Georgia cotton farmers voted to renew the marketing order for Georgia cotton by passing the referendum with an 87 percent favorable vote. The affirmative vote renews the $1 bale assessment which funds the Georgia Cotton Commission.
The commission is charged by law with providing programs of research, promotion and education on behalf of Georgia cotton producers. Throughout the 50 year history of the Georgia Cotton Commission, millions of dollars have been invested in research, education, and promotion of Georgia cotton.
Much of the funds received by the Commission are committed to research projects conducted by the University of Georgia regarding issues related to cotton production to provide producers with the latest information and techniques to keep their operations profitable. Some of the projects funded include work on: Palmer amaranth pigweed, insect control, nematode control programs, product comparisons, fertility studies and varietal trials.
The 2014 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report communicated Georgia’s cotton crop was valued at $964,678,523, and is currently the third highest grossing agricultural commodity in the state. In addition to its monetary merit, it is also a significant contributor to the economy of the communities where cotton is grown in Georgia. In 2015, Georgia cotton farmers planted 1,138,000 acres of cotton and harvested an estimated 2 million bales.
Voting by cotton producers took place Feb. 8 to March 8.
Updated content added 3-16-16 to this story: Mike Lucas, Chairman of the Georgia Cotton Commission and a Bleckley County producer, said that he is “pleased with the 87% vote by our growers, because we still have many issues ahead for cotton in Georgia.” Lucas says that the commission’s research, promotion, and education programs have provided value to the Georgia cotton producer since 1965.
He notes that 2016 will be even a greater challenge for growers than 2015 and one of the toughest years in many farmers’ lives. “We hope for better prices and lower input cost in 2016. On the policy front, we think a cottonseed PLC/ARC program is important even though Secretary Vilsack has said he won’t sign off on it,” says Lucas.
“Right now the industry is still discussing the possibility of a cost-share program with USDA for ginning assistance from the 2015 season. While this is not a silver bullet, it should help Georgia growers during these tough times,” Lucas said.