Cotton Growers Gather for Annual Meeting

Georgia Farm Monitor - Georgia Cotton Commission

2017 Georgia Cotton Commission Meets in Tifton

During the 2017 Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) Annual Meeting, state and national cotton industry officials discussed efforts to make the farm bill work better for cotton, both in the short term under the current farm bill and long-term under the next farm bill.

Georgia cotton growers also received the latest research findings during the meeting, held January 25th at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting introduction by Chairman Mike Lucas

Georgia Cotton Commission Chairman Mike Lucas welcomed growers to the annual cotton meeting.

Organizational Updates and Outreach

GCC Executive Director Richey Seaton reviewed the organization’s activities over the past year, noting that growers reaffirmed the commission in its 2016 referendum with an 87 percent approval. Seaton said the Georgia field print calculator, which measures the environmental impact of cotton production, revealed Georgia cotton growers performed better than the state and national averages for all farms in all measures except energy use.

The GCC’s outreach programs reached more than 14,000 students in 2016 through events at schools and at cotton gins, and the organization continued to support Georgia Public Broadcasting’s high school sports programming. The GCC has also updated its educational kit, Cotton, The Story, which will be sent to agriculture and science teachers upon request.

Farm Bill Legislation  and International Trade Updates

Reece Langley, vice president of Washington operations for the National Cotton Council, provided an overview of the changes in Congress since the November elections. Langley noted that in the Senate, there are no Democratic members from cotton-growing states, which he said could present challenges in the process of crafting a new farm bill. He said the NCC’s priorities for 2017 are securing economic assistance for cotton producers related to cottonseed, whether it’s through legislation or secretarial designation, as well as strengthening the cotton safety net in the next farm bill.

Cotton Council International Executive Director Bruce Atherly discussed international trade and exporting cotton. The U.S., he said, is a top cotton exporter, accounting for 30 percent of all cotton exports worldwide. Atherly noted that the industry needs to find ways to reduce contamination in cotton bales.

National Cotton Council Vice Chairman Ronnie Lee implored his fellow growers to continue working to eliminate foreign materials, particularly plastic, in cotton.

2016 Quality Cotton Award Winners

During the luncheon, UGA Extension Cotton Agronomist Don Shurley announced the 2016 Quality Cotton Awards. Jacob Sandeford of Burke County won the Best Cotton Award, with a loan value of 57.52 cents per pound and a quality premium of 5.52 cents per pound. Sandeford also won the Quality Cotton Award for producers growing less than 500 acres in Region 2. Other Winners are listed below.

Region 1: Less than 500 acres

Delmer and Scott Bullington of Turner County, Sconyers Gin and Warehouse with Extension agent Will Gay; 500 to1,000 acres, Steven Metcalf of Turner County, Sconyers Gin and Warehouse, with agent Will Gay; greater than 1,000 acres, SOS Farms of Turner County, Arabi Gin Company, with agent Will Gay.

Region 2: 500 to 1,000 acres

Trevor Cobb Farms of Washington County, Midville Warehouse, with Extension agent Brent Allen; greater than 1,000 acres, Smith Farms of Jefferson County, Farmers Gin and Warehouse, with Extension agent Pam Sapp.

Region 3: Less than 500 acres

William and Tracey Edmonson of Brooks County, BCT Gin-Quitman, with Extension agent Stephanie Hollifield; 500 to 1,000 acres – Ben Strickland of Lanier County, BCT Gin-Quitman, with Extension agent Jeremy Taylor; greater than 1,000 acres, Dewitt Farms of Brooks County, BCT Gin-Quitman, with agent Stephanie Hollifield.

Region 4: Less than 500 acres

Ken Hall Farms of Worth County, Omega Gin Company, with Extension agent Blake Crabtree; 500 to 1,000 acres, Garrett Bridges Farms of Seminole County, Clover Leaf Gin; greater than 1,000 acres, Sapp Brothers Farm of Mitchell County, BCT Gin-Berlin.

The 2018 Georgia Cotton Commission’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 18th at UGA’s Tifton Campus Conference Center. Click here to learn more information about upcoming events from the GCC.