The National Cotton Council-coordinated Beltwide Cotton Conferences is the premier forum for transferring proven technology to U.S. cotton producers – and the greater the attendance, the greater the learning experience for all.
What’s unique about the Beltwide?
Overall, there’s no substitute for the face-to-face information sharing that occurs between all the professionals who have a vested interest in a healthy U.S. cotton industry, among them innovative producers, leading scientists, Extension specialists, consultants and agribusiness representatives. Cotton producers not only can learn what works and what doesn’t work, but how to tailor new and existing products/production systems to their operations to maximize efficiency while facing a variety of challenges. This is particularly crucial today because while technology development always seems to be on a fast track, there is an overall decline in the number of new plant protection products available to producers.
The cost-cutting information that producers can glean from this forum easily outweighs their investment of time and money. Some of that is because the NCC is able to negotiate favorable hotel room rates. The NCC also holds down registration fees well below the normal rate for this type of meeting. This is due to the support of some Cotton Foundation member firms, which also underwrite on-site receptions and meal events – further reducing producers’ out-of-pocket expenses.
What about the upcoming conferences?
The 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences are set for Jan. 3-6 at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Conference information, including instructions for housing and registration, is available at www.cotton.org/beltwide.
The Cotton Production Conference general session will focus on what went right and wrong in the 2011 growing season, including what was learned from the extreme weather events across the Cotton Belt; producing cotton with a changing arsenal of plant protection products; proven marketing strategies; and new farm policy development. The Cotton Production Conf-erence’s workshops will foster interaction between speakers and attendees on the challenges associated with such agronomic practices as: 1) pre-emergence weed control systems, 2) producing cotton without Temik, 3) insect/weed management strategies when planting conventional varieties; 4) irrigation, with a focus on scheduling; and 5) precision agriculture. Among other workshops will be one with entomologists and agronomists discussing their use of social media, such as Facebook and blogging, to disseminate timely information and to gather feedback with the goal of helping improve producers’ in-season decision-making. As in the past, a workshop also will have allied industry representatives talking about new and emerging technology and products such as plant varieties, chemistries, equipment and software.
Producers also have gained valuable information by attending the Cotton Consultants Conference (see page 16 of this issue). That session, which will be held the afternoon before the Production Conference, will offer insight gained from the 2011 growing season and a discussion on dealing with weed resistance management, particularly ways to improve pigweed control. The Beltwide Cotton Conferences also include the Cotton Foundation Technical Exhibits and 13 cotton technical conferences.
Charles Parker is the chairman of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.