Jacobs and Hayes Presented 2018 King Cotton Awards

Local UGA Cooperative Extension Service agents are an incredible resource for cotton farmers across Georgia.  Agents are known for delivering timely and accurate information, which is instrumental for the success of Georgia’s farmers.  They also do community specific research, education, and outreach programs, designed at helping farmers maximizing yields and efficiency.

For the eighteenth year in a row, the Georgia Cotton Commission sponsored the King Cotton Awards to recognize outstanding contributions of county agents to Georgia cotton producers. The Senior Award is for agents with 10 or more years of experience, while the Junior Award, named the Allen B. Fulford Award, is for those with less than 10 years of service. The latter award honors the accomplishments and memory of Allen B. Fulford as a county Extension agent and state cotton agronomist.  The awards were presented at the 2018 Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting & Professional Improvement Conference held in Buford in November.  The Georgia Cotton Commission is proud to salute the excellent work that County Extension Agents do for farmers across the state.

The 2018 Senior King Cotton Award Winner is James Jacobs of Pierce County, where he serves as County Extension Coordinator as well as Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.  Jacobs previously served producers in Ware and Berrien Counties.  James works with the UGA Cotton On-Farm Variety Evaluation Program as well as doing individual trials on conventional and nematode-resistant varieties, all of which helps producers select the best varieties of cotton to plant for the current year, as well as in the future.  He also goes far beyond the call of duty, by helping mentor county agents across the state.

The 2018 Allen B. Fulford Award recipient is Bryan Hayes of Mitchell County, where he serves as ANR Agent.  Bryan started with UGA Cooperative Extension in 2014, and has made a major impact on his community since that time.  Hayes also participates in UGA On-Farm Cotton Variety Evaluation Program trials as well as helping coordinate other research studies with the University of Georgia as well as the University of Florida.  Bryan has become a leading county agent on cotton in his four years in Mitchell County, and is continuing to grow as a leader in the extension service.

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U.S. Cotton Industry Developing U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, Sustainability Benchmarking and Validation for Sustainability Goals

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – At the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., Cotton Council International President Ted Schneider updated the more than 400 attendees on how the U.S. cotton industry intends to meet its 2025 sustainability goals. Central to his remarks was the introduction of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol; an integrated data collection, measurement and verification procedure that will document U.S. cotton production practices and their environmental impact. The data is intended to benchmark farmers’ gains towards the industry goals and will provide the global textile supply chain additional assurances that U.S. cotton is produced in a responsible manner.

 

The U.S. cotton national sustainability goals, as announced last year, aim for the following by 2025:

  • 13% Increase in productivity, i.e. reduced land use per pound of fiber;
  • 18% Increase in irrigation efficiency;
  • 39% Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions;
  • 15% Reduction in energy expenditures;
  • 50% Reduction in soil loss; and
  • 30% Increase in soil carbon.

 

“I would argue that U.S. cotton is already among the most sustainably produced in the world,” Schneider said. As evidence, Schneider cited the comprehensive regulatory environment in the United States, the close connection of U.S. growers to their land, the high adoption rates of precision agricultural techniques by U.S. cotton growers, and a near-forty-year track record of environmental improvement.

 

“We know that U.S. cotton growers continue to embrace new technologies and management techniques that reduce impact and increase yield, but today’s textile industry needs more than just our word,” Schneider explained. “The Trust Protocol is meant to address that need with a tangible and transparent snapshot of U.S. cotton growing practices and the gains resulting from them.”

 

The details of the Protocol are being fine-tuned, and a pilot program will be launched in 2019 and fully implemented with the 2020 cotton crop year. Participating growers would be required to adopt a data tool that allows for the quantitative measurement of key sustainability metrics, such as the FieldPrint Platform from Field to Market. Growers also would complete a self-assessment checklist of best management practices; with a sampling of participating producers subjected to independent verification. The online interface and associated databases are currently being developed by a Memphis-based company The Seam.

NCC Supports U.S. Efforts to Enhance Transparency at WTO

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council welcomes the counternotification submitted by the United States regarding domestic support provided to India’s cotton producers.

The NCC also applauds the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and USDA for their efforts to seek transparency in the support provided to cotton producers in other countries, and no country devotes more area to cotton production than India.

The counternotification, recently submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the United States, covered the 2010-11 through 2016-17 marketing years, when India’s Minimum Price Support payments ranged from 53 percent to 81 percent of the cotton production value.

The NCC thanks the Administration for pushing counternotifications as a necessary step to bring needed transparency to India’s domestic support programs, which is especially important to understanding global cotton markets and the wide-ranging impact these programs have on global cotton and fiber markets.

NCC Welcomes Continued Access to Dicamba

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) welcomes the decision released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that allows cotton producers continued access to Dicamba herbicide.

“Cotton producers across the cotton belt appreciate the EPA’s two-year re-registration of this important crop protection tool,” said Shawn Holladay, producer from TX and chairman of the NCC’s American Cotton Producers. “However, we understand this label will include new and stricter application and use restrictions, and we need clarification on some details before a final determination of the complete implications for use of the product.”

Patrick Johnson, Chairman of the NCC’s Environmental Task Force and a producer from MS, said that the NCC would closely evaluate the final details of the label. “Cotton farmers need affordable, effective weed control and dicamba is an important part of the multifaceted solution,” he said.