Producer Information Exchange
Bayer CropScience Grant: $125,000
More than 800 producers from across the Cotton Belt have been given an advantage in their quest for better efficiency and profitability through improved yields and quality.
Through P.I.E., which completed its 20thyear in 2008, producers are able to observe production techniques and technology in regions different from their own. That, coupled with one-to-one interaction with innovative producers, has proven to be a successful formula for helping P.I.E. participants get new ideas and perspectives in land preparation, variety selection, planting, tillage, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting.
The four 2008 tours included exchanges between the West and Mid-South, and the Southeast and Southwest. These and other P.I.E. alumni are encouraged to attend the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences as a way to further their knowledge of innovative technology and farming methods.
A visit to Josey Farms in Scotland Neck, NC, was among the many looks at Southeast cotton achieved by Texas and Oklahoma producers during one of the four 2008 Producer Information Exchange tours.
Multi-Commodity Education Program
|Deere & Company, Monsanto Total Grant: $120,000 |
The exchange between commodity producers in the Sunbelt and the Midwest/Far West regions is designed to strengthen communications between farmers regardless of their crop mix or the location of their operation. The program provides current and emerging producer leaders with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region and 2) an opportunity to observe agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure.
This unique educational effort was launched in October 2006 when producers from the Midwest/Far West traveled to North Carolina to observe cotton production/processing and other agricultural operations. In 2007, Sunbelt farmers saw agricultural operations in South Dakota. In the fall of 2008, Midwest/Far Westproducers saw cotton and other agricultural operations in Texas.
The itineraries are coordinated by NCC staff in cooperation with local commodity groups and other organizations.
2007-08 Cotton Leadership Class member Gil Haskins, Worth Gin Co., Sylvester, GA; left, accepts a plaque from NCC Chairman Larry McClendon upon graduating.
Cotton Leadership Program
DuPont Crop Protection Grant: $115,000
The Cotton Leadership Program celebrated its 25thyear in 2007-08. During that time, it has provided some 250 industry members with developmental training.
A class comprised of four cotton producers and one member from each of the other six industry segments participates in five, week-long sessions. These provide: policy and issue discussions with current and former industry leaders; observation of production and processing and key research across the Cotton Belt; visits with lawmakers and government and regulatory officials in Washington, DC; attendance at the National Cotton Council (NCC) annual and mid-year meetings; and communications training.
Many of the program participants have provided leadership in state, regional and national interest organizations. Some have served in the top positions of the NCC, Cotton Council International and The Cotton Foundation.
Members of the 2007-08 class were: Producers- Tim Mullek, Robertsdale, AL; Nathan Reed, Marianna, AR; Kent Dunn, Moscow, KS; and Charlie Meyer, III, Hanford, CA; Ginners- Dwayne Alford, Yuco Gin, Inc. II, Yuma, AZ, and Gil Haskins, Worth Gin Co., Sylvester, GA; Warehouser- Hernand Koubratoff, Anderson Clayton, Fresno, CA; Merchant- Amy Ives, Cargill Cotton, Memphis, TN; Cottonseed- Kelly Jack, PYCO Industries, Inc., Lubbock, TX; and Marketing Cooperative- Carlos Garcia, Plains Cotton Coop Association, Lubbock.
Weed Resistance Learning Module
Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, Syngenta Grant: $76,000
This NCC-coordinated project emphasizes the importance of preventing the occurrence of herbicide-resistant weeds, thus helping them maintain long-term stewardship of their acreage and herbicide products.
The plan includes an online weed resistance management educational module that can be accessed via the NCC’s web site at http://www.cotton.org/tech/pest/wrm/. The module features tips from leading weed scientists such as herbicide use and application timing. The Module also provides general resource information on cotton herbicides and a list of contacts in each state for producers who have questions on management practices.
This project also enabled the NCC to distribute printed materials, including post cards and a brochure about the learning module, and to issue a series of news releases emphasizing the importance of resistance management stewardship.
Congressional Staff Education/Orientation Program
Monsanto Grant: $110,000
Washington, DC-based House, Senate and committee staffers get to see cutting edge U.S. Cotton Belt production and processing operations, tour public and private research facilities, and visit with industry leaders on key issues facing the nation’s No. 1 food and fiber crop.
This program’s overall aim is to raise lawmakers’ awareness of the efficient U.S. cotton infrastructure and its contributions to this nation. Another message conveyed during the tours is the U.S. cotton industry’s need to compete profitably in the global marketplace.
All ethical guidelines required by the Senate or the House are fulfilled during this unique orientation.
Policy Education Program
Syngenta Crop Protection Grant: $60,000
More than 100 NCC producer members have been given the opportunity to learn more about the NCC’s policy development and implementation process. As a result, many of those participants are involved in U.S. cotton’s central organization today. Up to four producers from each major Cotton Belt region are chosen to attend the NCC’s annual meeting. In July 2008, they visited NCC’s Washington, DC, operations and met with key Congressional members and received professional development training at Syngenta’s headquarters in North Carolina.
Cotton Nematode Research and Education Program
Bayer CropScience Grant: $50,000
Losses to nematodes have steadily increased over the past decade or so, due mostly to the spread of the reniform nematode throughout all coastal states from Texas to Virginia and Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. Reniform has become the most economically serious cotton pets in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The pest is estimated to cost each producer 100-500 lbs. of lint per acres.
Cotton Beltnematologists and plant pathologists meet annually to discuss their research and report on their nematode population surveys. The overall aim is to curb losses to nematodes across the Cotton Belt. Information on nematodes, their distribution and control methods can be found in the updated booklet, “Cotton Nematodes: Your Hidden Enemies” and at the project’s updated web site, www.cotton.org/tech/pest/nematode.
Reports and workshops at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, including the 2009 forum, also will help further the efforts to increase awareness of the nematode threat and the available controls.
Cotton Seedling Disease Research and Education Program
Bayer CropScience Grant: $50,000
This program helps determine losses to the seedling disease complex, which were 1.8 million bales in 2007.
The program also helps identify the basic disease spectrum in each locale and offers fungicide use and application methods in each state. More information is available to producers, consultants and others through the brochure, “Know Your Seedling Diseases,” and at that project’s updated website, www.cotton.org/tech/pest/seedling.
Ongoing Special Project Contributions
Several Foundation members support the NCC-coordinated Beltwide Cotton Conferences through special projects. These funds help the NCC produce a high quality forum with modest attendee registration fees.
BASF lent its support to the Confex Podium system that makes conference reports available via the Internet to conferees. In addition, Bayer CropScience sponsored the forum’s continental breakfasts; Syngenta supported the Internet Quickstop kiosks and wireless Internet connectivity; and Monsanto sponsored the forum’s newsroom.
Some special projects are still assisting the U.S. cotton industry even though the projects’ annual grants have ceased. The Foundation continues to distribute volumes in its Cotton Reference Book Series, which can be ordered online. Still available in the series are Weeds of Cotton, Cotton Harvest Management, Cotton Insects and Mites, and Boll Weevil Eradication in the United States Through 1999. The Cotton Foundation series reference books can be purchased from the Foundation by visiting http://www.cotton.org/cf/reference-books.cfm.
Some other efforts helpful to cotton’s overall research and education effort include the ginning lab fiber analysis and the periodic development and distribution of various NCC-produced educational videotapes. The Gin Lab Symposium, sponsored by Delta and Pine Land, Syngenta, and Bayer CropScience, aids in familiarizing extension specialists with post harvest processes of ginning and textiles to improve appreciation of end user needs.
The Foundation Cotton Reference Book Series volumes can be ordered online by visiting http://www.cotton.org/cf/reference-books.cfm.