Cotton Foundation membership remained solid with 67 member firms as of July 1, 2008, the beginning of the 2008-09 Foundation fiscal year. These agribusiness firms’ voluntary membership dues enable the Foundation to direct $333,580 in support of 25 general research and education projects.
This research is geared toward finding solutions to problems in areas from cottonseed to textiles.
As in 2007-08, pest management remains an active arena. Foundation-supported work is targeting weed resistance, nematodes, plant bugs, spider mites, pink bollworm and boll weevil – all of which threaten producer profitability.
The U.S. cotton industry is enjoying a healthy return on investment from these efforts, too. NCC staff estimates that taking into account cash and in-kind services, the Foundation’s general projects enjoy a return of about $3 for every dollar devoted to these projects.
The 2008 High Cotton Awards recipients were, from left: Mike Tate, Huntsville, AL; Jason Luckey, Humboldt, TN; Jimmy Dodson, Robstown, TX; and Danny Locke, Firebaugh, CA.
Many Foundation members continue to go above and beyond their dues by providing much-needed grants for support of special projects. These endeavors have proven invaluable in helping the NCC carry out much needed educational and training efforts. The Cotton Leadership Program just completed its 25thyear. Other among other initiatives are the Producer Information Exchange, the Multi Commodity Education Program and the Policy Education Program.
Support also is being gathered for two new special projects.
“Vision 21” will critically assess cotton textiles’ fastest growing consumer markets, important life-cycle studies to strengthen U.S. cotton’s sustainability message, and a thorough analysis of cotton handling/transportation logistics with a focus on improving flow and shipping. The NCC, Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated will jointly administer this project.
“Advancing Cotton Education,”(ACE) is a new program aimed at helping producers achieve profitability and sustainability by enabling the NCC to disseminate best management practices through the re-introduction of the Cotton Physiology Todaynewsletters and the “First Forty Days” and “Fruiting to Finish” guides. There are plans for additional information distribution activities through the ACE project from a variety of sources.
Advancing Cotton Education is a new program aimed at helping producers achieve profitability and sustainability.
Several other active projects will assist the NCC as it addresses the needs of the cotton industry. The Herbicide Resistant Weeds project has completed a learning module and is nearing completion of an educational video. Technical training material is being developed to aid in detection and management of resistant weeds as well as proactive training for locations with no known herbicide resistance problem to date.
The Beltwide Cotton Nematode and Beltwide Seedling Disease special projects provide a forum for academic experts to share common protocols to address issues facing the entire cotton belt while allowing specific local needs to be addressed.
Foundation member firms continue to sponsor vital NCC communications vehicles, including the Cotton’s Week newsletter, AgDay Cotton’s Week and the Cotton eNews electronic newsletter.
The Foundation is well positioned to help bring resolution to the technology-based priorities and educational needs the NCC has identified – activities that will invigorate the industry in the decades ahead.