Industry support continues to build for the third annual Central Coast Cotton Conference to be held Nov. 16-18 at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, Calif.

The conference is the only cotton management meeting that focuses specifically on California cotton production and provides continuing education credits for PCAs, consultants, growers and certified agronomists.

“We are extremely pleased with the support and recognition the conference has been receiving,” said conference director Lowell Zelinski. “I can't believe how many people have told us they've heard about the conference and that they'd like to get involved.”

In addition to the conference's two largest industry supporters — Bayer CropScience and the Western Farm Press — DuPont, Cotton Inc. and Oro PrevAm have joined the growing list of sponsors. Continuing their commitment to the conference and the California cotton industry is Monsanto, Gustafson, BASF, Precision Ag Consulting, MicroFlo, Calcot, Inc. and the California Cotton Growers Association.

Additional support is being provided by faculty from California State University, Fresno; Cal Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and West Hills Community College.

Zelinski started the conference in November 2003 with the assistance of his wife and business partner, Becky Zelinski. They wanted to build a forum to help cotton industry professionals strengthen their expertise. They both believed they had a great idea and a good plan, but had no idea how successful the conference would become.

Steps to grow

“We've been told by the people in the cotton community that we all need this conference, that they'd like to keep it going and they'd like to see it grow so we've been taking steps to do just that,” Becky Zelinski said.

Many people say one of the main reasons for the conference's success is the interactive teaching style Zelinski has applied to the conference. The sessions are presented in a guided-discussion format rather than lecture and Zelinski encourages everyone to get involved. The conference topics are also practical and hands-on, rather than centered on presenting current research.

There will be two major components to the conference this year: the technical sessions and a business management session. As in the past, the technical sessions will include cursory courses on cotton production, including, irrigation, variety selection, plant nutrition, disease management and defoliation. But beginning in 2005, the conference will also include an in-depth session on a pest management issue. This year it will be weed identification to be conducted a weed management specialist. There will also be a one hour course on laws and regulations, providing a much-needed continuing education credit for pest control advisors.

The 2005 special session is “Changing Tides: How to stay Afloat in California's Changing Cotton Industry.” A panel of growers and experts will help participants explore the future of California cotton production.

“The California cotton industry is drastically changing,” Zelinski said. “This year's special session was developed to help growers, consultants and PCAs figure out how to best deal with those changes, find ways to reduce costs and optimize production and otherwise, just how to stay in business.”

The 2005 conference will also feature an expanded exhibit area, golf tournament, live entertainment and a wine country tour. The Cliffs Resort is an ocean view resort facility and offers discounted hotel accommodations throughout the conference and the following weekend.

Exhibit space and sponsorships are still available. For complete details, please visit www.cottonconference.com or call Becky Zelinski at (805) 434-0113.