The 2004 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference will offer attendees valuable insight into today's cotton issues — from farm support mechanisms to trade negotiations — along with strategies central to profitable cotton farming.

The two-day session, which features general sessions and afternoon workshops and seminars, is part of the 2004 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Jan. 5-9 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio. Held under a theme of “Today's Challenges - Tomorrow's Solutions,” the conferences also will include The Cotton Foundation Technical Exhibit and the 12 cotton technical conferences covering research progress in disciplines ranging from economics to weed science.

The National Cotton Council is the conferences' primary coordinator. The forum's objective is speeding the transfer of current and emerging technology to U.S. cotton producers and other industry members — with an overall goal of strengthening U.S. cotton's competitive position in domestic and world markets and increasing industry members' profitability.

The 49th annual Beltwide Cotton Production Conference, set for Jan. 6-7, will include a first day focus on the major cotton issues. National Cotton Council Chairman Robert W. Greene will open the conference with a report on the NCC's 2004 agenda to address those issues.

John Maguire, NCC's vice president, Washington Operations, will provide an update on Capital Hill activities; J. Berrye Worsham III, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated, will cover research priorities for production agriculture and textiles; David Stanford, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, will talk about positioning U.S. raw cotton in the global market; and Robert Antoshak, GLOBECOT Associates, will discuss how growers need to position themselves to produce cotton that is suitable for current as well as future fiber processing technologies.

Report on Brazil

Other reports that morning include NCC Vice Chairman Woody Anderson's update on a 2003 NCC leadership visit to Brazil; a review of trade issues' impact on the U.S. cotton industry by NCC President/CEO Mark Lange; an in-depth look at farm program support mechanisms by NCC Vice President, Economics and Policy Analysis Gary Adams; and marketplace insights by Memphis merchant William B. Dunavant Jr.

The second morning will open with a report by NCC Technical Services Director Andy Jordan on the threat that lint contamination poses. Also included will be an interdisciplinary researcher panel discussing crop rotation's role in profitable cotton production; a consultant update on cotton varieties and transgenic cottons; insights on near-term and long-term weather from a USDA meteorologist; researcher updates on emerging variable rate pivot irrigation as well as drip irrigation; and a panel of four growers discussing innovative farming techniques.

“This program was designed to meet growers' needs by offering a variety of solutions to today's production challenges,” said Dale Thompson, NCC's manager, marketing and processing technology. “Water resources, for example, are a challenge whether you farm in the desert Southwest or the Rain Belt. Efficient water management remains a critical component for growers' profitability.”

Afternoon workshops

Thompson, who coordinates the Production Conference program, said afternoon workshops will range from crop management systems derived from COTMAN to an in-depth look at farm program support mechanisms. Other seminars will cover precision agriculture, nematode management strategies, advanced options/hedging, farm management/Quicken and an expanded New Developments From Industry session.

“We have had so many new products and technology developments in the past year that we are going to offer two sessions of the New Developments From Industry, one each afternoon,” Thompson said.

For further information on conference registration, contact the NCC's Debbie Richter, P.O. 820285, Memphis, TN 38182 (901) 274-9030 FX (901) 725-0510 or email drichter@cotton.org.