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National Cotton Council periodically disseminates information such as news releases and articles in its newsletter, Cotton's Week, regarding Cotton Foundation projects, including progress reports and announcements of new special projects.

March 4, 2019
Contact:  Cotton Nelson 901-274-9030 or Ron Smith 214-417-3169

High Cotton Winners Recognized

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Winners of the 2019 Farm Press-Cotton Foundation High Cotton Awards are: Frank B. Rogers, III, Bennettsville, S.C., Southeast winner; Steve Stevens, Tillar, Ark., Mid-South winner; Dahlen Hancock, New Home, Texas, Southwest winner; and Cannon Michael, Los Banos, Calif., Western winner.

These cotton producers and their families were honored here on March 1 at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis.

The High Cotton Awards were begun by Farm Press Publications and the National Cotton Council in 1994 to demonstrate that cotton growers and their families are concerned about the environment and are the true stewards of their land, water, and air.

The program, which now has recognized more than 100 of this nation’s cotton producers, is supported by a Farm Press grant to The Cotton Foundation. The 2019 program was co-sponsored by Americot, Stoneville/FiberMax, DynaGro, FMC, John Deere, PhytoGen and Syngenta.

The 2019 awards recipients farm in distinctly different regions, encounter widely varying climates, and grow cotton under a range of environmental challenges and regulations. Employing cover crops, irrigation efficiency, conservation tillage, and adoption of technology, they each have an overarching commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Over the past five years, cover crops have become a vital practice for Rogers who noted that he irrigates about 25 percent of his best land.

“Irrigation is a challenge for us because we are not blessed with great underground water,” Rogers said. “We can always overcome our challenges. As long as there is demand for cotton, there is a place for us in the Southeast to grow and market cotton. I am optimistic about the future.”

Stevens, who employs soil sampling and integrated pest management, uses cereal rye as a cover crop, a practice he discovered as a participant in the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts’ Discovery Farm program. A Discovery Farm measures water retention from rainfall or irrigation. It also measures the water that leaves the field, along with the nutrient load it carries with it.

“The cover crop plays a significant role in reducing runoff,” says Stevens, who also noted that, “good irrigation efficiency goes a long way to keep fertilizer in the field.”

“Producing economical, sustainable cotton puts the industry in a good position compared to competing, man-made fibers,” Stevens added. “We can go to retailers and show that U.S. cotton is environmentally sound and leaves a small footprint on the earth. That's becoming more and more important.”

Hancock says incorporating sustainable practices will ensure a “farming future for a sixth generation,” on his west Texas farm operation. He integrates minimum-till to no-till practices into his operation, which includes a corn rotation, to improve soil health. This past season, as soon as he completed corn harvest and shredded stalks, he sowed two rows of wheat between the corn rows to pin the trash.

“With the winds we get, or if we get a hard, washing rain, this helps hold the trash,” Hancock said. “When I put cotton in there the next year, I see the increase. That yield bump could be as much as 250 pounds per acre.”

Much of Michael’s San Joaquin Valley acreage is irrigated with subsurface drip, the rest furrow irrigated. He said he has improved his harvest efficiency with John Deere on-board module harvesters and with 30-inch row spacing that may increase yields. He uses aerial imagery to help determine defoliation timing.

Leaving unproductive land idle, Michael says, “Ultimately, those should be areas where the right plants are growing — native plants that help make sure that the environment is healthy too.”

May 3, 2019
Contact:  Cotton Nelson (901) 274-9030 or Marjory Walker

Emerging Leaders Program Participants Selected

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Thirteen U.S. cotton industry members have been chosen for the National Cotton Council’s 2019-2020 Emerging Leaders Program.

Representing the industry’s seven segments are: PRODUCERS – Philip Edwards, III, Smithfield, Va.; Jaclyn Ford, Alapaha, Ga.; Ben Good, Starkville, Miss.; Kellon Lee, St. Joseph, La.; Dean Rovey, Buckeye, Ariz.; and Jake Sheely, Lemoore, Calif.; GINNER – Burch Pierce, Jonesville, La.; MERCHANT – Bob Champion, Prattville, Ala.; WAREHOUSER – Scott Mitchell, Donalsonville, Ga.; MARKETING COOPERATIVE – Jeremy Speis, Corpus Christi, Texas; and Josh Warren, Garner, N.C.; COTTONSEED – Joe Gribble, Altus, Okla.; and MANUFACTURER – Ellis Fisher, Inman, South Carolina.

Supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Bayer, the Emerging Leaders Program provides participants with a better understanding of how the NCC carries out its mission of ensuring the U.S. cotton industry can compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad. Specifically, participants get an in-depth look at: 1) the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the issues affecting the industry’s economic well-being; 2) the U.S. political process; 3) the NCC’s programs as well as its policy development and implementation process 4) Cotton Council International’s activities aimed at developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products and 5) the role that Cotton Foundation members play in fostering a healthy U.S. cotton industry.

The Emerging Leaders Program, now in its seventh year, also provides participants with professional development and communications training such as presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.

The 2019-20 program members will participate in three sessions. The first session, set for the week of June 16, 2019, in Memphis and St. Louis, will provide an orientation to the NCC, professional development, communication skills training, and an agribusiness briefing. During the second session in February, class members will see policy development at the NCC’s 2020 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The last session will be in Washington, D.C., where the group will learn about the NCC’s policy implementation and international market development activities.

May 22, 2019

Contact:  T. Cotton Nelson (901) 274-9030 or Marjory Walker

2019 P.I.E. Program Tour Dates Set

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) has scheduled tour dates and locations for the 2019 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.

Now in its 31st year, the program has enabled more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to go to Cotton Belt regions different than their own where they learn about their peers’ innovative production practices.

Sponsored by Bayer’s grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. program has a goal of helping U.S. cotton producers maximize production efficiency and improve yields and fiber quality by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and 2) observing diverse farming practices and the unique ways in which other resourceful producers have adopted new and existing technology. A unique program benefit is that the participants get to interact with the producers they visit on the tours and with producers from their own region that they travel with during the week.

This season, two of the three P.I.E. tours will occur simultaneously. During the week of July 28-August 2, producers from the Southeast will see Mid-South farming operations in the Missouri Bootheel, West Tennessee and northeast Arkansas while Southwest producers will tour California’s San Joaquin Valley. The third tour, set for August 11-16, will enable Mid-South and Far West producers to travel to the Southeast and observe farming operations in North Carolina and Virginia.

The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the P.I.E. program, including participant selection.

October 11, 2019
Contact:  T. Cotton Nelson (901) 274-9030 or Marjory Walker

Midwest, Western Farmers to See Mid-South Cotton Operations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Farmers from Idaho and North Dakota will get a unique opportunity to observe cotton and other agriculture-related operations in the Mid-South on October 14-17, as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).

Launched in 2006, the MCEP is a Cotton Foundation education project supported by a grant from John Deere. It is coordinated by NCC’s Member Services and local leaders/organizations.

The MCEP is designed to provide its participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region, 2) observation of that region’s agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure; and 3) tours of the region’s research facilities and its agricultural processing operations and related businesses relevant to the area economy.

The 2019 tour’s producer participants include: Idaho – Jamie Kress, Rockland; Dan Lakey and Kyle Wangemann, both from Soda Springs; Pat Purdy, Boise; Steve Samowitz, Blackfoot; and Clark Tacke, Greencreek; North Dakota – Dennis Haugen, Hannaford; Ed Kessel, Dickinson; and Jeff Mertz, Hurdsfield.

The group will begin their activities on October 14 at NCC’s headquarters in Cordova, Tenn., where they will get an overview of the U.S. cotton industry and industry issues along with a briefing on The Cotton Foundation. They also will see cotton classing at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) office in Bartlett. Later that day in Memphis they will hear about agricultural research, education and agritourism during a visit to Agricenter International; learn about cotton trait introgression and tour a greenhouse at BASF’s operation; and visit the Memphis Cotton Museum.

The next two days will be spent in Arkansas. On October 15, the group will tour the Riverbend Warehouse in West Memphis to learn about cotton warehousing and shipping before traveling to Marianna for a look at Reed Farms’ operations; to learn about John Deere cotton harvesting technology; and to tour the W.G. Huxtable Pumping Station where they will get a briefing on stormwater pumping.

On October 16, the group’s activities include visits to the Planters Cotton Oil Mill in Pine Bluff to hear about cottonseed oil and cottonseed products and to McGehee for a look at cotton ginning at McGehee Producers Gin and a tour of farming operations in that area.

The tour concludes on October 17 in the Mississippi Delta with a trip to Stoneville where they will tour the Delta Research and Extension Center; see a catfish pond and get a briefing on U.S. farm-raised catfish; visit the USDA-AMS Cotton Ginning Laboratory; and hear a presentation on environmental stewardship and water sustainability in the Mississippi Delta from staff at Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management (F.A.R.M.).

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