Last week I attended the Beltwide Cotton Conference in San Antonio along with many local producers and found that new technology in the cotton industry is plentiful and, yes with depressed cotton prices, the acreage in 2009 across the cotton belt will be down.

However, price for cotton will come back as it always does following depressed times, and technology continues to enhance our ability to produce some of the best quality cotton in the world. The wealth of information that was available about new developments in the cotton industry was tremendous. In fact, the National Cotton Council is aiding the transfer of new technology by making reports available online at the Web site

This was the 15th year the Farm Press Publications have presented the High Cotton awards through a grant to The Cotton Foundation and this year we had a local winner from Nueces County, and for the Mid-South states, James Dodson was presented the award. The High Cotton Awards were conceived with the idea of recognizing what growers are doing to achieve the goals of consistently high yields and premiere quality cotton while instituting practices that protect natural resources that enhance the environment. Congratulations, Jimmy.

Crop Symposium to Focus on Improving Efficiency in Crop Production

Coastal Bend farmers can obtain five CEU's at the Annual Crop Symposium which will be held Jan. 27 at the Johnny Calderon County Building at 710 E. Main in Robstown. Registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. with the first presentation at 8:30 a.m. Registration fee is $10 per person which includes a catered lunch and all those planning to attend should call the Extension Office at 767-5223 by Jan. 23 to aid in meeting preparations.

The morning session will focus on cotton, grain sorghum, and corn. Presentations will cover advantages of implementing best management practices with these crops in times with volatile commodity prices. Other topics to be addressed will include emerging crop diseases and updates on local crop research.

Moreover, John Metz, forecaster with the National Weather Service will provide a long-range weather outlook for the upcoming growing season.

Following lunch, an update on the current Farm Bill will be provided along with tips to growing sesame, a new drought tolerant crop. In addition, an update on new pasture weed control herbicides will be offered, along with updates on the Boll Weevil Eradication Program and Pesticide Laws and Regulations.

This symposium is being sponsored by the Nueces County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the local Crops Committee. For more information contact the Extension Office at 767-5223.

By the way, do not forget that the 74th Annual Nueces County Junior Livestock Show is underway and the Blue-Ribbon Auction Sale and Shop Project Silent Auction will be held this Saturday at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.

All are welcome to come out and help support our youth for all of the hard work they dedicated to their projects over this past year.

The Shop Project Silent Auction begins at 8 a.m. and the Blue-Ribbon Auction Sale begins at 10 a.m.

For more details check out this Web site:

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.