Wiregrass Cotton Expo scheduled for Feb. 14

In this Eagle file photo, farmers look over a piece of farming equipment during a Wiregrass Cotton Expo at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds .

This year’s Cotton Expo will be held Feb. 14 at the National Peanut Festival. The expo kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with registration.

During the event, local farmers and agriculture enthusiasts can visit with several exhibitors offering information regarding the latest equipment and products available to assist with cotton productions.

The expo is free of charge. Several speakers will also provide information on a variety of topics designed to help producers plan for the upcoming cotton season, including genetics, profitability, crop management, and soil fertility.

Each season brings a variety of challenges to producers, so the team behind the expo is hoping to tackle those challenges during the expo and help farmers prepare for 2020 cotton season, said Alabama Extension Agronomist William Birdsong.

“Each year is different and requires different strategies,” Birdsong said. “Many growers learn from one another, and this expo is a place for that to happen. This forum gives them an opportunity to visit and dialogue with other growers, while learning firsthand from scientists and research data in an environment where interaction is encouraged.”

This year’s speakers and topics include:

» Austin Hagan, Auburn University plant pathologist - cotton virus scouting and strategies

» Audry Gamble, Auburn University soil scientist - cotton fertility research

» Steven Brown, Auburn University cotton agronomist, cotton update

» Ron Smith, Auburn University extension entomologist, cotton pest management for 2020

» David Zierden, state climatologist of Florida – weather forecasting

» Thomas Kirkland, cotton producers – Alabama Cotton Commission update

The luncheon speaker for this year’s expo will be John Robinson, an economist from Texas A&M, who will share a cotton market outlook to round off the expo.

“This year’s program is well balanced,” said Henry County Extension Agent Jimmy Jones. “Those attending the event will get information on cotton production and risk management. Right now our cotton farmers are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, and they are having a tough time. This expo will help farmers hear the latest information available on managing risks to the farm, marketing, weather, pesticides, and how to make a good crop at a reduced commodity price,” Jones said.

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