The National Cotton Council-coordinated 2021 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will employ a virtual platform to share cutting-edge research results and other timely information for making key production/marketing-related decisions.
■ Why the online format?
The BWCC annually brings together university/U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, regulatory agency and Extension personnel/agents, consultants and industry sales/support staff to exchange information about research results, new products and production/processing systems that can be tailored to improve and maximize individual farming operations.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCC will conduct the 2021 forum with live-streamed individual reports/panel discussions/poster presentations from the half-day Cotton Consultants Conference and the 11 cotton technical sessions.
Those planning to participate in the Jan. 5-7 virtual event must register at the BWCC’s website, www.cotton.org/beltwide. Conference access details will be emailed to registrants closer to January.
Registration fees for the 2021 BWCC have been reduced: $180 for NCC/Cotton Foundation members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, associations and consultants; $500 for non-U.S. research, Extension, associations, and consultants; $350 for non-NCC/Foundation members; and $75 for students. Registration will remain open after the conference for on-demand access of all recorded content.
■ What about the agenda?
The 2021 BWCC final program will be posted Dec. 3 at www.cotton.org/beltwide. The forum will begin at 8 a.m. Central Standard Time, Jan. 5, with the half-day Cotton Consultants Conference, which is open to all registered participants. Among topics planned for that session are a National Weather Service discussion of prediction models/long-range forecasting as well as university cotton physiologists describing weather models’ influence on cotton physiology decisions including growth regulator use and leaf shed practices.
Environmental Protection Agency officials will review the availability status of dicamba and other plant protection chemistries, and a panel will discuss Bt resistance management and EPA’s new proposed requirements. Participants also will get an update on cotton leafroll dwarf virus and product updates from various agribusiness companies.
The 11 BWCC cotton technical conferences, which now include a new Cotton Sustainability Conference, will meet concurrently beginning the afternoon of Jan. 5 and conclude by 5 p.m., Jan. 7.
Those sessions will provide updates on research and current/emerging technologies. For example, the USDA Agriculture Research Service recently launched its Partnerships for Data Innovation that uses innovative technologies to: 1) increase data collection efficiency, 2) provide scientists new tools to visualize their data sets and 3) help researchers and producers get the most from their resources.
The partnerships cotton program will be introduced in several of the technical sessions to solicit feedback and participation from all cotton production and research sectors. Among the other timely technical reports will be the Cotton Disease Council’s general disease summary; the Sustainability Conference’s updates on the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, microplastics and soil health; and the Ginning Conference’s updates from machinery manufacturers and reports on fiber quality preservation and development of systems to detect and eliminate plastic contamination.
Gary Adams is president/CEO of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming magazine page.