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Beltwide cotton conferences 2007

Feb '07
This year´s Beltwide Cotton Conferences took place from 9-12 January, in New Orleans, Lousiana under the theme “Equipping for Excellence”. Coordinated by the National Cotton Council (NCC) and its cooperating partners, this annual forum is recognized as the global event for cotton technology transfer.

Individual reports, panel discussions, hands-on workshops and seminars are designed to enlighten industry members about the latest research developments in cotton production and processing. The emphasis is on the American cotton market.

Allen Helms reviewed the last year and the activities of NCC. Apart from the negotiations with the administration on savings in the US-commodity program and cotton research the Council is also integrated in the WTO “Brazil-case”. Another subject was the upcoming currently strongly discussed new farm bill 2007, which was also touched by Mike Johanns, USSecretary of Agriculture.

Concerning the bill which has not been approved by the Bush administration yet, Johanns mentioned the nation's farm policy had to shift away from only protecting producers' pocketbooks to withstand international scrutiny now that most U.S. cotton is exported.

Eighty percent of U.S. cotton goes to markets outside the country, and to ignore that when writing the 2007 farm bill could invite further World Trade Organization complaints, Johanns told hundreds of U.S. producers at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. U.S. agriculture, he continued, has 2 choices: do nothing and risk seeing farm programs “dismantled” by potential WTO rulings or “craft farm policy” that would withstand challenges.

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