The National Cotton Council-coordinated 2009 Beltwide Cotton Conferences is set for Jan. 5-8 at the Marriott Rivercenter/Riverwalk hotels in San Antonio, Texas. The theme of this year’s conference is “Improving Our Farm, Future and World.”

Bill Robertson, NCC’s manager for agronomy, soils and physiology, said among topics being considered for the Beltwide’s Cotton Production Conference general session are energy management, insect/weed management and resistance, a farm law update with an emphasis on the conservation program component, what’s in the technology pipeline, including seed varieties, and a cotton economic outlook.

“With the high cost of fuel, energy management has become a major factor in several production practices and is affecting overall profitability,” Robertson said. “Innovative energy conservation practices and alternative energy sources should be of interest.”

Robertson said efforts will be made to make all workshops more hands-on and geared toward producers. The Cotton Consultants Conference initiated at the 2008 conferences in Nashville will be continued.

“The roundtable discussions were one of the highlights of the Consultants Conference,” Robertson said, “and we’ll be looking at adding more roundtable discussions in the Production Conference workshops to facilitate more questions being asked and more interaction among growers from different regions.

“We want to bring the hallway conversations into a roundtable format with experts facilitating those discussions. For example, a grower in Texas may want to talk about strip-till farming face-to-face with a grower in the Southeast, where that practice has been done for several years. We believe that participating in these smaller roundtable discussions with more targeted questions and answers will maximize attendees’ return on investment.”

Robertson said he has gleaned programming ideas from the conferences’ Technical Conference chairmen and will continue program development after meetings with the Beltwide Cotton Conferences’ Steering Committee, the NCC’s American Cotton Producers and NCC staff.

General information about the 2009 Beltwide is at the redesigned BWCC Web site, www.cotton.org/beltwide. Programming information, instructions for meeting registration/housing reservations and other information will be posted at that site later.

2008 BWCC Proceedings also are on that site. A username and password are required to access the proceedings. NCC and Cotton Foundation members can use the same username and password used to access the NCC Web site’s members only area. Questions should be directed to Debbie Richter at (901) 274-9030 or beltwide@cotton.org.

The Beltwide Cotton Conferences’ overall objective is sharing information among those with a stake in a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including industry members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, consultants and service providers. The forum’s programming is designed to inform U.S. cotton producers about innovative and effective technology and methods that can promote viability in both the upcoming growing season and long-term.

The BWCC’s objective is in accord with the National Cotton Council’s mission of ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.