The annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences consistently offer a plethora of information aimed at helping U.S. cotton farmers increase their efficiency and profitability – and the 2010 forum in New Orleans on Jan. 4-7 promises no less.
How is the agenda shaping up?
For starters, the Cotton Production Conference general session will feature innovative cotton farmers and leading research and Extension scientists discussing such timely topics as the value of transgenics, emerging insect issues, current and future precision agriculture opportunities, and today’s cropping decisions, including a look at rotation options and benefits. In addition, attendees will hear from an “innovative grower panel” about proven production practices they have adopted.
Other insightful presentations will include a review of the 2009 growing season, opportunities in conservation programs, a discussion of marketing challenges, an economic outlook and updates on industry issues from the National Cotton Council and on key research efforts from The Cotton Foundation and Cotton Incorporated.
What workshops will be available?
The Production Conference’s workshops will feature: 1) a collaborative report on several years’ research from across the Cotton Belt concerning site-specific management of nematodes; 2) hands-on sampling for precision agriculture uses; 3) sensor-based nitrogen application; 4) cotton irrigation; 5) roundtable discussions on variety selection, insects, weed resistance and conservation programs; 6) an introduction to options and 7) an economic outlook. Other sessions include a cotton specialists’ workshop and the annual New Developments From Industry reports on varieties, chemistry, equipment and technology.
Also, the Cotton Consultants’ Conference’s educational presentations by Extension and University experts will feature: 1) spring burndown herbicides and their impact on diseases, insects and weeds; 2) updates on cotton diseases and insect pests, including new products available to combat them; 3) a panel discussion on the value of transgenics and the impact on consultants and 4) keynote speaker J.R. Bradley’s humorous and informative look back on his experiences and discussion of the consultant’s role in helping farmers deal with the challenges and issues production agriculture faces now and in the future.
Can housing reservations be made now?
Yes. Housing reservations can be made online and by phone for the headquarters hotels – the New Orleans Marriott and the Sheraton New Orleans. Go to the Beltwide home page, www.cotton.org/beltwide, and click on the housing link. Attendees also can complete “early” discounted registration for the 2010 meetings by clicking on the registration link at www.cotton.org/beltwide. Among the many other areas on this site are: 1) the “2010 Program Overview,” including a tentative meeting schedule that can be printed to help attendees with travel plans; 2) the 2010 Beltwide Details that includes information on top attractions in New Orleans and 3) the Spouse Programs area with details on how to make plans for three spouse tours, “Riches on the River,” “Cooking the Creole Way” and “Grand Manor and Garden District.”
Jay Hardwick is a Newellton, La., cotton producer currently serving as chairman of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.