Even though 2020 has been a crazy year and many folks are quarantined, working from home or practicing social distancing, Cotton Incorporated’s Agricultural and Environmental Research team has been busy conducting research as usual.
In previous articles, I have written about how U.S. cotton producers pay a per-bale assessment that helps fund the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. But you may not be aware of all of the localized research to which the assessment contributes.
In 1966, the Cotton Research and Promotion Act established that 7.5% of each state’s assessments must be returned to the states for specific research projects led by a variety of institutions. This is called the State Support Program and is governed by producers serving on The Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated’s volunteer boards.
Research priorities are voted on by committee members each year and typically are based on the most pressing needs and ongoing issues in the region.
A Cotton Incorporated staff member oversees the support program and holds a meeting once or twice a year with the producer committee and local cotton research specialists. The purpose of the gathering is to determine which projects will be funded the upcoming year and review previous work, if necessary.
Some states may decide they need research on stink bugs while others may focus on whiteflies. Some states want more research on weed control and others need research on bollworms.
Many projects conducted by land-grant universities are funded or partially funded by Cotton Incorporated. In fact, Cotton Incorporated funds 150 to 170 State Support Program research projects each year throughout the Cotton Belt.
Purpose Of Zoom Meetings
My job, as a regional communication manager for The Cotton Board, is to help make sure the producers in my region of the Cotton Belt are aware of the research and promotion being done on their behalf as a result of financial contributions to the program.
In an effort to be as transparent as possible, The Cotton Board RCMs are hosting a series of Zoom meetings. The purpose of the sessions is to update producers who haven’t attended the State Support Program committee meetings on cotton research being funded in their state.
I held my first session in December 2020 for North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Participants heard from Cotton Incorporated’s Dr. Ed Barnes, senior director of agricultural research at Cotton Incorporated, and Guy Collins, North Carolina State University Extension cotton specialist.
The live Zoom sessions also are recorded and can be viewed on The Cotton Board YouTube channel afterward.
The Cotton Board wants every cotton producer who has questions about their assessments to register for these short, informative meetings to get an idea of what these research dollars are doing to help keep their crop profitable. The 45-minute sessions also allow time for questions about the projects.
Upcoming State Support Program Update Zoom Meetings for 2021 are being scheduled. Follow the Cotton Board’s social media pages or check the calendar on the Cotton Board website for dates. If any cotton producer or industry associate wants to register for the meetings, contact the Cotton Board RCM in your region.
• Southeast: Monty Bain, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Mid-South: Emily Wyonzek, email@example.com
• Southern Plains: Shelly Heinrich, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Southwest: Christi Short, email@example.com
Monty Bain is the Cotton Board’s regional communication manager for the Southeast. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.