Approximately 350 people attended the 2012 Georgia Cotton Commission annual meeting in Tifton, and they received updates from leaders of the GCC, the National Cotton Council, Southern Cotton Growers, the Cotton Board and Cotton Inc.
The one-day conference included recognition of the winners of the 2011 Georgia Quality Cotton Awards.
Mike Watson, vice-president for fiber competition with Cotton Incorporated discussed how the industry can remain competitive in global markets, pointing out that one of U.S. cotton's largest export destinations, China, is projected to have significant population growth, enhancing demand for cotton and cotton products.
(You can read more about China's influence on the U.S. cotton market at http://southeastfarmpress.com/cotton/weather-china-will-be-key-influences-cotton-s-future. For an early look at cotton acreage expectations for 2012, visit http://southeastfarmpress.com/cotton/industry-expectations-cotton-s-acreage-decline-may-be-overstated).
"Your customer is in an entirely different culture. They celebrate in different ways, different things are important to them," Watson said.
"If you're going to be competitive globally, learn as much as you can about your customer."
GCC Executive Director Richey Seaton gave an update on the commission's activities of the past year, noting that the GCC hosted a group of German cotton farmers on one visit and conducted tours for textile industry groups to continue promotional work on behalf of cotton growers.
Southern Cotton Growers President Mike Tate gave an update on SCG's activities, emphasizing the importance of cotton commodity groups' continued support of research funding programs.
Cotton Board President Bill Gillon discussed research and promotion of cotton, and National Cotton Council Senior Vice-President John Maguire reviewed the 2012 farm bill deliberations, noting that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction missed a chance to enact the next farm bill without it being subject to amendments.
Dennis and Jerry Rhodes from Wilcox County won the Best Cotton Award for producing cotton with the highest loan value and premium out of all of the awards given in the program. The Rhodes, nominated by Pitts Gin Company, also won Category 1 (less than 500 acres) in Region 1.
Other winners: Region 1, Category 2 (500-1,000 acres) Jeff Wilson (Turner County/Worth Gin); Category 3 (more than 1,000 acres), Gary Oliver & Ben Shivers of SOS Farms (Turner/Arabi Gin). Region 2: Category 1, Stephen Nikkel (Jefferson/Midville Warehouse); Category 3, Heath Wilson (Jefferson/Midville Warehouse).
Region 3: Category 1, Brandon Mitchell (Brooks/BCT Gin Company); Category 2, Charles Dodd (Brooks/BCT Gin Company); Category 3, Randy Dewitt of Dewitt Farms (Brooks/BCT Gin Company). Region 4: Category 1, Travis Braswell (Seminole/Clover Leaf Gin); Category 2, Joe Sapp (Mitchell/BCT Gin Company); Category 3, Raymond Thompson of 3RT Farms (Seminole/Clover Leaf Gin).