Industry News For September 2021

TCGA’s Kelley Green Honored

Tony Williams and Kelley Green
Tony Williams, left, Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association executive vice president, recently recognized Kelley Green for his 30-year contribution as the TCGA director of technical services.

Tony Williams, left, Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association executive vice president, recently recognized Kelley Green for his 30-year contribution as the TCGA director of technical services. Williams presented Green with a plaque and a Bass Pro Shop gift card during the TCGA summer membership meeting.

Green expressed appreciation and told the audience he could not think of a better organization to work for. He will step into the executive vice president role following Williams’ retirement in April 2022 following the conclusion of TCGA’s Annual Meeting & Cotton Trade Show.

Lawyer Discusses COVID-19 At TCGA Summer Meeting

Gary McLaren of the McLaren Law Firm in Lubbock, Texas, was one of the featured speakers at the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association summer membership meeting.

He has specialized in working with cotton gins for many years and is a highly respected source of legal expertise for the ginning industry.

TCGA regularly works with McLaren, especially on issues related to employment at the gin.

After the meeting, there were several requests for a summary of McLaren’s remarks, which he provided. Here they are:

• Encourage getting COVID-19 vaccinations on a voluntary basis. For those wishing to mandate COVID vaccinations as a condition of employment, exceptions must be made for those employees declining the vaccination due to religious beliefs or medical conditions.

•  Allow for paid time off to get the COVID-19 vaccination. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is allowing employers a tax credit on COVID-19 time off through Sept. 30. (The federal government may extend the deadline). Paid time off is allowed for those having a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccination.

•  Provide masks.

• Encourage social distancing when possible.

• Restrict repair access to the gin/office to employees and authorized individuals.

• Authorized non-employees entering gin should wear masks.

• Clean and disinfect the office, gin and trucks frequently — every shift, if possible. Some gins used a sprayer with Vital Oxide brand disinfectant last year with success.

When in doubt, consult the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”

LACA’s Hank Jones Named NCC Foundation Interim Trustee

hank jones
Robert “Hank” Jones

Long-time Louisiana Agricultural Consultant Association full member and current executive board secretary Robert “Hank” Jones of RHJ Ag Consulting in Winnsboro, Louisiana, has been named an interim trustee on the National Cotton Council Foundation board.

Jones also serves as chairman of the Beltwide Consultant’s Conference. In addition, he is a voting member of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants.

Serving alongside Jones as an interim trustee on the NCC Foundation board is Rogers Leonard of Integrated Crop Consulting LLC in St. Joseph, Louisiana. Leonard held an affiliate membership in LACA for many years while working within the Louisiana State University AgCenter system. He now serves LACA as a full member as an independent crop consultant.

These appointees are tasked with aiding the process of establishing permanent board seats for cotton agricultural consultants across the United States. Previously, independent agricultural crop consultants had no avenue for membership within the NCC.

LACA recently joined the council as an affiliate member with the hope that its membership might pave the road for involvement to bring benefits to cotton consultants and their producer clients.

Pima Cultivars Show Improved Resistance To Fusarium

Pima cotton is the predominant variety of cotton grown in California. It’s ideal for making premium fabrics for clothing and bed sheets. But Fusarium wilt disease, caused by a soilborne fungus, can devastate a cotton crop. It’s responsible for crop losses in several production regions in the United States and worldwide.

Researchers with the University of California, Davis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service and other groups have been working for nearly 18 years to identify sources of resistance to Fusarium race 4 by field testing plant materials with different genetic backgrounds.

They have now developed three Pima cotton cultivars that show improved resistance to the disease, which is a big step toward creating commercial varieties for cotton growers and producers.

Bob Hutmacher, a physiologist in plant sciences at UC Davis and a cooperative Extension cotton specialist, has worked on aspects of this research since 2003. He says various strains of Fusarium wilt disease have been a problem in California for decades.

The newest Fusarium race 4 strain was initially discovered in the San Joaquin Valley in the early 2000s. It has since been detected in cotton fields in other U.S. cotton production regions, including El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Hutmacher says this type of fungal disease can likely survive in soil for decades. It also can easily move from place to place if infected soil particles get stuck on tractor tires, boots or shovels. Planting resistant varieties can help prevent the spread.

This collaborative project also included work by researchers from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Center of Genomics and Bioinformatics at Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences. Together they will make genetic plant material, including seeds of the newly developed Pima cotton, available to cotton breeders, geneticists and researchers.

The hope is that breeders and seed companies can develop products that eventually make it onto farms and fields.

“That’s the next step you wish for with all these types of materials,” Hutmacher says. “You make them available, demonstrate that there is improved resistance to a disease. Then the companies can pick it up from there and turn it into a variety with good yields and good fiber quality characteristics, so it has a place in the market.”

GFB Funds Ag Research

Georgia Farm Bureau has awarded almost $137,000 in grants to nine researchers at the University of Georgia College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences. Their studies address production, economic or marketing issues Georgia farmers are experiencing.

Recipients of the 2021 GFB Agricultural Research Initiatives grants were recognized during the GFB Commodity Conference at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

“As federal and state funds for ag research decline, Georgia Farm Bureau feels it’s our job to step up and join other ag organizations in supporting research that benefits Georgia farmers,” says GFB President Tom McCall.

These are the recipients and their projects:

• Dr. Emran Ali — Preventing postharvest fruit rot of Georgia blueberries: determining the organisms responsible and options for pre-harvest management.

• Dr. Sudeep Bag — Epidemiology and impact of cotton leafroll dwarf disease on cotton in Georgia.

• Dr. Lisa Baxter — Controlling smutgrass in bahiagrass pasture systems using integrated weed management.

• Dr. Mark A. Czarnota — Developing phytophthora resistant hybrid firs by somatic embryogenesis.

• Dr. Cesar L. Escalante — Sourcing interim replacements for H-2A foreign farm workers in Georgia farms during the pandemic.

• Dr. Cristiane Pilon — Leveraging water management strategy in peanuts for greatest yield and seed quality.

• Dr. Alex Stelzieni — Validating the non-thermal destruction of E. coli 0157:H7, STEC and surrogate E. coli during the manufacture of dry cured, ready-to-eat beef products.

• Dr. Lawton Stewart — Grazing cotton residue to decrease hay feeding.

• Dr. Kari Turner — Animal Institute: a program for Georgia agricultural teachers.

This is the fourth year GFB has awarded grants to assist Georgia researchers working to find solutions to production, economic and marketing issues facing Georgia farmers.

Since 2018, GFB has awarded about $392,600 in research grants that have addressed beef, blueberry, cotton, forage, Christmas, fruit and pecan tree, peanut, poultry, soybean and vegetable production issues.

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