The Beltwide: A Little Bit Cotton, A Little Bit Family Reunion

January 8, 2012

Owen and I spent last week at the annual Beltwide Cotton Conference in Orlando.

Since our crop newsletters,, and agcom.101  tie us closely to our jobs most of the year, it’s one of several meetings that we always look forward to attending.

The workshops, seminars and press conferences give us the opportunity to catch up with what’s going on in the industry. But, more importantly, the meeting is our opportunity to actually “lay eyes” on consultants and growers, plus those working in extension and university systems, industry and other media, who have become our friends over the years. Sometimes, it even feels like a family reunion.

Cotton people, in particular, are a close-knit family. Never is that fact more apparent than at the annual Cotton Farming Consultant of the Year dinner. This year’s event, sponsored by One Grower magazine and Syngenta,  marked the 31st year of the award dinner with Virgil King of Lexington, Mississippi, receiving the award for 2011.

It’s a happy, heart warming and fun evening, but my favorite part is always the slideshow of past winners running in the background. It’s not that I recognize all of them, but those wonderful working portraits of past winners remind me how lucky I am to be part of an industry that honors the folks who are in the field every day of the growing season, helping farmers make another year’s crop.

Personally, Owen and I greatly appreciate crop consultants and all of the other hardworking ag professionals who put in long weary days, late nights, and early mornings, but still manage to give us a few minutes of their time with reports from the field.

I’ll end this with a request: If you know our work and publications, you know that we’re all about electronic and social media. However, there is absolutely no substitute for a smile and a handshake, so if you see us at a meeting, please step up and tell us who you are!  Those name tags get smaller and smaller every year.

Wishing you a Great 2012!


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