Beltwide Provides Opportunities for

Information, Recognition

Friday, January 6, 2012                           By Mary Jane Buerkle

      The 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences provided incredible opportunities for information transfer in a variety of industry segments, and the recognition of one of PCG's own certainly was a highlight for the High Plains.

      Lamesa grower and PCG Secretary-Treasurer Shawn Holladay was named the High Cotton Award winner for the Southwest Region by Farm Press Publications and the Cotton Foundation. Holladay was one of four regional winners selected.

Holladay is a fourth-generation farmer who produces cotton on about 6,500 acres of land in Dawson County. His wife, Julie, also grew up on a farm and some of that land belongs to her family, so his operation truly is a family farm. Eighty percent of his cotton is non-irrigated.

Holladay has three full-time employees and stays on the cutting edge of agricultural technology, employing the latest methods of precision agriculture in order to preserve our natural resources while maximizing his yield potential.

In addition to his farming operation, Holladay also is chairman of and partner in the United Cotton Gin, located south of Lamesa. He serves as chairman of the American Cotton Producers Farm Policy Task Force, is a delegate to the National Cotton Council, and is an officer for both Plains Cotton Growers and Lamesa Cotton Growers. He also has been active in Cotton Incorporated and serves in other community and civic organization with his wife. They have one daughter, Katy.

Southwest Farm Press editor Ron Smith presented the award to Holladay.

"It's just nice to be honored by your peers," Holladay said. "You look at the company you keep, and these past and fellow winners all share a passion for agriculture, are leaders in the industry and are hands-on at their farms.

PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said PCG is fortunate to have someone of Holladay's caliber on the PCG team.

"Shawn Holladay is a real 'skin in the game' producer who strives every day to be as productive and efficient as he possibly can be in his family farming operation, and doing such in the most sustainable way that will preserve the natural resources he has ben entrusted with for generations to come," Verett said.

      Winners in other regions were Coley Bailey Jr. of Coffeeville, Miss., for the Delta region; Don Cameron of Helm, Calif., for the Western region; and Kent Wannamaker of St. Matthews, S.C., for the Southeast region.

      PCG and the High Plains were represented well at the Beltwide, with numerous producers, consultants, ginners, researchers, students and industry partners attending the conferences. PCG's Shawn Wade presented a session on the Cottonseed Endorsement Program, and several High Plains extension and university faculty and students led sessions on a variety of topics.

      For a complete program overview, visit If you had to miss this year's Beltwide but would like to obtain a particular presentation, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904.

      Next year's Beltwide Cotton Conferences will be January 7-10 at the Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels in San Antonio. The National Cotton Council and its cooperating partners coordinate these conferences.


Area Ag Conferences Scheduled for January

The following area ag conferences have been scheduled for the month of January:

January 10 Alternative Crops Conference, Bovina Contact Benji Henderson, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-481-3619.

January 11 - Winter Cow-Herd Nutrition, Repo Health, Silverton Contact Nathan Carr, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-823-2522.

January 16 - Cotton Conference, Perryton Expo. Contact Scott Strawn, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-435-4501.

January 16 Cotton Meeting, Spearman Contact Burton Williams, County Extension Agent-AG,for more information at 806-659-4130.

January 17 Cotton Meeting, White Deer Community Center Contact Jody Bradford, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-537-3882.

January 17 Cotton Meeting, Wheeler Contact Kenneth Brdecko, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-826-5243.

January 19 Seed Variety Selection & Cotton Economics, Brownfield Contact Chris Bishop, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-637-4060.

January 20 Seed Variety Selection & Profitability Workshop, Morton Contact Jeff Molloy, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-266-5215.

January 24 Caprock Crop Production Workshop, Unity Center, Muncy Contact Caitlin Jackson, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-675-2347.

January 24 - Cotton Cluster Meeting, Dumas Contact Marcel Fischbacher, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-935-2594.

January 25 Southern Mesa Ag Conference, Lamesa Contact Tommy Doederlein, Extension Agent-IPM for more information at 806-872-3444.

January 26 Cotton/Irrigation Conference, Silverton Contact Nathan Carr, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-823-2522.

January 26 Llano Estacado Cotton Conference, Bailey County Coliseum, Muleshoe Contact Curtis Preston, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-272-4584.

January 26 Commercial Turf & Ornamental Workshop, Lubbock Contact Mark Brown, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-775-1680.

If you have another conference to add to this list, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904 and ask for Mary Jane Buerkle.


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"Gold-Standard" Cotton Genome Sequence

to Advance Fiber, Fuel, and Food

Friday, January 6, 2012                         From the Cotton Board

An international consortium, led by Professor Andrew Paterson of the University of Georgia, has made publicly available the first 'gold-standard' genome sequence for cotton.  Cotton was among the first plants studied at the molecular level, and the sequence obtained by Paterson and his team is the culmination of a 20-plus year effort in the analysis of cotton genes and genomic DNA. This critical sequence will be invaluable to better understanding and optimizing the production and sustainability of the cotton plant.

The research effort of Paterson and others gained momentum in 2007 when a proposal from 22 leading cotton scientists representing the world's seven largest cotton-producing nations was approved by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) Community Sequencing Program.  The study established the strategy that was used for 'gold-standard' sequencing of the New World cotton progenitor, Gossypium raimondii; which was chosen by the worldwide cotton community to be the first of 50 cotton species to be sequenced.  "This achievement, and the ongoing research community annotations of our cotton genome, will speed continued improvement of cotton production and help sustain one of the world's largest industries," said Professor Paterson.

The cotton sequence is among the highest-quality flowering plant sequences yet produced. A novel strategy integrating "next-generation" and conventional sequencing methods was used.  Critical to the effort was information about the cotton hereditary blueprint, which had been accumulated over more than 20 years of research funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cotton Incorporated, and other public and private agencies.

"This cotton data will help accelerate the study of gene function, particularly cellulose biosynthesis as it is fundamental to improved biofuels production," said Jeremy Schmutz, head of the DOE JGI Plant Program and a faculty investigator at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, who led the effort to assemble the sequence.

 "In addition, the unique structure of the cotton fiber makes it useful in bioremediation, and accelerated cotton improvement also promises to improve water efficiency and reduce pesticide use," Schmutz said.

Cotton production contributes heavily to many economies. The value of cotton fiber grown in the U.S. is typically about $6 billion per year. Cottonseed oil and meal byproducts add nearly $1 billion more value.   More than 430,000 domestic jobs are related to cotton production and processing, with an aggregate influence of about $120 billion on the annual U.S. gross domestic product and an estimated annual $500 billion worldwide.

Professor Paterson noted that "The cotton community is delighted at the sequence quality resulting from integration of accumulated and new information by the skilled team of Mr. Jeremy Schmutz and Dr. Dan Rokhsar of the DOE JGI.  We are enthusiastically pursuing next steps to improve sustainability of cotton production and increase its role in the more bio-based economy of the future."

      Dr. Don Jones, Director of Agricultural Research responsible for biotechnology research at Cotton Incorporated, said this Gossypium raimondii gold standard sequence will be the foundation for sequencing upland cotton, Gossypium hirsutum.   "This sequencing effort demonstrates that wise investment of grower supplied Cotton Incorporated funding produces cutting edge research which benefits the greater cotton community.  This sequence is a cornerstone that will help advance our knowledge so we more thoroughly understand the biology that leads to enhanced yield, improved fiber quality, and better stress tolerance, all improvements that will benefit growers in the not-too-distant future."

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton.  The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.