Inconsistencies in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules point up "the absolute necessity of maintaining a partnership between the U.S. government and U.S. agriculture," says Robert McLendon, National Cotton Council president.

"Two things seem virtually certain after all the WTO talking is done," he said at the 2001 Beltwide Cotton Conferences at Anaheim, Calif. "While agricultural subsidies by other nations will be reduced, they won't be eliminated. And, many countries will continue to outspend the U.S. by substantial margins, even after negotiated reductions.

"These realities also underscore the importance of our maintaining a strong, unified voice through the National Cotton Council as a new farm policy is debated in the months ahead."

Maintaining domestic and international competitiveness is crucial for raw cotton as well as for cotton products, said McLendon, a Leary, Ga., grower.

"The year 2000 will be remembered as a benchmark year in trade developments. Trade rules, like price, affect our ability to be competitive."

The long-debated Caribbean Basin Parity legislation was finally enacted last year, he noted, and is expected to generate significant benefits for U.S. growers. Other significant trade developments included a decision by the U.S. to remain in the WTO; approval of China's accession to the WTO; and the granting of permanent normal trade relations to China.

"Only time will tell how these developments play out for U.S. cotton and textiles," he said, but Cotton Council International has already begun an active marketing campaign in the Caribbean. "We need the extra competitive edge our products will receive under this initiative."

World Ag Expo show Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Admission is $6 at the showgrounds.

Park and Ride:

Off-site parking is available with free shuttle service.

Off-site parking at the Horizon Outlet Center. From southbound Highway 99, use the Cartmill/Oaks exit and follow signs to the center.

From northbound Highway 99, use the Hillman/Prosperity exit and follow the signs. Free shuttle service is available.

Discounted admission tickets are available at park and ride sites.

Free shuttle service is available from the Tulare and Visalia airfields to the showgrounds.

Free parking is available at the show grounds, but traffic can be heavily congested, especially in the mornings. That is why show officials encourage visitors to use the park and ride option.

According to Farm Bureau sources, the largest single chicken egg ever laid weighed a pound with a double yolk and double shell

"Make hay while the sun shines." California farmers did. Of all field crops last year, hay was valued the highest at $802 million.

The University of California Cooperative Extension has launched a new Web site that gives California farmers access to certain UC agricultural meetings anytime on demand over the Internet. The Web site, found at http://www.efarm.org, features audio recordings of UC advisors and specialists synchronized with the photos, graphs and tables they use in their presentations.

Agriculture does more than put food on your table. In California, it contributed more than $80 billion to the economy.

There are 1.8 acres per person of arable land in agricultural production to feed the current U.S. population. By 2050, that figure is expected to decline to 0.6 acres. This will result in higher food prices, imported goods and less diversity in our diet. Farmers look to advances in science, biotechnology, animal nutrition, technology and water delivery systems to help them stay productive and competitive.

What did one ear of corn say to the other? "Quit stalking me!"

What do you call cattle with a sense of humor? Laughing stock.

Natural? Or organic? If you're talking about the method used to produce some foods-from growing to processing, they're not necessarily the same. "Natural" has no legal definition or regulations to guide production and processing and offers no guarantees that no pesticides were used. "Organic" includes a fully audited management system, guaranteed by a third-party inspection and certification.

American beef consumption has been on the increase since 1993 and now equals that of poultry, pork and seafood combined.

Nematodes - a threat to dozens of California crops - are nearly invisible. Ten times finer than an eyelash, these microscopic worms with voracious appetites invade the roots of plants, suck out their juices and leave them vulnerable to attack by deadly fungi and bacteria. That's the bad news. Here's the good news: Genetic researchers found a rare strain of sugar beet that resists a half-dozen nematodes and are working to insert its disease-resistant genes into peaches, tomatoes, beans, carrots and potatoes.

Proud hunters who bag their limit usually haul the meat home to feed the family. To get the maximum enjoyment from your wild game, Farm Bureau suggests that you follow food safety procedures when dressing, storing and cooking the meat. Why? Of the cases of human trichinosis reported to the Centers for Disease Control, many were the result of eating bear and other game meats.

The most recent statistics indicate that California exports of milk and cream to Mexico increased $46 million to a total of $65 million annually.