Friday, February 26, 2010                          By Shawn Wade

      Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. is pleased to announce it will conduct the organization's 53rd Annual Meeting on Friday, April 9, 2010. PCG's meeting will be held in the Banquet Hall of the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center in conjunction with the Texas Cotton Ginners Association Convention and Trade Show April 8-9, 2010 in Lubbock.

      PCG's Annual Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration, and the program will start promptly at 9 a.m.

      Presentations at this year's PCG meeting will cover the Washington political landscape and the impact of current budget concerns on agriculture and trade policy; review the current cotton market situation and what may be in store for the 2010 production and marketing year; and, examine the role of conventional cotton breeding programs in the development of new and improved cotton germplasm.

      Current PCG president Barry Evans, of Kress, Texas, will preside over the meeting and PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett will report on the status of PCG operations and activities. Additional information about the PCG Annual Meeting and a final program will be available to attendees prior to the meeting.

      Headlining PCG's 53rd Annual Meeting line-up are U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway, of Midland, and James R. (Jim) Wiesemeyer, of Washington, DC.

      Congressman Conaway, who represents the 11th Congressional District of Texas, is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture and serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Rural Development, Biotechnology, Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture. In addition to his position on the Agriculture Committee, Conaway also serves on the Intelligence, Armed Services and Ethics Committees.

      This year's annual meeting marks the third appearance for Wiesemeyer before the Plains Cotton Growers membership. His most recent appearance was in 2007 prior to the conclusion of the 2008 Farm Bill debate.

      With over 30 years of experience covering agriculture in Washington, Wiesemeyer has been asked to share his view of the agriculture policy landscape and what the future holds for the cotton industry and U.S. agriculture.

      Wiesemeyer is Senior Vice President of the Washington Bureau of Informa Economics and is considered the dean of Washington agricultural journalists. High Plains cotton growers may best know Wiesemeyer as the author of ProFarmer's "Inside Washington Today" column, which is available by subscription from http://www.profarmer.com.

      Joining Conaway and Wiesemeyer on the program will be Anthony Tancredi, President, Allenberg Cotton Co., of Cordova, TN; Dr. Jane Dever, Associate Professor and Cotton Breeder, Texas AgriLife Research, of Lubbock; and current NCC Chairman Eddie Smith, of Floydada.

      Allenberg Cotton's Tancredi has been asked to discuss the current cotton market situation, including issues driving the recent surge in cotton prices, and what projected changes in acreage and production could mean for producers in 2010 and beyond.

      As President of one of the largest cotton merchants in the world, Tancredi is intimately aware of the forces fueling the current market run-up and what that may mean for producers in the U.S. and around the world.

      Dr. Jane Dever, Texas AgriLife Research cotton breeder at Lubbock, will discuss the role of conventional cotton breeding programs in the process of creating new cotton germplasm and the impact that biotechnology has had on the process of developing improved cotton varieties for farmers.

      Dever holds a bachelor's degree in textile technology and management, a master's in crop science and a doctorate in agronomy and plant breeding, all from Texas Tech University.

      NCC Chairman Eddie Smith, who was elected to his current position earlier this month at the NCC Annual Meeting in Memphis, TN, has been asked to update the PCG membership on current activities of the National Cotton Council.

      Smith is a 1973 graduate of Texas Tech University earning a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics. Smith's current farming operations include cotton, cattle and grain operations near Floydada in partnership with his father, Ed, and son, Eric.

      Smith has served on numerous Council committees, including the NCC Environmental Task Force, and is a 1991 graduate of the Council's Cotton Leadership Program.