MEMPHIS – The National Cotton Council today announced a multi-pronged educational effort aimed at improving U.S. cotton producers’ sustainability, profitability and -- competitiveness.
These tools, all of which will improve the stream of useful information to producers, include:
- Cotton eXtension Community of Practice, a web-based cotton information/data delivery platform to be launched at the 2008 Beltwide Cotton Conferences.
- A new Beltwide Cotton Conferences’ Cotton Consultant Conference
- Restoration of the NCC’s Cotton Physiology Today newsletter.
Bill Robertson, who serves as the NCC’s manager, Agronomy, Soils and Physiology and coordinator of the Beltwide Cotton Production Conference programming, said, “Our nation’s cotton producers should benefit from all of these educational activities. While each one alone will uniquely ensure the delivery of valuable information, the synergy among these efforts should prove to be a force that can give our industry a noticeable advantage in the global marketplace.”
The Cotton eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering the best and most complete source of unbiased research based knowledge from land-grant universities across the Cotton Belt. eXtension is a new tool for Cooperative Extension educators, agents and specialists to use in engaging existing and new customers and clients.
Robertson said, for example, cotton specialists from multiple disciplines across the Cotton Belt have combined early-season Best Management Practices (BMP) from their area of specialization into a single document, “The “First 40 Days.” That publication, along with a soon to be available mid-and-late-season companion, “Fruiting to Finish,” provide an excellent foundation and guide for implementing and executing a successful cotton production system. The documentation of BMPs has helped focus the direction of this group of cotton experts in the development of research projects and educational materials and programs. The BMPs will serve as a foundation of these new tools. Those documents will be included on the eXtension web site – which will be demonstrated at the 2008 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Jan. 8-11 in Nashville.
Another educational effort to be launched at the upcoming Beltwide Cotton Conferences is a special session designed specifically for professional cotton consultants -- a group that plays a key role in the decision-making process. Robertson said efforts will be made to enhance the knowledge of the consultant community to various sources of information or tools and how best to interpret or evaluate that information to help the producer make the most informed decision possible.
The NCC also has re-introduced its Cotton Physiology Today, a newsletter that provides in-depth discussion of technical and production issues as the cotton growing season progresses. The newsletters contain proven strategies to help growers manage practices ranging from variety selection to harvest timing.
Robertson, Cotton Physiology Today editor, said two issues have been distributed in 2007 – “Planting and Replanting Decisions” and “Growth and Development – First 60 Days.” Upcoming issues will address topics from each of the general BMPs included in the “First 40 Days” and “Fruiting to Finish” documents in cooperation with state Cooperative Extension Service educational programs.
The Memphis-based NCC has a mission of ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.