We are now just about a month away from heading to San Antonio for the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences, which will be conducted on Jan. 7-10 at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel. You’ll have to excuse me if I sound like a loudspeaker promoting this event, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Unless a person knows the history of this cotton meeting, you can’t appreciate how far it has come in the last 20 to 30 years. It is simply a one-of-a-kind event that fosters so much goodwill for the industry. It has something for everybody – information updates, timely presentations, networking opportunities and plenty of other things.
Given the challenges facing U.S. cotton right now, I can’t think of a better time to attend and gain plenty of information to make a farming operation more efficient. That’s what you’ll find at the Beltwide. The National Cotton Council and all of its allied industry partners manage to put together a program each year that is a melting pot of diverse data that has broad appeal for attendees.
And then there are the invaluable opportunities to meet old friends and colleagues in a setting conducive to cementing friendships and working relationships.
I attended my first Beltwide in January of 1992 in Nashville, Tenn., and it hardly seems possible that two decades have come and gone since that time. Because I worked on the NCC staff from 1985 until 1998, I can attest to what it takes to put together this meeting. It takes a year of planning and critiquing programs to make sure they deliver the kind of information farmers can use. That’s why the NCC is always gaining feedback from organizations such as the American Cotton Producers in an effort to know which issues are most important to farmers.
In 1992, we didn’t have cell phones or laptop computers, so we relied on fax machines and land-line phones to get the word out to the trade and mainstream media each day. We also had a lot of printed copies of presentations that were made available to attendees. It was a different world in those days, but in many ways the quest for good information was still the same.
Yes, a lot has happened in the past 21 years, and maybe 1992 does seem like the Dark Ages to younger folks. But, for someone who can remember being a part of the NCC staff that helped coordinate Beltwide activities more than two decades ago, I can say for sure that we’ve come a long way.
It’s still a unique opportunity to improve your knowledge about issues that are important to the U.S. cotton industry. Make your plans now to attend this event next month.
If you happen to walk by the Cotton Farming booth at the trade show, be sure and say hello to us!!