Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will deliver the keynote address during the opening session of the National Cotton Council’s 2007 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans Jan. 10.

Johanns, an attorney and former governor of Nebraska, will be the first secretary to speak at the conference in a number of years. The Beltwide, held annually in different parts of the country, is considered one of the premier information exchange events in the country.

NCC Chairman Allen Helms, a cotton producer from Clarkedale, Ark., will lead off the opening session followed by a presentation entitled “Focus on Sustainability” by Cotton Incorporated President Berrye Worsham.

Other presentations will include a review of cotton’s role in biofuels, a discussion of irrigation strategies and a producer panel offering experiences on farming with high input costs.

The next day’s general session on Jan. 11 will feature a biotech update, an overview of herbicide resistance, a “Cotton Fruiting to Finish” presentation and a report from NCC Vice-Chairman John Pucheu and Memphis merchant John Mitchell on the recent U.S. cotton leadership orientation trip to China.

More information on the program and the 2007 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, to be held at the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans hotels on Jan. 9-12, can be found at http://www.cotton.org/beltwide.