The 2000 Georgia Cotton Production Workshop -the eighth annual conference of its kind in the state - will be held this year for the first time in Savannah, according to Steve M. Brown, University of Georgia Extension cotton specialist.

"The format provides an opportunity for in-depth discussions of production issues in the various concurrent workshop sessions," says Brown. "The general session will cover a broad range of concerns related to economics as well as emerging production issues."

The conference, he adds, is intended for all growers, county agents, dealers and other agribusiness personnel interested in cotton.

This year's conference will be held at the Coastal Georgia Center located at 305 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Savannah. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Concurrent workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. on the following topics: Weed Management, Cotton Varieties for 2001, Fertilizer and Soils Management, Plant Pathology/Nematology, Insect Management, Cotton Physiology, Cotton Risk Management and County Agent Field Trials. These workshops will be repeated on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 8:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.

The first general session will be held from 1:10 p.m. until 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

The following topics and presenters will be featured: U.S. and World Cotton Situation, Don Shurley, University of Georgia Extension economist; Water - Current Issues and Pending Legislation, Kerry Harrison, University of Georgia Extension engineer; UGA Commitments to Cotton, Bill Lambert, University of Georgia associate dean for Extension; The 2000 Crop Year in Review, Steve M. Brown, University of Georgia Extension agronomist; Pyrethroid Resistance in Corn Earworm in South Carolina, Mitchell Roof, Clemson University Extension entomologist; New Insect Management Tools, Phillip Roberts, University of Georgia Extension entomologist; Advancements in Our Knowledge of Stinkbugs, Jeremy Greene, University of Georgia entomologist; What About Aphids? Mark Abney, University of Georgia graduate student; and Panel Discussion on Conservation Tillage, featuring the members of the University of Georgia Extension Cotton Team.

The second general session will be held on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 1:15 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. The following topics and presenters will be featured: Report from the Georgia Cotton Commission, Richey Seaton, executive director, Georgia Cotton Commission; Premature Cutout, Black Root and Other Soil Management Issues, Glen Harris, University of Georgia Extension soil scientist; Report on the Seed Rot Problem in South Carolina, Mike Jones, Clemson University agronomist; Fusarium Wilt and other Emerging Plant Disease Issues in Georgia, Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia plant pathologist; Effects of Harvest Timing on Cotton Yield, Quality and Returns, Craig Bednarz, University of Georgia cotton physiologist; Developments of Precision Management Tools for Cotton, Craig Kvien, University of Georgia NESPAL coordinator; and Requirements for Developing a New Cotton Variety, Lloyd May, University of Georgia cotton breeder.

For more information about the conference, contact your Georgia county Extension office or the University of Georgia Conference Center at (229) 386-3416.

Georgia farmers no longer will have to pay local property taxes on heavy farm equipment thanks to the overwhelming support Georgia voters gave to Referendum A in the recent general election. The referendum passed by more than 70 percent, according to the Secretary of State's office.

"Referendum A started as a grassroots effort by farmers to seek relief from taxes that are crippling our agriculture industry," says Wayne Dollar, Georgia Farm Bureau president. "I think the large show of support for Referendum A shows the people of Georgia do value the state's farmers and realize the severe economic challenges our farmers face due to adverse weather conditions and record-low commodity prices."

Estimates have shown that Georgia farmers could save about $13 million a year under the farm equipment property tax exemption. To qualify for the tax exemption, the equipment must be directly used in the production of agricultural products by family-owned farms. Motor vehicles are not eligible for the exemption.