Georgia Highlights Sustainability & Efficiency to Manufacturers

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Earlier this month, representatives of Wal-Mart, Hanes Brands, and Fruit of the Loom traveled to Georgia to see first-hand how efficient cotton production is here in Georgia.  The trip was organized by Dr. Ed Barnes, Senior Director of Agricultural & Environmental Research at Cotton Incorporated.  Participants stopped at the office of the Georgia Cotton Commission in Perry and visited two farms in Macon County to see the work done by UGA Extension Irrigation & Precision Ag Specialist Dr. Wes Porter on producer funded research through Cotton Incorporated.

Dr. Porter and Dr. Barnes shared data they have collected on water use on farms across Georgia.  The goal of this research is to demonstrate that cotton farmers are using less water to produce more cotton.  Macon County UGA Extension Coordinator Erin Forte described the diversity of agriculture in the county and each segment’s different needs.  One of the participants commented, “It is exciting to see how the story (of cotton) is beginning to be told.”  The participants are interested in this research because of consumers demand for more sustainably produced goods.

At CJ Farms outside of Marshallville, Jamie and Adam Hughes discussed the importance of irrigation, technology, and innovation on their 4,000 acre farm, which includes 1,600 acres of cotton as well as soybeans, peanuts, and corn.  At Rodgers Brothers Farm near Oglethorpe, the group got to see the study in action.  The study uses water sensors to track rainfall/irrigation and how much moisture the soil is retaining at different depths.  There are three sensors in each field.  This information is packaged to give growers the information in an easy to use web based application so they can make crucial decisions on irrigation.

The first class work that Georgia farmers along with UGA researchers and extension personnel are doing in both matters and is being noticed by industry and hopefully consumers.  It appears that sustainability and transparency are more than just a fad with consumers, and going forward, Georgia cotton will continue to lead the nation in both because of forward thinking by the state’s leadership.

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NCC: Trade Assistance is Appreciated

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council is thankful for the Trump Administration’s plan to assist U.S. farmers and ranchers facing trade disruptions from retaliation tariffs.

USDA announced today that up to $12 billion would be provided to farmers and ranchers under the plan that includes: a Market Facilitation Program, a Food Purchase & Distribution Program, and a Trade Promotion Program. USDA senior officials said payment calculations and other details of the plan would be provided in a few weeks.

NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, ginner, stated, “We support the Administration for taking this interim action to help at least partially offset impacts until better trade relationships can be restored and improved. The negative effects of the retaliatory tariffs are being felt at multiple points in the U.S. cotton and cottonseed industry from the farmgate on through the distribution and marketing channels. Our industry thanks Agriculture Secretary Perdue for exercising his authority to provide this much needed relief.”

The Memphis-based NCC’s mission is ensuring the ability of the U.S. cotton industry’s seven segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.

Field Days Provide Growers with Valuable Information

phillipOn July 18th, northeast Georgia cotton producers, University of Georgia (UGA) faculty & staff, and industry personnel gathered at UGA’s J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center in Watkinsville for a cotton field day.  At the field day, attendees got to see firsthand the research that UGA’s first class group of extension scientists are conducting with producer funds via the Georgia Cotton Commission and Cotton Incorporated.

Field days give producers the chance to interact directly with researchers and ask questions about issues on their farm in the areas of agronomics, entomology, plant nutrition, etc.  Speakers at the Watkinsville event included UGA Extension Cotton Agronomists Dr. Jared Whitaker and Mark Freeman, UGA Extension Entomologist Dr. Phillip Roberts, UGA Extension Irrigation & Precision Ag Specialist Dr. Wes Porter, and UGA Statewide Variety Testing program Dr. Daniel Mailhot.  Producers also got to explore through the variety trial that was on the facility and see how the difference varieties compared to each other in different soil conditions.

There will be other field days this year, on August 15th at the Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center in Midville and September 5th in Tifton and will have similar presentations plus more.  There are plans to have one in northwest Georgia/northeast Alabama in cooperation with Auburn University.  If you have questions about these events, please contact your county UGA Extension office.