Drop Your Jeans for Cotton Board

gin-show-14-monty-bainThe Cotton Board is asking you to drop your jeans for a good cause. Their Blue Jean Go Green campaign is a denim recycling program that gives old denim new life as housing insulation for communities in need.

Monty Bain is the Southeast Regional Communications Manager for the Cotton Board and spoke with Chuck at the recent Mid-South Farm & Gin Show.

“We’re taking old jeans and recycling them with a company called Bonded Logic out of Arizona turning them into housing insulation. They have already used them for Habitat for Humanity. They have collected over a million pairs and counting.”

A not-for-profit organization, Cotton Incorporated launched its denim recycling program in 2006 to give people the opportunity to give back to their community in a meaningful way while giving new life to old denim. Through a partnership with Bonded Logic Inc., recycled denim is converted into UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation,a portion of which is given to communities in need across the country (predominantly through Habitat for Humanity affiliates). Additionally, grants of insulation have been awarded for the development of community-based buildings.

People across the country can drop off their old jeans and register for a chance to win a $300 gift card to Cabela’s.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Monty here: Interview with Monty Bain

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Attendance Up at 2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

farm-gin-14-tim-priceAttendance was up at this year’s Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. Tim Price, Executive Director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Manager summed up the event with Chuck. He’s proud that farmers make plans to attend the show each year and make it a family affair.

“We don’t have the exact number yet, but we were ahead of last year. We think we will come in somewhere around 18,000 folks who have visited the show over the two-day time period. We always compete with the end of winter and the beginning of the planting season. Here in the south there are people fertilizing winter wheat now. They are anxious after this long winter to get out in the fields and begin tillage and a number of them have. But we find that they carve out time for this.”

Tim gives credit of the record attendance to good marketing and unprecedented years of profitability in American agriculture. He stated that even when the economy is down, people still come out to the show. They are seeking ideas to increase profits and ways to change in order to keep up with technology.

“This region of the country has the assets and the climate to really grow multiple crops. That’s an advantage. In my work representing the cotton ginning sector in the Mid-South, we love to see acreage, we love to see cotton production, we love to see cotton gins. But it’s not economically in the farmers best interest some years. What we have learned is that they are learning constantly how to adjust and adapt to what has really been a decade old process of going toward a market orientation and then an international orientation of our production.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Price

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Ginners Unite at Farm Show

farm-gin-14-robert-royalDuring the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, Chuck spoke with Robert Royal, a cotton farmer and operator of Midnight Gin in Midnight, MS. Robert is also the past President of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association.

“It’s been a wild ride in the cotton market with acreage. Grains have taken a huge chunk out of cotton acreage that was traditionally a big crop in Mississippi. We are weathering that storm and curious to see how things change in the future. We will be a predominately a grain growing state or will cotton be king again?”

As Robert wraps up his term as President, he shared that the overall mission of the association is to make sure the best interests of the organization are at the forefront. They also have a safety program that helps members tackle issues that are hard to do alone.

Regulations continue to be an issue for cotton growers, but Robert said the most concerning issue the industry is facing is low acreage. He has seen many neighboring gins fold because they don’t have the volume to make ends meet.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Robert here: Interview with Robert Royal

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Bayer Panel Buzzes About Bees

bayer-laurieOne of the most important topics discussed at the Ag Issues Forum was the buzz about bee health and what is being done to address declining bee colonies. One of the panelists was Laurie Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership. Laurie stressed that collaboration between all parties is needed to protect all pollinators, including bees. Listen to my interview with Laurie here: Interview with Laurie Adams, Pollinator Partnership

bayer-parkerAlso on the panel was Don Parker who deals with integrated pest management for the National Cotton Council. He discussed the importance of farmers working closely with beekeepers who use their land for hives. Parker believes that the varroa mite is the biggest threat to bee colonies right now and he stressed the need for science to lead the discussion when it comes to pollinator health, not politics or personal opinion. Interview with Don Parker, National Cotton Council

Dr. Troy Anderson, Virginia Tech entomologist, was also on the panel. All three panelists agreed that stressers on honey bee population trace back to a variety of sources that include parasites, bacterial diseases, poor nutrition, genetics and pesticides.

You can listen to the entire discussion here. Bayer Ag Issues Pollinator Update Panel

In an effort to further education and collaboration around pollinator health, Bayer CropScience is holding its second annual Bee Care Tour this year, traveling coast-to-coast to create awareness of the vital role of honey bees in sustainable agriculture by establishing a dialogue with growers, beekeepers, researchers and students to discuss the multiple factors affecting honey bee health. They will also be opening a new North American Bee Care Center next month at Bayer’s Research Triangle Park, N.C. headquarters.

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Preserving Our Nations Cotton History

farm-gin-14-anna-mullinsExecutive Director of The Cotton Museum, Anna Mullins, was present at the 3rd Annual Season Starter Party during the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show and sat down with Chuck to share what the museum offers to visitors.

Anna has a strong history in agriculture specifically centered in the south. She grew up around cotton and started her career in ag media working for Cotton International Magazine. There she met a number of cotton traders who were intimately involved in creating the museum and continuing to support it.

“Our museum endeavors to cover the entirety of cotton history. But we focus on the history of the U.S. cotton industry and more specifically on how Memphis was founded as a cotton port and how the cotton industry shaped this city. It covers everything from slavery and share-cropping to modern day cotton growing.”

The museum hosts a party every year during the Gin Show and they consider it a fun way to kick off the growing season. It also it a great opportunity for growers across the south and ag industry reps to take in the lush history cotton has on the U.S.

The Cotton Museum operates on memberships and corporate sponsorships. If you are interested in helping to support their efforts in preserving our nations history checkout their website at MemphisCottonMuseum.org

You can listen to my interview with Anna here: Interview with Anna Mullins

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Manager

Tim PriceMeet Tim Price. He’s the manager of the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show and Executive Director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. Tim is very passionate about agriculture and his community. You will hear that in our interview at the start of this year’s show. And for those of you who do not know what a cotton gin is, you will after you listen in.

Tim says that over the two days of the show there will be nearly 20,000 people attend and that it is a family affair. I vouch for that. This is a real down to earth farm show with a relaxed atmosphere and with 400 exhibitors there is a lot to see and learn. I’m going to get a wrap-up interview with Tim before leaving the show which I’ll share later. In the meantime, please listen in and I hope you enjoy our conversation.

You can listen to my interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Price

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

FMC Investing in Farming’s Future

FMC at Mid-South Farm & Gin ShowHere’s a big thank you to FMC for sponsoring my first time ever coverage of the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. For all my friends who said, “Gin Show?” I’ve got an interview coming up with the show manager that will answer all your questions.

While I was spending time with FMC today here in Memphis I met Tim Thompson who is row crop product manager for the southeast. I asked Tim to give me an overview of the products that FMC offers for corn, soybeans, peanuts, rice and cotton. Farmers of all these crops are represented here at the the show which has a strong cotton background. Tim says that at FMC, investing in farming’s future, is their mantra. One of their key areas of focus is resistance management. He provided me with several crop examples. Tim also talks about some new products FMC has in the field and even in the future.

You can listen to my interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Thompson

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

Farm and Gin ShowHello from Memphis, TN. While the rest of the ZimmComm Team continues our annual coverage of the Commodity Classic I’m attending my first ever Mid-South Farm & Gin Show.

We’ve got a big crowd at the Cook Convention Center. I’m collecting some interviews to share of course so expect more from Memphis over the coming days mixed in with lots from Commodity Classic.

Yes, I have photos:

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Going to Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

Mid-South Farm & Gin ShowLet’s look ahead to next week. Of course the big show is Commodity Classic right? Yes, the ZimmComm Team will be there.

But there’s also the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. I will also be there courtesy of our sponsor, FMC Agricultural Solutions. It will be my first time. Another new experience for the AgriBlogger and more of those are coming soon. More on them later.

What’s New Sessions at Commodity Classic

Commodity Classic LogoAgriculture’s newest, most innovative products and services will be showcased at the What’s New sessions at the 2014 Commodity Classic. The 19th Annual Commodity Classic is Feb. 27-March 1, along the banks of the famous River Walk in San Antonio, TX.

“If you’re coming to Commodity Classic hoping to learn and gain some new ideas to take back to your farm, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the What’s New sessions,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chairman Wyatt Whitford. “These sessions offer a sneak peek at the new technology and products out on the trade show floor and an opportunity to ask the experts questions.”

Topics of the sessions include: tractor and combine header technologies, soil fertility trends, new developments in seeds to help manage pests, technology tools for the farm and tools to optimize seed selection for each field.

These sessions are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1. Each session is 40 minutes long and allows attendees to learn about the topic in an in-depth manner.

Companies selected to present include Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, John Deere, Monsanto, The Mosaic Company, Syngenta, The Climate Corporation, Trimble and United Soybean Board. The products and services are chosen by the grower community to ensure they are truly something new to the industry.

More information on the What’s New sessions and other events at Commodity Classic can be found here.

Enter to Win Bayer’s 2013 Cotton Belt Challenge

Metallic_Cotton_Belt_LogoThe Cotton Belt Challenge is in its second year, and Bayer CropScience is encouraging FiberMax and Stoneville cotton growers to enter to win great prizes. Growers with the highest yields and highest overall loan values in 12 regions will be recognized for both irrigated and dryland cotton. In addition to regional awards, there will be two grand prize drawings for a custom 4WD Bad Boy Buggies Ambush vehicle.

“FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties have the germplasm and trait technologies to help growers produce profitable cotton yields and fiber quality,” said Jeff Brehmer, U.S. product manager for FiberMax and Stoneville cotton. “Cotton production varies across the United States, depending on weather, irrigation, soil type, pest pressure and other factors. We want to recognize successful cotton production in diverse regional scenarios, and the Bayer CropScience Cotton Belt Challenge gives growers a chance to be rewarded by region for producing high-yielding and high-quality cotton.”

Growers enter by filling out an official entry form and submitting their gin receipts. All regional irrigated and dryland winners in the yield and fiber quality categories will receive 10,000 Innovation Plus™ points – a $500 value.

To qualify, growers must submit their yield and quality results from a minimum of 50 acres and verify their production through gin receipts. Yield is based on ginned lint yield, and quality is based on USDA loan value. If any portion of a field is irrigated, then the entry must be in the irrigated category.

Cotton in the Committee Farm Bills

nccThe National Cotton Council (NCC) is pleased with the farm bills out of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees this week that make some pretty significant changes in the cotton program to hopefully provide final resolution of the longstanding Brazil WTO case.

“The focus has been to try and come up with farm policy for cotton in the new farm bill that will resolve the case,” said NCC vice president for Economics & Farm Policy Gary Adams. “We believe that STAX, which would be a new area-wide revenue insurance option for cotton, is a way to resolve the case.”

ncc-adamsGary says the provisions for Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) are “very similar” in both bills, while the House also includes transition payments to assist growers and their lenders until STAX can be fully implemented, “so that’s a difference that has to be worked out.”

Gary says they were some features of STAX that Brazil objected to that have now been removed, such as what was referred to as a reference price, “so we think that without having that reference price in there … we think this puts together a package that should satisfy the case.”

Bottom line, Gary says producers need a farm bill this year. “The one thing we hope is we can see Congress complete its action this summer so we can get a multi-year farm bill in place and give producers some certainty about what policy is going to be for the next few years,” he concluded.

Interview with NCC VP Gary Adams

New Format for Beltwide Cotton Conference

The National Cotton Council cotton-board.jpgcoordinated Beltwide Cotton Conferences has a new format that no longer includes the production conference component but continues the forum’s technical conferences and adds emphasis to the consultant’s conference.

The 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 6-8 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, will include a half-day Cotton Consultants Conference and the day and a half Cotton Technical Conferences. The 2014 Consultants Conference, set for Monday, January 6, will be more robust, providing technical information desired by consultants and others involved in key production/marketing-related decisions such as Extension specialists/agents, industry sales/support personnel and many producers.

Planned for the 2014 Consultants Conference are new developments from industry, including discussions of new varieties and chemistries. Also included will be special sessions where scientists, from the various disciplines ranging from agronomy to weed science, will interact with attendees to foster a lively exchange of ideas and experiences.

Deere Harvest ID Cotton at Beltwide

bwcc13-deereWe told you about John Deere’s Harvest Identification, Cotton when it was first introduced last year at Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

This year we got an update from Janae (formally Althouse) Tapper on this precision harvest technology and grower adoption of it.

“John Deere harvest identification is really important to the cotton growers so they can understand how many modules are being built with in a field. We are really looking at continuing to reduce labor requirements that are needed in cotton production especially around 7760. We understand that with the introduction of that machine we are building four modules for every one traditional module. So, it increases labor to go out and tag each of those individual modules.”

“In our technology division we saw a use to utilize the RF ID reading technology that we have in the round module wrap to enable them to reduce that manuel labor going out and tagging the modules. We are automatically reading those RF ID tags in the modules and sending that information to the display in the cab of the machine.”

Janae shared that cotton producers are continuing to be on board with the adoption of precision agriculture. And since the launch of time & money saving technology, John Deere’s growers are sending in very positive feedback.

Listen to an interview with Janae here: Janae Tapper interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album


Bayer CropScience Honors Cotton Growers for Yields

bwcc13-bayer-brehmerBayer CropScience and FiberMax® cotton are looking for more members to join the FiberMax One Ton Club™.

“More than 410 growers who’ve achieved 2,000 pounds of cotton to the acre on at least 20 acres, doing that with more than 27 varieties,” Jeff Brehmer, U.S. marketing manager for FiberMax, told attendees of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, highlighting the high yields of the varieties. And he says the fiber quality of the FiberMax cotton is recognized throughout the world. “We hear from gins out there who know they are ginning FiberMax cotton because it so much more efficient going through the gin. Those are the characteristics of that brand that we need to continue to deliver.”

Brehmer said that even in areas where water and growing conditions don’t make it possible for growers to achieve 2,000 pounds per acre, the FiberMax varieties still offer significant increases over what they had been growing. “The emotion also comes from where a farmer maybe 10 years ago was growing 350 pounds on their dryland but today is now growing 550 pounds. That success and emotion come with reaching levels that are attainable respective to your area.”

Growers can submit their qualification forms between now and March 1, 2013. Forms are available at local gins, through Bayer CropScience sales reps and online at www.FiberMax.com. Both first-time One Ton Club qualifiers and past members need to submit qualification forms for membership in the 2012 One Ton Club class. Members will be recognized at a banquet in April 2013 and have a chance to win a two-year lease on a Ford® Super Duty® F-350 King Ranch® truck. They also receive special FiberMax One Ton Club apparel and gifts.

Listen to Jeff talk about FiberMax and the One Ton Club here: Jeff Brehmer, FiberMax

FMC Display Shows Results in 2012

bwcc13-displayNew Display (TM) cotton harvest aid from FMC Corporation showed good results in limited use last season and the company is now looking forward to expanded use this season. Rusty Mitchell gave us some of the technical details about Display already, Randy Childress then talked to us about the results he saw last year in the field.

Randy covers west Texas and into New Mexico for FMC and was able to see Display at work as a harvest aid for cotton in his area. “Did a very good job, pleasantly surprised with the effects we got with this in a tank mix,” Randy said. “Display gave us a very versatile product that we used in a lot of different conditions.”

Randy says Display offers the same advantage of Aim herbicide in that it can be used without harm to cover crops like wheat. “Display fit like a glove,” he said. “You can put it out, take the leaves off the cotton without harming any adjacent crop or the cover crop.”

Display was just released last August so this will be the product’s first full year of commercial availability for cotton growers throughout the cotton belt.

Listen to my interview with Randy here: Randy Childress interview

Check out photos from the conferences here: 2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album


Cotton Trade Dispute Update

bwcc13-ncc-adamsExtension of the 2008 farm bill raises questions about resolution of the cotton trade dispute with Brazil, according to Dr. Gary Adams, Vice president of economics and policy analysis for the National Cotton Council.

“I think we have to figure out how Brazil reacts to a one year extension (of the farm bill),” Gary said in an interview at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, noting that the framework agreed to with Brazil in 2010 allowed the United States time to adopt new WTO-compliant cotton policy in a new farm bill. “Is Brazil going to accept a short term extension and see how things play out? We just don’t know the answer to that question.”

Gary says the U-S cotton industry has been facing a slightly different challenge from another country as well recently. “We’ve been dealing with a trade dispute with Peru for the last 6-8 months,” he said. “Countries can initiate their own countervailing duty investigation if they’re concerned that imports into their country are causing harm to their domestic industry. That is what Peru initiated last summer.”

That investigation is proceeding and Adams expects they will know more by the end of March.

Listen to my interview with Gary here: Gary Adams interview

Thanks to Randall Weiseman of Southeast AgNet for providing the photo!

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album


Stoneville Offers Two New Cotton Varieties

bayer-logoWith weed resistance exploding across America’s farmland, Bayer CropScience has introduced two new Stoneville cotton varieties for 2013 that give cotton growers more tools to fight weed resistance and rotate herbicide chemistries on their farms.

bwcc13-bayer-nicholsSteve Nichols, U.S. Agronomic Services Manager for Bayer CropScience, gave the media an overview of the new varieties during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences last week.

Nichols explained that the ST 4946GLB2 is an early-medium maturing GlyTol LibertyLink Bollgard II variety with exceptional yield potential. “It’s widely adapted across the entire cotton-growing region. That speaks a lot about the stability and the consistency of the performance of it,” adding that it has offers root-knot nematode tolerance. “We’re looking for more varieties with different maturities to give that root-knot nematode tolerance, and this is going to deliver that.” Plus, he said it will have tolerance to the Liberty herbicides.

The other variety, ST 6448GLB2, gives a full-season capability. “It’s the first variety that we’ve really had that meets that full-season market for the South Region. So this variety fits very well in the South Delta, the Georgia market and even into South Carolina,” Nichols said. It also has a dual-herbicide technology that gives growers, especially in Georgia, a tool against resistant weeds.

Nichols added that the development of the Bayer CropScience Agronomic Services, providing hundreds of field trials, helps his company make these kind of developments in cotton varieties to match the right varieties for the right fields.

Listen to Steve tell us about the new Stoneville varieties as well as the role of Bayer CropScience Agronomic Services: Steve Nichols, Bayer CropScience

Keeping the Media in High Cotton

bwcc13-ncc-staffMarjory Lynch Walker and T. Cotton Nelson have staffed the news room at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences for many, many of the event’s 58 year history and while they are not sure what the changes in store will mean for media attendance, they are looking forward to moving ahead.

“Media attendance has always been healthy here. We’ve had as many as 50-60 members here,” Cotton told me, adding that attendance has continued to be strong over the years, even as less growers have been attending. That’s why Cotton says they appreciate Monsanto’s sponsorship of the news room. “Their support has allowed us to have the equipment in here, a big room, food for the media – just to make it a really good working environment for the media.”

Cotton notes that there will still be lots of information to get out to producers with the revamped schedule for Beltwide next year. “We realize the transfer of technology by the news media of the information that’s presented here is great for cotton growers,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Cotton here: Cotton Nelson interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album