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One week left …

February 24, 2010

One week from today, over 3,000 agricultural producers and industry leaders and I will gather in the warm sunshine of Anaheim, Calif., to experience all the excitement of Commodity Classic. The opportunity for attendance to the event is truly an honor, and I cannot wait to talk with influential producers and industry leaders. It will be interesting to discover the latest innovative technologies that help agriculturalists achieve success in their production systems.

Vacationing away from the college life to attend Commodity Classic will allow me to experience a small dose of the real world as a member of agricultural media. Mingling with top media professionals will be motivational, as I will discuss responsibilities many hold in their careers. This opportunity will hopefully advance my knowledge and skills in communicating agriculture to consumers and producers in future endeavors.

I cannot wait to land in Anaheim to begin my quest in bringing the latest news from Commodity Classic to your computers back home. For three days, I will take pictures and provide posts featuring producers and exciting events taking place at the trade show. Make sure to follow along as I take you along my journey to the 2010 Commodity Classic.

See y’all next week!


Gearing up for Commodity Classic 2010

February 21, 2010

I  am looking forward to Commodity Classic this year. Not only because it will give me the opportunity to get out of the snowy and cold Missouri weather and into the warm and sunny California weather, but because of all the opportunities I will have to learn more about agriculture from the best in the biz.

One of the great things about Commodity Classic is that it attracts some of the top large-acreage buyers in corn, sorghum, soy and wheat crops as well as the agriculture industry’s top influencers. I am excited to talk to these influential producers and see what they anticipate for the 2010 growing season and why they come to this show.

Glynn, Lisa (our student blogger), and myself are so excited to jump into the action in Anaheim and bring the sights and sounds of the show to those of you that cannot attend. We will try some new and old methods to update you on Commodity Classic. From to live tweeting to Facebook photos to blog posts on this blog and Beyond the Rows, you have plenty of ways to be in the middle of the action.

Follow Monsanto’s Commodity Classic Tweeters:






The show is less than 2 weeks away and you can count on Monsanto to bring you all of the news coming from the show. Anything in particular you would like to see? Post a comment below and I will try to make your wish my command.

Monsanto ~ 2010 Commodity Classic

Follow the show on Twitter: #Classic10

Farewell New Orleans!

January 7, 2010

Honestly, I can say this has been one of the most exciting weeks of my life. I learned a lot at Beltwide and met many amazing people. The cotton industry is full of passionate individuals who desire to see the industry flourish; that is the kind of people it takes to make something successful. Well, my bags are packed and I’m preparing to fly back to the loveliest school on the plains, Auburn University. Before I leave, I wanted to share a couple of candid pictures that I took between sessions in New Orleans. 

A trolley on Canal Street

A trolley on Canal Street

An art display by George Rodrigue

An art display by George Rodrigue

A New Orleans morning. Not as exciting as a New Orleans night!

A New Orleans morning. Not as exciting as a New Orleans night!

New Friends, New Technologies, New Products: Just another day at Beltwide

January 7, 2010

Today, I had the opportunity to walk around the trade show and poster displays. While this IS my first cotton conference this ISN’T my first trade show. How much different could this one be from all the others I have attended?

Very different, which I realized as soon as I met Eddie and Charlie; never have I talked with two folks with such a good sense of humor and such great personalities as these representatives from SFP. Eddie Walley and Charlie Carter immediately took me up on my request to talk about their company. Through talking and joking with them, I learned that SFP sells fertilizer enhancement products that help put “more green in the field for more green in your pocket.” I also learned that SFP was named in the 100 Fastest Growing Manufacturing Companies of the Year by Inc. magazine.

Charlie Carter and Eddie Walley

Charlie and Eddie, the comedians from SFP

I also had the pleasure of talking with Jesse Duce of Syngenta. Actually, I had the pleasure of playing Wack-A-Weed with Jesse. Wack-A-Weed, an interactive game created by Martin Williams Advertising Inc., is similar to Wack-A-Mole except the player is trying to destroy weeds that come up amidst the cotton. The technology is a type of augmented reality, merging computer images (the weeds) with reality (the playing surface).  It was much more difficult than it looked; it took me several tries before I scored enough points to win a pair of work gloves.


Jesse Duce: Weed Whacker Extraordinaire

After and invigorating game of Wack-A-Weed, I ventured over to Farm Press to visit with Glenn, Dennis, and Mike. Growing up on a farm, I knew that Farm Press existed; I just didn’t know what it was all about. Dennis explained to me that Farm Press’s goal was to provide “Timely, Reliable Information.” Farm Press has several region specific publications that provide great articles on crops as well as invaluable information on the market, the legislature, equipment and so much more.

Glenn, Dennis and Mike

From left to right: Glenn Luedke, Director of Advertising, Delta Farm Press; Dennis Miner, General Manager; Mike Lafferre, Director of Advertising, Western Farm Press

After my chat with the gentlemen from Farm Press, I ventured over to Bayer Crop Science to virtually kill nematodes…literally. Dr. Jennifer Riggs demonstrated the virtual kill that occurred on an interactive mat on the floor. Colorful cartoonish nematodes were projected onto a mat. As an individual walked over them, casting a shadow, the nematodes disappeared or were “killed.” Children and adults had a great time making the nematodes disappear while learning about the damage they can have on cotton crops.

Dr. Jennifer Riggs

Dr. Jennifer Riggs exterminates nematodes

After exterminating a few disaster causing nematodes, I talked with a man who deals with disasters of a slightly different kind. Steve Carthel of Rain and Hail Insurance Service shared with me the history of his company. Created in 1919, the company was one of the nation’s first risk management pools; today Rain and Hail underwrites a large majority of crop insurance agreements. Their longevity in the industry certainly says something about their business and their ethics.

Steve Carthel

Steve Carthel of Rain and Hail Insurance Service

Another intriguing person I was privileged to meet was Director Nathan Crisp of Louisiana Agricultural Statistics. He informed me that the National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, gathers information on all things related to agriculture. NASS is responsible for conducting the Census of Agriculture and provides invaluable information to the public.

Nathan Crisp, Louisiana Agricultural Statistics

Nathan Crisp, Louisiana Agricultural Statistics

After leaving the NASS exhibit and picking up a few great license plates from the Cotton Inc. booth, I found myself talking to Beck Barnes and Ryan Bockmuller from Cotton Grower Magazine. Not coming from a cotton background, I had not been introduced to this amazing magazine. Call me foolish, but I’m going to have to sit down and finish reading this magazine tonight before bed! Full of great stories about producers, new cotton varieties and up-and-coming technologies, Cotton Grower is a must-read for all producers.

Beck Barnes, Editor of Cotton Grower Magazine

Beck Barnes, Editor of Cotton Grower Magazine

The next booth I stopped to visit after leaving Beck and Ryan truly caught my attention with color. As I walked by I noticed bright, neon colored seed sitting on the table. Dave Barnes of AgTechnix, pointed out with a flashlight seeds marked with Tracer in the batch. Selecting a seed, Dave magnified it using an instrument that projected the seed on his computer. I was amazed to see that on seeds slightly bigger than turnip seeds (I’m not actually sure what kind of seeds they were) were numbers with tracking information. Dave explained that the Tracers in the coating and numbers on the seed allowed any batch of seed to be directly linked to a specific production site or company. This, I later came to discover, can provide not only traceability while the seed is still in the bag, but even after it has been placed in the soil.

Dave Barnes of AgTechnix

Dave Barnes of AgTechnix

While I was still trying to overcome my amazement at AgTechnix’s amazing seed coating technology, I ventured over to the Deltapine booth. I found the crew engaging customers in conversations about the Class of 10 varieties, the cotton industry and the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. I also found a plot of cotton growing where I could compare for myself the differences between brands. After visiting with the people at Deltapine and snagging a snazzy new t-shirt, I headed over to the poster sections.

Katie Vaught, Ty Vaughn and Christine Hull of Deltapine

Katie Vaught, Ty Vaughn and Christine Hull of Deltapine

For those not familiar with trade shows, the poster sections features research information from a variety of colleges and agencies. I was proud to see several research posters from my favorite college in the South, Auburn University. I was even more excited to see a familiar name, Brandon Dillard, as one of the researchers I know personally.

With over 140 posters, representing research in many areas such as Cotton Agronomy and Physiology and Cotton Weed Science Research, it is evident that there are many great improvements on the way for cotton.

A Colorful Look at Farming: the work of Floyd Gordon

January 6, 2010

If you haven’t noticed from my posts, I have a thing for art. I especially enjoy work that reflects the joys and hardships of farm life. 

Floyd Gordon

Floyd Gordon of South Carolina


The work of Floyd Gordon especially caught my eye. Gordon, one of 19 children, showed an interest in art as a child. His interest led him to obtain a degree from Calfin University in South Carolina. His experiences growing up on a farm surrounded by cotton, corn, soybeans and vegetables are a source of inspiration for his vivid and colorful work. 

For more information on Floyd Gordon, or to view more of his work, visit

West Texas: Through an Artist’s Eyes

January 6, 2010

Today, I had another amazing chat with a very talented artist; Laura Lewis of West Texas.

Laura Lewis

Laura Lewis of West Texas

Lewis began painting as a child in elementary school. In 2001, after working in the health field, Lewis became a fulltime artist. Her art is inspired by the beauty she sees at her home in West Texas and, of course, the beautiful Texas sky. After a great cotton crop in 2004, she began painting cotton, using bright and emotional colors to covey the emotion of the fluffy white crop.

For more information on Laura Lewis visit

Drumroll please… New Cotton Varieties

January 6, 2010

It has been a long time since I have had Basic Crop Science. After listening to the wonderful folks who develop our varieties, I realize I have forgotten a lot.

 Listed below, are all the new varieties and a couple of major points the speakers made on each variety.

Let me clarify that I was unable to take down all the data; some of the bulleted lists are much shorter for some varieties than others. I highly encourage if you are interested in a certain variety, visit the company’s website or contact the company directly.

Deltapine: Class of 10

                DP 1028 B2RF

  • Early-Mid Maturity
  • Smooth leaf
  • Regions: Upper Mid-South, Upper Southeast
  • Fiber
    • Length = 1.16 to 1.17
    • Strength = 28.7
    • Mic = 4.97
    • Uniformity = 834.9
  • Very good storm resistance (tighter than DP 0912 B2RF or DP 0924 B2RF)

                DP 1032 B2RF

  • Mid maturity
  • Smooth leaf
  • Regions: Primarily Texas, also Mid-South, Southeast, AZ
  • Fiber
    • Length = 1.14
    • Strength = 29.2
    • Mic = 4.77
    • Uniformity = 83.4
  • Very good storm resistance (tighter than DP 0924 B2RF)
  • Bacterial Blight- Resistance (MR)

DP 1034 B2RF

  • Mid maturity
  • Smooth leaf
  • Regions- Upper and Lower Southeast, Upper and Lower Mid-South
  • Fiber
    • Length = 1.14
    • Strength = 29.5
    • Mic =5.1
    • Uniformity = 85.1
  • Very good storm resistance (slightly tighter than DP 0949 B2RF)

DP 1044 B2RF

  • Mid-Full Maturity
  • Smooth leaf
  • Regions- West Texas only
  • Fiber
    • Length = 1.17
    • Strength = 29.7
    • Mic =5.0
    • Uniformity = 83.7
  • Excellent storm resistance (similar to DP 0935 B2RF)
  • Bacterial Blight-Resistance (MR)
  • Verticillium Wilt- Very good

DP 1048 B2RF

  • Mid-Full Maturity
  • Semi-smooth leaf
  • Regions-Lower Southeast, Lower Mid-South and South Texas
  • Fiber
    • Length = 1.13 to 1.18
    • Strength = 27.4 to 27.7
    • Mic =4.6 to 4.7
    • Uniformity = 83.6 to 84.9
  • Very good storm resistance (tighter than DP 0949 B2RF)

DP 1050 B2RF

  • Full Maturity
  • Smooth leaf
  • Regions-Southeast, Mid-South and South Texas
  • Fiber
    • Length = 1.12 to 1.17
    • Strength = 27.7 to 28.1
    • Mic =4.7 to 4.9
    • Uniformity = 83.3 to 94.5
  • Very good storm resistance (tighter than DP 0949 B2RF)
  • Similar to Triple Nickel


                FM 1773LLB2

  • Early-Mid Maturity
  • Normal/Smooth Leaf
  • Moderate growth habit
  • Adapted to East Texas, the Mid-South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions
  • High yield potential
  • Excellent fiber package
  • Ignite herbicide tolerant

FM 1845LLB2

  • Well-adapted to East Texas, the Mid-South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions
  • Has shown high yield potential in full season growing areas of the Southeast

FM 9160B2F

  • Smooth Leaf
  • Primarily adapted to the Southwest
  • Medium to tall plant height
  • Excellent storm tolerance
  • Good Verticillium wilt tolerance

FM 9170B2F

  • Medium maturity
  • Normal/Smooth Leaf
  • Adapted to Southwest region
  • Outstanding yield potential
  • Excellent fiber package
  • Good storm resistance
  • Responds well to Stance plant regulator
  • High gin turnout
  • Early results indicate good Verticillium wilt tolerance and resistance to bacterial blight
  • Well adapted for dry land or irrigated fields


                PHY 367 WRF

  • Early Season
  • Root knot nematode tolerant
  • Mic- 4.8
  • Length 1.13


  • Mid-Full Season
  • Targeted to replace Triple Nickel


                NG 2549 B2RF

  • Early Maturity
  • Semi-Smooth Leaf
  • Excellent Yield Potential
  • Good Fiber Quality
  • Good Verticillium Wilt Tolerance
  • Medium Plant Height
  • Storm Proof Boll Type
  • Adapted to High Plains of Texas


                ST 4288B2F

  • Medium Maturity
  • Normal/Semi-smooth leaf
  • Excellent early season vigor
  • Broadly adapted across the cotton belt
  • Outstanding yield potential
  • Responds well to Stance plant regulator
  • Very good fiber package

ST 5288B2F

  • Medium Maturity
  • Excellent early season vigor
  • Broadly adapted across the Cotton Belt
  • Outstanding yield potential
  • Responds well to Stance plant regulator
  • Good fiber package
  • Tough, versatile variety
  • High lint percent
  • Resistant to bacterial blight


Again, I wish to stress that this is NOT an exhaustive list of the qualities of the new varieties introduced at Beltwide. For more information on each variety please contact the respective company.