Georgia Cotton Commission holds annual meeting, presents awards
By: Georgia Farm Bureau
2/8/2017 2:16:40 PM
During the 2017 Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting, state and national cotton industry officials told Georgia cotton growers about 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 Jan. 25 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
GCC Executive Director Richey Seaton reviewed the organization's activities over the past year, noting that the commission was reaffirmed through a referendum with an 87 percent approval. Seaton said the Georgia field print calculator, which measures the environmental impact of cotton production revealed that in all measures except energy use Georgia cotton growers performed better than the state and national averages for all farms.
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.
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 Atherley discussed international trade and exporting cotton. The U.S., he said, is the top cotton exporter, accounting for 30 percent of all cotton exports worldwide. Atherley noted that the industry needs to find ways to reduce contamination in cotton bales.
"We're working to create a compelling story about U.S. cotton sustainability," Atherley said. "What you guys do here in Georgia is terrific work, but nobody knows about it."
National Cotton Council Vice Chairman Ronnie Lee implored his fellow growers to continue working to eliminate foreign materials, particularly plastic, in cotton.
During the luncheon, UGA Extension Cotton Agronomist Don Shurley announded the 2016 Quality Cotton Awards. Jacob Sandeford of Burke County won the Best Cotton Award, with 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 les than 500 acres in Region 2.
Other winners were: 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.
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