Arkansas cotton sustainability field day set for July 30 at Judd Hill

cotton coming through cover crop
Cotton coming up in rolled cover crop on Adam Chappell’s farm in Cotton Plant, Arkansas — photo by Bill Robertson, University of Arkansas

The July 30 field day at the Judd Hill Foundation will explore various facets of sustainable cotton production, including soil health, water use and greenhouse gas production.

On-site registration opens at 8 a.m. with field tours beginning at 9 a.m. The in-person event will follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

“There are so many organizations working together toward the goal of increasing sustainability in producing cotton, a crop valued at $361million in Arkansas in 2018,” said Bill Robertson, Extension cotton agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“In this joint effort, we will see ongoing research and demonstration projects on the Judd Hill Foundation Research farm and the Judd Hill Foundation Commercial Farm in partnership with the outstanding cotton producers at Judd Hill, Jesse Flye and Marty White.”

Organizers of the event include the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Arkansas State University, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil Health Institute, Cotton Incorporated and the National Cotton Council.

The Judd Hill Foundation Farm is located on Arkansas Highway 214, 5 miles south of Trumann in Poinsett County.

On the agenda:

Soil and water conservation research with comparative studies monitoring greenhouse gas production, edge-of-field water quality and soil health metrics as well as practices to improve irrigation water management and integrated pest management with

Tina Teague, professor-entomology, Arkansas State and University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Michele Reba, research hydrologist, USDA-ARS. Delta Water Management Research Unit.

Arlene Adviento-Borbe, research agronomist, USDA-ARS, Delta Water Management Research Unit.

Soil Fertility research evaluating fertility needs of cotton following peanuts presented by Chuck Wilson, soils specialist-field crops, for the Division of Agriculture.

Field-scale demonstrations

Participants will see conventional systems, cover crops and conservation tillage, and systems focused on improving producer profitability, with:

• Marty White, producer, Judd Hill.

• Jesse Flye, producer, Judd Hill.

• Adam Chappell, producer, Cotton Plant, Arkansas.

• Matt Fryer, Extension soil instructor, Division of Agriculture.

“We will also have industry leaders discuss why it is important for producers to enroll in the sustainability programs that brands, and retailers are demanding,” Robertson said.

These talks include:

Healthy soils for sustainable cotton program update with David Lamm, project manager, Soil Health Institute.

 Update on U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol with Gary Adams, CEO, National Cotton Council of America.

 Better Cotton Initiative 2030 impact targets with Amna Bajwa, senior program officer, Better Cotton Initiative.

 Sourcing trends: brands want to know more with Hank Reichle, president and CEO, Staplcotn, the Staple Cotton Cooperative Association.

The event is sponsored by the Better Cotton Initiative, Cotton Inc., Judd Hill Foundation and the Soil Health Institute.

Organizers will serve a barbecue lunch.

The University of Arkansas contributed this article.

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