National Cotton Council chairman Eddie Smith sounded an optimistic tone to those attending the Belt-wide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta when he described the industry’s prospects as “excellent going into the 2011 season.”
Smith, a producer from Floydada, Texas, called better prices and increased global demand for cotton as two of the more positive signs for the industry’s future.
He noted that China and India, two of the fastest growing economies in the world, need more cotton now.
The Texas producer also made note of how the U.S. cotton industry continues to cultivate important relationships with China. For example, several high level meetings between U.S. and Chinese officials occurred in 2010. One of the most important was a cotton leadership exchange trip to China led by NCC vice chairman Charles Parker.
The NCC chairman also said it was vital that the industry continue to move forward with its Vision 21 project, which is providing a plan for addressing future cotton issues.
New Priorities For Congress
NCC Vice President John Maguire gave an update on how the new Congress will address key issues such as budget deficits and the 2012 Farm Bill.
One of the major challenges, according to Maguire, will be dealing with the fact that nearly two-thirds of the Republican members of the House Ag Committee are freshmen. He also noted that 16 Democrats who were members of the committee were defeated for re-election. The new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee will be Rep. Frank Lucas (D-Okla.).
Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Committee will be chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and the ranking member will be Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
Maguire pointed to other issues confronting the new Congress, such as the budget and potential cutbacks in key agriculture programs, including several research projects.
He said the major challenge facing the cotton industry is maintaining effective commodity programs in the face of reduced budget allocations.
Bright Price Outlook
Jordan Lea, current president of the American Cotton Shippers Association, believes attractive cotton prices should continue for the next two years – mainly because of increased demand that likely will continue into 2013.
Despite the fact that 96 percent of the 2010 crop is sold, Lea advised producers to monitor futures prices for 2012 where they have already hit 90 cents once.
Lea also believes that global demand for cotton will remain high through 2013 because of dwindling stocks in countries such as China. He predicts that it would take some unusual economic events to pressure cotton prices downward.
Dr. Saha Wins Genetics Award
Dr. Sukumar Saha, a USDA Agricultural Research Service research geneticist, is the recipient of the 2010 Cotton Genetics Research Award.
The announcement was made during the Beltwide Cotton Improvement Conference. In recognition, he received a plaque and a monetary award.
Dr. Saha, who has worked in the Genetics and Precision Agricultural Research Unit at Mississippi State University since 1997, has 35 years of professional research experience. His research productivity is well documented in about 130 publications, including 76 peer-reviewed journal articles in refereed journals and one germplasm release notice.
U.S. commercial cotton breeders have presented the Cotton Genetics Research Award for more than 40 years to a scientist for outstanding basic research in cotton genetics. The Joint Cotton Breeding Committee, comprised of representatives from state experiment stations, USDA, private breeders and the National Cotton Council, establishes award criteria.
Main Wins Specialist Award
Chris Main, Tennessee Extension cotton specialist, was honored as the Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.
He received the award at the Extension Cotton Specialists’ annual dinner. Sponsored by Bayer Crop-Science, the annual award and banquet has been a featured event at the Beltwide since 1984. Extension cotton specialists representing every cotton-producing state in the Belt select a recipient based on leadership and industry service.
Main oversees all of the University of Tennessee Official Variety Trial (OVT) sites. Beyond OVT trial management, he is highly involved in a broad range of activities, including cotton agronomic research.
Bayer Announces New Varieties
Bayer CropScience has announced five new FiberMax varieties and one new Stoneville variety for 2011.
These varieties include new GlyTol glyphosate technology, LibertyLink technology and a two-gene herbicide stack that includes both GlyTol and LibertyLink.
The four new FiberMax varieties adapted for the Southwest will offer GlyTol technology in 2011.
The new offerings are:
FM 9101GT and FM 9103GT – These varieties were planted by Southwest seed production producers for the past two years and have excellent yield and quality potential. Both varieties will be available in good supply for 2011.
FM 2011GT – This is a new variety with GlyTol technology that has an early maturity with strong yield potential. It will be available in limited quantities in 2011.
FM 9250GL – This variety is double stacked with both GlyTol and LibertyLink technologies. It is an early maturing variety adapted to the Southwest with agronomic characteristics similar to FM 9058F.
FM 2484B2F – This is a new Roundup Ready Flex/Bollgard II variety that has performed well across the Southwest region. It is well suited for dryland conditions and irrigated production. It also shows a good tolerance to Verticillium wilt.
ST 4145LLB2 – This is the first Stoneville variety with LibertyLink technology. Adapted for the Mid-South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, it combines the early seedling vigor of Stoneville cotton with the LibertyLink trait.
PhytoGen, Syngenta Team Up
Avicta Complete Cotton and PhytoGen cottonseed have created the “Fiber of Giving” cotton drive to help critically ill children and their families through the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation.
The “Fiber of Giving” campaign, which kicked off at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences last month, encourages cotton producers, retailers and interested participants to donate cotton goods such as sheets, towels, pillowcases and blankets.
Avicta Complete Cotton and Phyto-Gen cottonseed, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences, will match donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000 total. Contributions also will be accepted at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show on Feb. 25-26.
Bayer Donates To Food Bank
To honor the farmers and agriculture industry professionals who work to produce more food at a higher quality as part of a Bayer CropScience initiative called “Farm to Feed the World,” Bayer CropScience has donated $3,750 to two Georgia food banks.
The donations continue this new program that works to decrease hunger in the face of a growing worldwide population.
During last month’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta, Bayer Crop-Science asked cotton farmers and industry professionals to join the effort by pledging to increase yields and improve crop quality while minimizing their environmental impact.
From farmers around the country, approximately 750 commitment signatures were collected for the effort. For every signature, Bayer CropScience donated $5 to local Feeding America food banks.
The total donation was split between two Georgia food banks: Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta, Ga.
The National Cotton Council, Bayer CropScience, PhytoGen Seed and Syngenta each contributed information for this article.