Through Feb. 21

Georgia Cotton Commission vote set A producer vote to reaffirm continuation of the Georgia Cotton Commission began on Jan. 23 and will continue through Feb. 21, according to commission officials. The commission invests growers' funds in the areas of research, promotion and education, as shown by the following examples.

Research - The commission contracted with the Redding Firm, a Washington, D.C.-based firm with expertise in the appropriations process.

- The commission has secured $250,000 for a USDA nematode specialist in Tifton. A search for someone to fill this position is currently under way. In addition, $350,000 for water management studies has been appropriated.

- The commission provided funding to The University of Georgia for a cotton agronomist position for southeast Georgia, based in Statesboro. The Commission provided these funds until this position can become a part of the university's regular budget.

- In response to quality concerns and ever-increasing demands from the textile industry for higher quality fiber, production and ginning practices are constantly evaluated. Though weather cannot be controlled, modifying and improving production and ginning practices is one way to increase quality.

- The commission has worked with the University of Georgia and supported them in assembling a team for the cotton-breeding program. Members of this group are recognized as leaders in the development and introduction of new germplasm and varieties that address many quality issues. In addition to this quality enhancement program, there is a vital need for a research micro-gin facility for use in screening cotton varieties and evaluating various cultural practices under actual ginning conditions.

The commission identifies top priority research needs with feedback from research and Extension personnel, crop consultants, the commission's science advisor, and, most importantly, through interaction with growers. The science advisor constantly monitors research to insure that goals and objectives are being met and to enable him to make accurate recommendations to the commission regarding research.

Promotion and education The Georgia Cotton Commission regularly organizes tours to the Cotton Incorporated Research Facility in Raleigh, N.C. This is an educational opportunity for producers to learn about the producer-funded Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated research program.Legislative staffers and representatives are taken on educational cotton tours to raise their consciousness of cotton's economic importance and the many challenges faced by the industry.

The commission organized a Cotton Harvest and Ginning Seminar for members of the Fiber Buyers Committee of the Georgia Textile Manufacturers Association. This was successful to initiate a reciprocal relationship with customers in that organization so that each entity can learn of the other's business perspectives and procedures.

The commission sponsors the programs of the Georgia Cotton Women, a volunteer organization that promotes cotton at the consumer level. In addition to providing educational learning kits to schools and youth organizations, their promotions take shape through organized fashion shows, trade shows and industry event exhibits, radio, television and billboard ads.

The commission also sponsors, for youths, the annual 4-H Cotton Boll and Consumer Jamboree and the FFA Fiber P Award.

The commission developed a Website that targets producers and the consumer audience. For producers, the site provides weather, commodity quotes and market news. Information about the cotton industry and educational resources are available to the general public along with links to other agricultural organizations.

Another educational tool for producers is the quarterly newsletter, 100% Cotton News.. Beginning in 2001, it will be a stand-alone publication and mailed to producers with Southeast Farm Press.

In an effort to increase awareness of the commission's programs among producers through daily broadcast announcements and interviews, the commission has invested in airtime with the Southeast Ag Net.

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