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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cotton’s Demise: It Changed

There's been a lot of negative talk lately about cotton: how it's lost its mojo and fallen out favor with consumers. In today’s market, cotton is challenged in significant ways as it has to compete with an oversupply of synthetic fibers, a fast evolving textile supply chain, and changing consumer attitudes toward natural fibers. Of course, cotton always has to contend with weather, insects, weeds, and other growing problems; farmers year in and year out face such production challenges. Even so, there's always the demand of the market that ultimately tells the story of the success or failure of a product. Over the past few years, it seems as though the textile supply chain and consumers prefer synthetics. Cotton has lost market share. I've written several critical commentaries about the cotton business in various publications over the past few months. Much of my concern has centered on the lack of focus on the part of the industry to address inroads made by synthetics. Further, there’s confusion in the market over cotton's message. The frankly fallacious campaign conducted by proponents of "green" production (at the expense of traditional growing practices) has only helped to undermine the benefits of cotton. Read More »

Another Memorable Cotton Harvest

We always hear the phrase that every cotton harvest is somehow different from all the ones that occurred in the past. After observing conditions in many parts of the Belt this year, I’d say that this was definitely a season for the history books – regardless of what yield numbers might reveal. From Texas to the Carolinas, I don’t think I can recall a more varied reaction from producers when asked how harvest had proceeded this year. As we were moving into the first part of October, it was debatable the kind of harvest that Texas would eventually have. The Rio Grande Valley, which has an earlier crop than the rest of the state, was able to deliver cotton for the first time in several years because of good moisture levels throughout most of the growing season. That was some of the best news I heard coming out of Texas. A challenging situation occurred in the High Plains where excessive... Read More »

Another Busy Schedule Of Special Events

As we move into the fall harvest season for cotton, I’d like to review the last three field day events I attended here in the Mid-South. What makes these events so memorable is that they happened on three consecutive days in early September. Initially, I didn’t think I could cover three events occurring in two different states in such a short period of time. But, somehow, everything went well – including the weather. Two of the events were regular field days – the Missouri Annual Field Day at the Delta Center in Portageville and a similar event at the West Tennessee Ag Research Station in Jackson, Tenn. The third event was the official dedication of a new Bayer CropScience research facility at the Memphis Agricenter. Read More »

It Was A Busy Summer For Field Days

By the time most of you read this story, a busy summer will have come to an end, and we will be moving full speed into the fall season. It’s hard to believe time is moving by so quickly. Suffice it to say but it was an extremely busy June, July and August. Although you’ve heard about the trip I took to Montana for the National Cotton Council’s Multi-Commodity Education Tour and the Southern Cotton Ginners’ summer meeting in Branson, Mo., other recent events are worth mentioning. While there are other field day events on the calendar in September, I would be remiss... Read More »

Montana – Where Ag Reigns Supreme

When I learned that I’d be traveling to Montana earlier this summer with a group of cotton farmers, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. But I had a pretty good idea that it would be a fabulous time for everybody. Believe it or not, I had a positive experience two years ago when I traveled with a similar group to North Dakota – and I knew this trip might be even better. Read More »

Managing Irrigated Cotton in the Mid-South

By Carroll Smith, Senior Writer The Mid-South is a humid region, which typically has abundant rainfall during the cotton-growing season. Even so, producers have continued to increase their irrigated cotton acres and are curious about how to manage irrigation to realize the most benefit from it. Several years ago, FSA numbers put Arkansas at about 75 percent irrigated cotton acres, ... Read More »

Farm Bureau Commends Delta Producers

On Meeting Voluntary Metering Program Goal On June 30, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced the initial phase of the voluntarily metering program supported by the Delta Sustainable Water Resource Taskforce has been officially met. MDEQ Office of Land & Water Resources Director and Delta Sustainable Water Resource Taskforce leader Kay Whittington stated, “MDEQ is excited that the producers ... Read More »