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Rich History In CCOY Program

It suddenly dawned on me recently that there is a lot of history in the Cotton Consultant of the Year (CCOY) program. That is a natural conclusion to reach when you consider that this program – co-sponsored by Cotton Farming and Sygnenta – has been around since 1981. That means 34 different industry leaders have been honored during this period of time. As I was walking around a crowded room at the CCOY reception at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio, that thought was reinforced everywhere I turned. It’s a good thing everybody was wearing a name tag. Otherwise, it would have been difficult identifying so many friends. I recognized the faces, but the name tags made it much easier to connect with each person. Then I realized that I had interviewed and photographed 14 of the winners, and that covers a lot of time. The years fly by way too fast in this business, but no amount of time will make me forget about how each consultant in our industry fulfills an important mission. This is a fraternity that is as strong... Read More »

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Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect when I attended the recent Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Summit event in Nashville, Tenn. This has always been an upbeat meeting as producers learn about new cotton varieties that Deltapine will launch in the upcoming year. But something called “low prices” was overshadowing the event, and it was anybody’s guess what producers would have to say about the situation. No matter how well a new variety might perform, it’s hard to deal with prices in the low 60-cent range – especially when those same prices were in the 80 and 85-cent range a year ago. Read More »

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 »