The 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will convene in San Antonio, TX, January 7-10, with a program squarely focused on key issues and trends that could impact cotton producers and consultants over the next few years.
The National Cotton Council coordinates the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences. The forum brings together those with a stake in a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including cotton industry members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, consultants and service providers to share timely information. The four day program is designed to update U.S. cotton producers on new technology, innovative and effective production practices, and key industry issues.
Bill Robertson, NCC manager of agronomy, soils and physiology, who coordinates the conferences with oversight by the conferences steering committee, says the 2013 meeting program is a reflection of current market realities, new information and innovation, and the geographical importance of cotton to the state of Texas.
The meeting opens on Monday, January 7, with the sixth annual Cotton Consultants Conference, which, according to Robertson, has grown to one of the largest sessions of the multi-day meeting. “The primary audience may be consultants,” he states, “but there’s really good information for everyone, from Extension specialists to the men and women who work the counters at ag retail operations.”
This year, three key topics will be discussed at the Consultants Conference – irrigation, led by Jim Bordovsky of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Lubbock; an insecticide update, led by Jeff Gore of USDA-ARS; and a discussion on the next generation of weed resistance management, led by Jason Bond, weed specialist with Mississippi State University.
The Production Conference General Session on Tuesday morning, January 8, will cover key issues of interest to the industry:
• A discussion on weather patterns and climate trends, led by John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, Texas A&M University;
• A review of the 2012 production season, led by Gaylon Morgan, Extension cotton specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service;
• The status of herbicide resistance in Texas, led by Paul Baumann, Extension weed specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service;
• A legislative and Washington, D.C. update, led by John Maguire, NCC senior vice president for Washington operations;
• 2013 cotton marketing update, scheduled to be led by Joe Nicosia, CEO of Allenberg Cotton Company;
• A preview of the 2014 Beltwide Technical Conferences, led by Kenneth Hood, chairman of the Beltwide Conferences Steering Committee.
Production Conference workshops begin on Tuesday afternoon, featuring multiple seminars designed to deliver a wealth of information to cotton producers and consultants. Those sessions include:
• A comparison of conventional and transgenic cotton production systems;
• Irrigation practices and other tools to improve efficiency;
• A discussion of new weed technologies, including 2,4-D and dicamba tolerant traits;
• A cotton options workshop that demonstrates the use of innovative marketing strategies, crop insurance and advanced farm and financial management techniques to develop a strong risk management program;
• A discussion of social media and its growing use and impact on production agriculture;
• Effective use of fertilizer stabilizers;
• “New Developments From Industry,” including new varieties, new products for pest and disease management, equipment updates, and emerging technologies, including software applications for producers and consultants.
The eleven Technical Conferences begin Wednesday afternoon. “The Technical Conferences are the real meat and potatoes of Beltwide and will be much more robust than in past years,” said Robertson. “We’ve asked our conference chairs to place the most applied papers early in their conferences to encourage producer and consultant participation and interaction.”
The 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will be headquartered at the Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels in San Antonio. On-site registration for the meeting will open at the Rivercenter Hotel on Monday morning. For attendees who pre-registered and prepaid for the conference, several computer kiosks will be available beginning Sunday, January 6, to complete registration and print nametags.
“And,” notes Robertson, “we’ve been assured that the San Antonio River along the Riverwalk area will have water this year! The city’s annual river cleaning will not coincide with our meeting, as it has in past years.”
Housing and registration instructions, a schedule of events and general information for the 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences can be found online at www.cotton.org/beltwide.