How important are effective research programs for the cotton industry’s future health?
Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association
Naturally, we look to Cotton Incorporated for the major research in the industry, and we also have private industry that develops specific products. We will always need variety development and new chemistries to help our farmers. Technology traditionally has been an advantage for U.S. cotton, but sometimes we see private industry delivering this technology just as quickly to other countries. That is obviously a concern.
I feel good about what our industry is delivering to the farmer, and I can only base that on what I’m seeing. Our average yields are increasing every year, and that’s because of research and development. Since input costs have gone up so much, we simply have to find ways to increase our yields, and that’s what our researchers are doing for us. They’re giving us the tools to farm better.
I absolutely feel encouraged about how research and development will continue to affect the cotton industry. I am very excited about what’s coming down the pike in the genetics and biotech arena. But we’re also continuing to work on traditional chemical solutions to problems. We have plenty of problems out there, but I remain just as optimistic about chemical companies being able to deliver what the farmer needs to fight those problems. I see an even greater commitment on the part of these companies – especially from my vantage point here at Dow AgroSciences. The future is very exciting.
I have just as much confidence as I’ve ever had with how research will help the cotton industry. The new developments might not get here as quickly as we’d like, but they’re in the pipeline and on the way. Dicamba tolerance for cotton is something that we’d like to have now, but nothing ever happens as quickly as we’d like. Sometimes we’re like the younger generation. We want an instant solution to every problem. It simply takes time.
I think it’s imperative that we have the necessary tools to grow and sell our cotton. That’s not to say we won’t have to adjust these tools to fit a particular environment. We simply can’t give up on our research efforts. Some companies might be cutting back in their commitment to research, but many see this as an opportunity to increase research spending. I know that things are tough right now in our economy, but that’s when we need that research the most. We always need help in improving all sectors of the industry.