when it joined Cotton as part of an agency merger. As national director for both, he is ultimately responsible for all operations within the Cotton and Tobacco divisions. In 2011, Darryl moved his Washington, DC, headquarters office to Memphis, Tennessee, to streamline program leadership. C&T grades all the cotton produced in the United States for the fiber quality used to market the cotton all over the world.

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