Thursday, April 18, 2024

Industry News: September 2023

Southern Cotton Growers Inc. Announces New CEO

Jim Davis

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the hiring of Jim Davis of New Market, Alabama, as the next CEO of Southern Cotton Growers Inc.,” said Joe Martin, president, Southern Cotton Growers. “Raised on a fifth-generation family farm that includes cotton as their primary crop, Jim will be only the fourth CEO of the organization founded in 1964.”

Current CEO, Dave Ruppenicker, will retire Dec. 31. Davis will officially come on board Oct. 1. Southern Cotton Growers Inc. represents every cotton producer in the six states that comprise the Southeast region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.  

“Jim comes to the organization with a wealth of knowledge and experience having been employed by National Cotton Council for more than 30 years,” Martin said.

“I feel confident that through Jim’s leadership, the organization will continue to prosper and uphold the motto of maintaining prosperity for the Southeast cotton producer. He will no doubt leave his mark in the storied legacy of this six-decade-old organization.”    

Mississippi Entomologist Puts Bollworm Control Center Stage

Dr. Tyler Towles

Dr. Tyler Towles has joined Delta Research and Extension Center as an entomologist focusing on bollworm control strategies in Mississippi cotton.

“New technologies for bollworm control don’t come to market very often so protecting what we currently have at hand is extremely important,” Towles said. “I think there is great value in developing a research program that conducts proactive experiments that will prolong insecticidal resistance development in bollworms.”

A Leland native, Towles’ interest in agriculture was piqued as a teen when he began working in the summer for Dow AgroScience.

Working alongside MSU faculty Drs. Angus Catchot, Jeff Gore and Don Cook, Towles earned his Ph.D. while studying various refuging strategies and quantifying bollworm production from various Bt field corn hybrids. He then worked at the Louisiana State University AgCenter as a research entomologist.

“The major reason I felt compelled to return to Mississippi was heavily influenced by Mississippi State University and the state’s stakeholders. I was offered the opportunity to study one of my favorite subjects at a highly prestigious land-grant institution. Since this venture was largely funded by the state’s agricultural industry, I saw myself as an investment in the agricultural future of Mississippi,” Towles said.

“From an entomological standpoint, the Delta is the epicenter for many insect issues that Mississippi stakeholders are faced with in the field. Being domiciled in the Mississippi Delta will allow me to connect directly to my stakeholders on a personal level,” he continued. “Additionally, working in the Delta allows me the opportunity to experience the insect-related problems firsthand, so I can address these issues more effectively.”

New Technologies Bring Multiple Traits To Market

BASF has received key import approvals for its newest cotton innovations, Axant Flex Herbicide Tolerance Technology and Axant Flex TwinLink Plus Insect Control Technologies. This was the final step needed to support planting of Axant Flex Cotton in the United States, both with and without TwinLink Plus.

The company said, “The Axant Flex stacked trait has been bred into the best-in-class germplasm that growers have come to trust in FiberMax and Stoneville cotton. Axant Flex technologies provide a complete solution for cotton growers who want high-yield potential, outstanding fiber quality and top-tier insect and weed control.”

With Axant Flex technologies, BASF continues to provide BASF customers with more weed control options including tolerance to glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba, as well as HPPD — pending regulatory approval. The HPPD mode of action — isoxaflutole — has not yet been approved for use on Axant Flex TwinLink Plus cotton by the U.S. EPA.

XtendLink technology now enables FiberMax and Stoneville cotton farmers to spray over-the-top applications of Engenia. This dicamba-tolerant trait package provides an additional weed control option for the first time for FiberMax cotton growers.

Axant Flex varieties also are stacked with multiple native traits to protect against some of cotton’s toughest pests, including root-knot nematode, reniform nematode and bacterial leaf blight

Cotton Board Approves 2024 Budget And Elects Officers

Mark Nichols

At The Cotton Board’s 2023 Annual Meeting, board members serving the Cotton Research and Promotion Program reviewed, analyzed and voted to recommend Cotton Incorporated’s 2024 budget of $89 million to the Secretary of Agriculture.

The Cotton Board elected a new slate of officers to serve one-year terms, including Mark Nichols, a cotton producer from Altus, Oklahoma, to serve as chairman of the board. Nichols is the president of Jess Mark Nichols Farms, Inc. and president of Hess Farms, Inc., a fourth-generation farm he has managed since 1980. He farms with his brother-in-law, son and son-in-law, growing irrigated cotton, wheat and milo.

Other Cotton Board officers include Akiko Inui, importer from New York City, New York, vice chairman; Matt Farmer, producer from Lamesa, Texas, secretary and Rusty Darby, producer from Chester, South Carolina, treasurer.

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