Benerito, Jenkins Named to Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame

The late Ruth Benerito and Dr. Johnie Jenkins are the 2019 inductees into the Cotton Incorporated Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame.

The program, now in its sixth year, recognizes individuals that have made significant contributions to the Cotton Research and Promotion Program or to the cotton industry in general. The Program was established in 1966 to expand the demand for upland cotton and to increase profitability for both cotton growers and importers of cotton products.


The honorees will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at the joint Cotton Incorporated/Cotton Board Annual Meeting this December in New Orleans, LA.

“As the Research and Promotion Program approaches its 50th year, we want to honor those who have played a crucial role in the evolution and advancement of the cotton industry,” says Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated. “The tireless dedication and commitment of the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees have helped to shape the modern cotton industry and have a lasting impact, furthering its growth and innovation.”

Ruth Benerito (deceased) was crucial in leading the development of wrinkle-free cotton during her time as a U.S. Department of Agriculture chemist in the 1960s. Born in New Orleans, Ms. Benerito received degrees from Tulane University and the University of Chicago before beginning her work for USDA in 1953. Before retiring in 1986, she received 55 patents and led a team at the Department’s Southern Regional Research Center. After being named one of the most important women in the U.S. by Ladies’ Home Journal in 1971, Ms. Benerito also received USDA’s Distinguished Service Award, and the prestigious Lemelson-Massachusetts Institute of Technology lifetime achievement award in 2002.

Dr. Johnie Jenkins is an internationally acclaimed research plant geneticist who, through his 55 years of dedication to the research of cotton breeding, helped make Bt cotton a reality. In 2007, Dr. Jenkins was inducted into the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Science Hall of Fame. The following year, he was honored with the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Senior Professional by President George W. Bush.

The 2019 honorees of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame were chosen from nominations made by certified producer and importer organizations and voted upon by the Chairman’s Committee of the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors.


Based on information provided by The Cotton Board