“Build it and they will come.” That's how Lowell Zelinski is describing the success of the Central Coast Cotton Conference — the only cotton production conference that focuses specifically on California production issues.

Now embarking upon its third year, Zelinski, conference sponsors and organizers are gearing up for this year's gathering Nov. 16-18 at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, Calif.

Western Farm Press is a conference sponsor and official publication.

“It seems like everyone I know (in the cotton industry) is talking about the conference,” Zelinski said. “Some people even joke with me, calling it the ‘Beltwide-West.’”

Zelinski said that the 2005 conference will be bigger and better than ever.

“We have more involvement from all aspects of the industry,” he said. “We have more sponsors, more speakers, more participants and more exhibitors. We'll also be covering more topics and some of the same topics but more in-depth.”

Trade show grows

One part of the conference that has grown in 2005 is the trade show. All of the exhibit spaces are full and conference organizer, Becky Zelinski, said they've had to turn some exhibitors away.

“The trade show is a new element of the conference we're trying to expand,” Becky Zelinski said. “I think trade shows are a value-added resource for both participants and the exhibitors. It gives participants a chance to see what new products and services companies have to offer, and it's a great way for companies to interact with current customers and meet new ones.”

Zelinski explained that this year's trade show size is limited because the conference utilizes all of the meeting space at the current location. This may be one of the reasons conference organizers relocate the 2006 meeting.

Exhibitors include AmVac, AutoFarm; Bayer CropScience; DuPont; Greenleaf Technologies; John Deere; John Deere Agri Services, Prev-Am Oro Agri, Inc.; InTime, Inc.; Precision Ag, Inc.; SST Development, West Hills Community College; Western Farm Press; and agricultural artist, Dorrie Thurber.

The meetings feature an interactive format. They provide a unique opportunity for pest control advisers, growers and consultants to review current and ongoing cotton production issues and earn valuable continuing education credits, review the past year and start gearing up for next year.

The continuing education topics for 2005 include cotton agronomy, pest management and laws and regulations. Zelinski will conduct an overview of cotton production and agronomy as well as in-depth look at irrigation management.

Weed management

This year's pest management subject will be weed management taught by Tulare County UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Steve Wright. Brian Settlemire, vice president of Bakersfield-based Guardian Safety Services will cover respiratory protection in the laws and regulations segment.

The 2005 special session is “Changing Attitudes: how to stay in business in the changing California cotton industry.” In keeping with the popular, interactive format of the conference, the special session will include brief presentations by each speaker, followed by a guided panel discussion.

Special session speakers include J. Berrye Worsham, president of Cotton Incorporated; Bruce Allbright, president of Allbright Cotton; Marc Lewkowitz, vice president of the Supima Association; Wayne Howard, an agricultural business professor from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; and Richard Plant, professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis. There is also a three-member California grower panel that includes Ted Sheeley, Daniel Burns and Mike Young.

The conference also features a golf tournament hosted by Monsanto and a welcome reception hosted by DuPont. The cotton harvest ball is sponsored by Golden Bale sponsor Bayer CropScience. It will feature a luau and Polynesian entertainment. Earl Williams, president and chief executive officer of the California Cotton Growers & Ginners Association will be the guest speaker.

To register for the conference or for more information, visit www.cottonconference.com or contact Becky Zelinski at (805) 434-0113.