The Alabama Cotton Commission celebrated its 30th anniversary at the group’s annual meeting in Prattville, Jan. 18.

Blount County Farmer Jimmy Miller, who serves as chairman of the Alabama Farmers Federation's State Cotton Committee, also serves as vice-chairman of the Alabama Cotton Commission. He said the Federation has been key to the success of the commission, which supervises the checkoff dollars farmers voluntarily contribute.

“I don’t think anyone’s 90 cents a bale checkoff is not well spent,” Miller said. “I think it comes back maybe five-fold or 10-fold.”

Farmers who participate in the checkoff determine how the money they contribute is spent. By federal law, the money must be spent for education, promotion or research.

"The Federation's involvement and support of the commission is invaluable," Miller said. "The Federation provides us meeting space and staff resources at no cost to the commission. That way, all our producer checkoff money is used directly to benefit the farmer."

Miller said he can't imagine what cotton production in America would look like without the checkoff-funded efforts that have increased yield, decreased input costs and grown domestic and foreign markets.

"From my viewpoint, if you’re not willing to help support the commodity you produce, you can’t expect others to foot the bill,” Miller said. 

“With the reductions from federal and state funding, that’s no longer enough to go on in research.”

Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton Division Director Buddy Adamson said producers who participate in the checkoff contribute 90-cents per bale of cotton to the Alabama Cotton Commission.

He said producers vote every 10 years on whether to continue the program. This year’s vote is tentatively set for July, he said. The exact date will be announced later.