Cotton Inc., based in Cary, North Carolina hosts producer tours several times a year, and the latest tour also hosted a couple of ag commissioners as well, including John McMillan, Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Alabama. He explains that this is his first experience with Cotton Inc.:
“This is my first trip, and it’s very interesting and educational experience.”
SFN: I understand that cotton is very important for the state of Alabama.
McMillan: it’s very important, it’s our number one crop as far as acreage is concerned, and its significant to us.”
SFN: Monty Bane, you’re the Southeast rep for Cotton Inc. and you’re out of Alabama as well. Now, Monty you have a big crowd here today for this producers tour.
Bane: “I sure do. I’ve got all six of my states represented, plus we have all 17 of the cotton producing states represented on this tour.”
SFN: This is one of the biggest crowds I think I’ve ever seen.
Bane: “Yeah, we’re really excited, my cohorts with the Cotton Board made an extra effort to get someone from each state here.”
SFN: I know that National Cotton Council has projected acres for this year, are we looking for at least as many if not more than 2011?
Bane: “I think it’s going to be down about 10% on the average. Certain areas are going to stay the same, but overall I think it’s going to be down.”
SFN: Commissioner Hugh Weathers from South Carolina, we know that cotton is a big deal in South Carolina as well.
Weathers: “Well, that’s right, not only am I commissioner, but my brother and I grow about 350 acres of cotton. so, I’m learning…you know I find this meeting a lot like I try to do about agriculture in general, people do not understand what all goes into agriculture, in this case the clothes that we wear and the products that we use with cotton. So, it’s a great educational forum for me.”
SFN: Is this your first time to be in this producers’ tour for Cotton Inc.?
Weathers: “It is, so it’s a steep learning curve, they try to stay on schedule so they’re throwing a lot of information at us, I’m very impressed at how well this program is put together.”
SFN: I think it’s a great idea in the fact that you get to see first hand where your checkoff dollars are going.
Weathers: “Well, that’s right. No matter what the product, be it cotton, soybeans, milk, we invest in it we employ professionals, and Cotton Inc. and the Cotton Board and others are a prime example of that.”
We’ll hear more from Commissioner Hugh Weathers and Commissioner John McMillan tomorrow on Inside Agriculture.