Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: United States


Articles from 2000 In October

Wildlife Attractions Highlight Delta Wildlife Expo

The Monster Whitetails of Arkansas ARKANSAS' NO. 1 hunting attraction, the Monster Whitetails of Arkansas, will be displayed at this year's 2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO. Each deer in the exhibit was killed either in Arkansas or the Southeastern United States.

Ken Young took this display over by ownership in 1994. Today the popular display travels thousands of miles each year and is seen by more that 1,500,000 people annually. Dick Idol, a big buck authority, said, "This display is as impressive as any of you will ever see anywhere."

The display itself is a source of pride for the owners of the heads displayed and an educational tool that promotes quality management. Three of the Monster Whitetails that will be shown are currently ranked at the top in the world. Other deer on display include the two highest scoring bucks ever taken in the Southeast.

The "Arkansas Roadkill" is one of only eight whitetails in the world with a legitimate 30-inch spread. The "Medusa Buck" is recognized by Buckmasters as the No. 1 whitetail of all time. "Goliath" is the largest Natural State buck on record, weighing 324 pounds. The "Sparks Buck" is the Arkansas State Record Typical at 189 B&C Points. The "Lockley Buck" is the largest southern whitetail ever killed with a bow, measuring 215 4/8 P&Y Points. The "Harris Buck" scores in at a whopping 223 1/8 Net B&C and is the World Record Crossbow Kill. The "Copeland Buck" is the World Record 8-Point, measuring 185 7/8 B&C Points. These bucks and others will all be on display.

As a part of the Monster Whitetails exhibit, Ken Young will also be selling raffle tickets for a brand new 4-wheeler, which will be given away. The 4-wheeler will be on display beside the exhibit. You don't want to miss these impressive bucks. Nor do you want to miss a chance at winning a brand new 4-wheeler.

The Rock The latest craze in sport climbing is going to be at this year's Delta Wildlife EXPO. "The Rock" is a three-sided climbing wall standing 24-feet high. It simulates the face of a mountain and provides a similar challenge to climb. "The Rock" safely accommodates three climbers at a time.

This rock-climbing wall allows "kids" of all ages to climb safely because of its installed auto belay system. After being strapped in, climbers can climb safely to heights of 28 feet. The harness attaches to a cable and centers the climber over the climbing path. This helps balance the climber.

As the climber gets higher, the cable is automatically retrieved and keeps unnoticeable tension on the climber at all times. Once climbers reach the top, they can simply repel down the mountain with the hydraulic belay system or be lowered to the ground automatically.

Even though "The Rock" is complete safe, and there is no possibility of falling, it will still provide climbers with plenty of adrenaline and fear. So come on and take the challenge, don't be afraid. Climb "The Rock."

The Traveling Fish Tank Get ready for some excitement because "The Traveling Fish Tank" will arrive at the Washington County Convention Center November 3, 2000. This 12-foot tall, 42-foot long glass mobile aquarium will stocked by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks with largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill from Lake Ferguson in Greenville.

Just to view fish in their natural environment is entertaining enough for most people. But the "Traveling Fish Tank" will be used for more than our simple viewing pleasure.

"The Traveling Fish Tank" is a teaching tool that is designed to show the movement of specific lures and the reaction of fish to those movements. This is also a great opportunity for parents and kids to learn about fishing and fish biology.

Phillip Hain and his father Gary have traveled through the U.S. participating in many fishing tournaments as well as giving fishing demonstrations. Teaching fishing is one of their trademarks, and Phillip will teach techniques that will help us all put more fish in the boat.

Phillip Hain will give seminars all weekend and actually demonstrate fishing techniques that will help improve your success on the water. Visitors can see how the fish react to specific baits and presentation techniques.

Come out and see all the fish and learn how to catch more fish at the 2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO. Just look for the giant aquarium, you can't miss it.

Daisy BB Gun Shoot There is nothing more exciting than seeing the face of a child light up. And it is twice as special when the smile comes from a little girl who beat 20 other boys at the same game.

Last year, Delta Wildlife, Daisy BB Guns, and the Mississippi State University Extension Service hosted a BB Gun Shoot for children. The event was a success as more than 6 children walked away with brand new Daisy Air Rifles won during the competitions.

This year, Delta Wildlife, Daisy BB Guns, and the Mississippi State University Extension Service has teamed up again to host the Daisy BB Gun Booth.

Children aged 14 and under may shoot at the Daisy BB Gun booth during the entire weekend of the EXPO. Supervision will be provided by certified hunting and gun safety instructors with the Mississippi State Extension Service and 4-H. Children may shoot all day, free of charge. This will give parents and children alike the opportunity to learn more about shooting, gun safety, and proper gun handling.

In addition to casual shooting, there will also be two Daisy Air Rifle Tournaments. Children can sign up at the Daisy BB Gun booth and compete for a new air rifle. The Tournaments will be held Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Public Hearing on Yazoo Backwater Project Slated for November 9

THE VICKSBURG District Corps of Engineers has distributed the Draft Reformulation Report for the Yazoo Backwater Project for review by interested parties. As part of the review process, the Corps of Engineers is required to hold a public hearing which is scheduled for November 9, 2000, at the South Delta High School auditorium in Rolling Fork.

"The Mississippi Levee Board is encouraging all Delta citizens to come out and show their support for this crucial plan," said Lawrence Carter of Rolling Fork, a commissioner for the Mississippi Levee Board.

The Corps of Engineers, as part of their review, considered and evaluated seven plans for the South Delta including a full non-structural alternative and the Virginia Tech non-structural plan that was prepared for Region IV Environmental Protection Agency. As a result of the Corps of Engineers' studies, the Draft Report recommends plan 5, which is being supported by the Mississippi Levee Board.

The features of the recommended plan include the construction of a 14,000 cfs pumping plant which will be turned on and off at an elevation of 87 feet; reforestation easements on the 62,500 acres of developed land below the 87 foot elevation which will receive no benefits from the pump; and the operation of the Steele Bayou Structure to increase the low water stages in the basin from the current stages of 68.5 to 70 feet elevation to a range of 70 to 73 foot elevation.

As part of the reforestation easements, the Corps will provide the initial tree planting and replant until a 70% survival rate is achieved. The title to the land will remain in the name of the landowner who will be able to utilize this property for hunting, silviculture, and other purposes so long as timber is maintained on the land.

Following the public meeting, the record will remain open for thirty days for written comments by anyone having interest in this project. The Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners feels that the recommended plan provides a balance of economic and environmental benefits to the area.

Tech non-structural plan that was prepared for Region IV Environmental Protection Agency. As a result of the Corps of Engineers' studies, the Draft Report recommends plan 5, which is being supported by the Mississippi Levee Board.

The features of the recommended plan include the construction of a 14,000 cfs pumping plant which will be turned on and off at an elevation of 87 feet; reforestation easements on the 62,500 acres of developed land below the 87 foot elevation which will receive no benefits from the pump; and the operation of the Steele Bayou Structure to increase the low water stages in the basin from the current stages of 68.5 to 70 feet elevation to a range of 70 to 73 foot elevation.

As part of the reforestation easements, the Corps will provide the initial tree planting and replant until a 70% survival rate is achieved. The title to the land will remain in the name of the landowner who will be able to utilize this property for hunting, silviculture, and other purposes so long as timber is maintained on the land.

Following the public meeting, the record will remain open for thirty days for written comments by anyone having interest in this project. The Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners feels that the recommended plan provides a balance of economic and environmental benefits to the area.

Keenum to Address Delta Council Board Meeting on November 17

DELTA COUNCIL President Kenneth Hood of Gunnison announces that the Delta Council Mid-Year Board of Directors meeting will be held on Friday, November 17, 2000, at 10 a.m. in the Delta Room of the Ewing Building on the campus of Delta State University.

Hood said that the featured speaker for the board meeting will be Dr. Mark Keenum, chief of staff for Senator Thad Cochran.

"Mark Keenum has been a real friend to the Mississippi Delta in his capacity as chief of staff for Senator Cochran, and we look forward to his comments about things happening in Washington that affect the Mississippi Delta," said Hood. "If it is higher education, ag research, highway improvements, or flood protection, the Delta looks to Senator Cochran for advancing our region's development."

Keenum, who received his B. S., M. A., and Ph.D. degrees at Mississippi State University, has been with Senator Cochran's staff for 11 years. He is married to the former Rhonda Newman of Booneville, and his parents live in Belzoni.

In addition to Keenum's talk, the Delta Council Board of Directors will review and act upon policy resolutions from Delta Council committees, and the officers of the organization will present a brief report on some of the major highlights of the organization's activities over the past six months.

For Tennessee cotton farmer...

Bushel of wheat pays off in no-till production system A bushel of wheat may not bring much in the commodity market these days. But it sure can make a difference in no-till cotton production. Just ask cotton producer Willie German.

German farms a little over 3,000 acres of non-irrigated, no-till cotton in Somerville, Tenn. He put up the plows and disks over a decade ago because of an urgent need to keep soil from eroding and to deal with a diminishing farm labor force in the region.

"As we started farming more and more land, with good labor being so tough to find and our highly erodible land, we needed something to hold the soil in place. We would get the land worked up like a flower bed, get a 3- to 4-inch rain and end up with all these washes out there. All your creeks would be muddy again and full of sediment."

The move to no-till not only keeps the soil in place and waters clean, but it keeps farm chemicals and fertilizers out of the Bear Creek Watershed, since these products cannot and do not run off into waterways unless they are attached to soil particles.

It also decreased German's reliance on equipment and labor. "When we were farming conventionally, at planting we had three 8-row planters, three disks going and three Do-als going. If any one of those pieces of equipment broke down, that stopped at least one planter.

"With no-till, we have three planters ready to no-till cotton and a fourth tractor ready to go in case something happens to a tractor. We can always keep those three planters going. That's how we get it in so quick. We can get it in in 10 days without really pushing hard."

A wheat cover crop has added even more benefits to no-till, according to German, including better moisture and soil conservation, the protection of young cotton seedlings and increased soil organic matter.

"Once the cover crop is burned down prior to planting, the wheat will help hold that moisture near the top of the soil profile," German said. "I don't have to chase the moisture down to put my seed in. I can keep it just the depth I want it."

After cotton emergence, the wheat cover, "will protect the young cotton seedlings from the north wind."

The wheat root system will continue to hold the soil together, even after it's killed, at least long enough for cotton to get big enough to start shading the ground and protect the soil from the impact of rain.

Another reason to grow a cover crop is to put organic matter back into the soil. "We have seen a big difference in that," the producer said. "Just a bushel of wheat will make a lot of cover. We are actually putting more organic matter back into the soil than we're taking out. And we have some farms that are continuous cotton."

This season, German burned down his wheat cover on March 25, which was a little earlier than usual because the warm winter had promoted a lot of growth in the cover crop. He planted his cotton May 12 using three Case IH no-till planters, equipped with trash removers.

All German's cotton acreage was planted in stacked gene varieties (Roundup Ready/Bollgard), planted at 45,000 plants per acre. A 4 percent refuge was planted in conventional cotton.

He planted Gaucho-treated seed and included a hopper box treatment of Ridomil, an in-furrow fungicide. Interestingly, the producer did not use a burndown herbicide or residual herbicides at planting.

"We were a little scared about not putting out Roundup at planting. But we had such a good cover crop of wheat, which kept weeds shaded and the Roundup did such a good job of killing the wheat in March. We knew we would be coming back soon with Roundup over-the-top of the young cotton."

He had to hustle, though. "You've got to be timely with it and be ready to hit that window," the producer said. "So as soon as that cotton started cracking the ground, we put the first shot out."

That application of Roundup, at a pint and a half, was begun five days after planting, May 17. He added an ounce and a half of Ammo for cutworms.

Since he hadn't put out any pre-emerge at planting, he also figured he would need a second application of Roundup. He didn't waste any time there either.

He made that application on May 24. "We didn't use anything else until layby, when we put out Karmex at a three-fourths pound an acre. That's all the herbicide this cotton crop has on it. It's the cleanest crop we've ever had."

German says that because of his no-till/wheat cover program, all of the land he farms is in better shape today than it was 10 years ago. "All the folks that let us farm their land know that we're going to take good care of it, just like we do the land we own."

One more benefit to German's no-till/wheat cover program became very evident this growing season. With little rainfall and no irrigation, the moisture-conserving characteristics of the practice seemed to delay the impact of extreme dry weather the region experienced this year. "I don't think our yields are going to suffer as much from the drought because the no-till and the wheat."

Sen. Lott Includes Funding For U.S. 82, I-69 Bridges

EFFORTS BY Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi have allowed work to be accelerated on a new four-lane U.S. 82 bridge in Greenville, as well as providing funds for planning and design to begin on the "Great River Bridge" - a part of the Interstate 69 project.

The Transportation Appropriation bill included $100 million for the new four-lane U.S. 82 bridge that connects Washington County, Mississippi, and Chicot County, Arkansas. The existing two-lane bridge, which has been declared a navigation hazard, will be replaced with a $200 million four-lane structure 3,000 feet south of the existing structure.

Pre-construction work on the bridge is already underway, and it is estimated the new structure could be complete within the next five years.

"Senator Lott's efforts in securing this level of funding for the U.S. 82 Bridge replacement will make this project move forward at an unprecedented construction schedule," said Delta Council President Kenneth Hood of Gunnison. "This bridge crossing has been a top priority for Delta Council, the city of Greenville, our regional and state public officials, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and we are glad that this project is on a fast track."

The bill also contains $8 million for planning and design work on the "Great River Bridge", which is to be built across the Mississippi River in the Scott area to the Arkansas City/McGehee, Arkansas, area. The "Great River Bridge" project is eventually scheduled to become part of the Interstate 69 proposal, which will link Indianapolis to Houston, Texas, and traverse through Northwest Mississippi.

Lott has continually said that he is committed to seeing both bridges built as soon as possible. "This is not an either-or proposition," Lott said. "Our two states (Mississippi and Arkansas) vitally need both bridges which will benefit one of the poorest areas in the nation."

Whitetail deer made impressive comeback

I never cease to be amazed at the things I see and read about our wonderful whitetail deer. A recent article in the magazine Mississippi Game & Fish highlights deer hunting in my former home county of Tallahatchie, Miss., which takes in a considerable amount of hill land and an almost equal amount of Delta land. The story told of how Tallahatchie County is now producing large numbers of deer and bagging some of the nicest heads in the state.

I have misplaced the copy of the book that gives the names of the fellows who have come up with these trophy bucks, but the photos show that they are exceptional, some easily in Boone and Crockett class. I recall that one of the trophies was taken in the bottomland that encompasses Tallahatchie River, and one of them came from the hill portion in near the hamlet of Enid, Miss.

I find the tales of great interest because I grew up in that fine old county. My introduction to deer hunting took place there back in the early 1930s while I was still in high school.

What a difference a few decades make! I well recall that the first wild deer I ever saw was in the wooded region along Tallahatchie River proper in the neighborhood of Black Bayou and in the middle of the famous floodplain that was noted all over the country for its duck hunting. Many thousands of mallard used it since the river with great regularity flooded its great expanses of pin oak acorn woods and many acres of downed timber that had died due to constant flooding.

The grown men in the vicinity of Charleston had long before built a somewhat primitive camp house on the banks of Black Bayou. It was used all fall and winter, mostly by duck hunters, but sometimes by the same men who attempted to hunt deer when the woods were not flooded.

We youngsters were granted the privilege of hunting out of this camp. One hunt around Christmas, I encountered my first wild deer. A friend, Hayden Pritchard, and I took stands back in the woods near the river. As was almost always the case, however, Mr. Houston's fine old hounds failed to turn up a "race" and about noon we decided to give it up for the day.

Just a short distance from were we had been sitting, however, one of the dogs (a famous old hound called Belle) let out a bellow nearby. Before we knew it, a huge old doe crashed up out of a treetop and gave us a rear-end view as Belle took off in pursuit. I am glad neither of us had any chance for a shot, since the season was closed on does (although very few hunters paid much attention to the law back then).

We stood around listening to the dogs' cries until they disappeared in the vicinity of the camp site. Then faintly we began hearing shooting, obviously coming from more than one gun. Hurrying along, we arrived in camp to find that the doe had run right through the camp yard, and those present with guns all took shots at her as she took off across the shallow, frozen deadening that ran up to the camp site. According to witnesses, the ice would not quite bear her weight, but somehow she managed to stumble along and reach the refuge of dry land with heavy timber and was seen no more.

A couple of years later even the most dyed-in-the-wool deer hunters gave it up in Tallahatchie County. I recall hearing two or three old hunters claim that they had killed the last deer in Tallahatchie County. The odd thing is that those fellows made those statements in a bragging sort of way, as if they should have been rewarded for killing the last deer.

They may have actually killed the last deer in the county, but I doubt they did. Right after the end of World War II, deer began showing up in the county (as they did over much of the state, especially in the Delta bottomland). They may have migrated to some extent from the lower Delta, but I think not. The wily whitetail is a survivor and I am quite sure that a few of them hung on, and that the hunters mentioned above did not kill the last deer in Tallahatchie County.

New Weather Station in Stoneville

A COOPERATIVE effort between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the USDA, the World Agricultural Outlook Board, MSU, the Delta Research Extension Center, and Meteor Communications, Inc. has established a master receiving station communications facility on DREC's facility in the Stoneville area.

This master station uses meteor burst communication technology for data transmission. This method of transmission provides two-way, long range data communication, up to 1000 miles in all directions, by reflecting bursts of compressed data off the ionized trails left by micro-meteors as they enter Earth's atmosphere.

This form of data communication precludes the need for costly landlines. The Stoneville master station became operational September 20, 2000. This master station collects weather and soil data from numerous meteor burst weather stations within a 1000-mile radius. Mississippi has seven of these weather stations, including four in the Delta. Plans are underway for many more meteor burst weather stations throughout the agricultural areas of the U.S. The master station located at Stoneville will provide access to a tremendous amount of weather data from the Central Plains to areas in Mexico and the Caribbean. This data could then be disseminated for use by the public and private sector.

The World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) has hired Lee Crowley to fill the vacant Agricultural Meteorologist position in the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility (JAWF) Stoneville Field Office. Lee is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University (MSU) with a degree in Geosciences. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the WAOB operate JAWF. The Stoneville Field Office was opened in October, 1998, and is co-located with MSU's Delta Research Extension Center (DREC) Weather-GIS Data Center. The purpose of this office is to collect, quality control, and manage agricultural weather data and make it available to public and private sector analysts. Lee is looking forward to working with Delta farmers and researchers for many years to come.

An Overview:

2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO DELTA WILDLIFE would like to encourage you to attend the 2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO. The Delta Wildlife EXPO opens Friday, November 3rd, at 3:00 p.m. and will continue through Sunday, November 5th, at 5:00 p.m. The EXPO will be held at the Washington County Convention Center in Greenville, Mississippi.

Delta Wildlife's mission is to conserve, enhance, and restore the natural and wildlife resources of the Mississippi Delta. It is the region's largest and oldest charitable, non-profit conservation organization. Delta Wildlife has improved more than 67,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Mississippi Delta through wildlife management plans, wildlife food plots, wetland restoration, fisheries restoration, and reforestation in the year 2000 alone. All proceeds from the 2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO go to support these and similar efforts in 2001.

The Delta Wildlife EXPO Committee and staff have worked hard to produce an exceptional wildlife show this year. Educational presentations on topics such as Quail Management, Trophy Deer Management, Turkey Calling, Wild Game Cooking, and Duck Calling will highlight the seminar schedule. And with attractions such as the "Monster Bucks of Arkansas," "The Rock," and "The Traveling Fish Tank," the Delta Wildlife EXPO is the place to be for all outdoor enthusiasts and families.

Exhibitors from all over the country will be at the EXPO selling and displaying the latest hunting equipment, camo clothing, decorative items, wildlife art, 4-wheelers, 4-wheel drive trucks, deer stands, archery equipment, optics, books, boats, fishing supplies, game calls, game scents, crafts, carvings, and food. From the weekend warrior to the most discriminating holiday shopper, there will be something for everyone at the 2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO.

Don't forget the kids! Delta Wildlife has several attractions and events that are sure to please an army of children. "The Rock" is a 28-foot wall that simulates the face of a mountain. Your kids (or maybe even you) can strap on the safety harnesses and try their hands at rock climbing. Or maybe your children are more interested in "out-doing" their buddies. If that's the case, a friendly shooting contest may do the trick at the Daisy Air Rifle Tournament.

A new competitive spirit will also be materializing at this year's EXPO. For bragging rights, cash money, and lots of prizes, sports-men, women, and children can compete in a number of sporting events at the EXPO. The second day of the EXPO will start off at sunrise at the Greenville waterfront, as the 1st Annual Delta Wildlife Bass Tournament will begin.

At 8:00 a.m. Saturday, the Sporting Clays Fun Shoot will begin at Levee Break Outfitters. At 11:00 a.m., the National Wild Turkey Federation will host a children's turkey calling contest for "Jakes" on the main stage at the EXPO. And at 2:00 p.m., the Archery Tournament will begin. Awards and prizes will be presented for each of these events on the main stage at the Delta Wildlife EXPO on Saturday afternoon.

In addition to the hundred exhibitors, 42-foot aquarium, 28-foot mountain, trucks, boats, and ATV's, there is another reason to come out to the Delta Wildlife EXPO. The Washington County Convention Center has recently undergone an extensive expansion, adding a new main stage, restrooms, and other amenities. The Delta Wildlife EXPO will serve as the first public event held at the building since the expansion and renovation work has been completed.

So come out to the 2000 Delta Wildlife EXPO and enjoy!

Cotton millers given first-hand look

COTTON COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL'S ORIENTATION TOUR Participants in Cotton Council International's 31st annual Cotton USA Orientation Tour recently learned first-hand how plant genetics affect the quality of the cotton fiber they are using at their mills.

At a tour stop at Delta Council in Stoneville, Miss., cotton millers from 17 countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan and Turkey, attended class with cotton geneticist Bill Meredith.

Meredith, a researcher at USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Stoneville, Miss., educated his captive audience about the fiber and yield characteristics of cotton varieties grown in the United States, most of which, he says, come from the Mid-South.

According to Meredith, 60.2 percent of all cotton acreage in the United States in 1999 was planted to transgenic varieties. In Mississippi, that figure was even higher, with 82 percent of the state's cotton acreage in transgenic varieties. But, Meredith says, whether farmers are growing conventional varieties or transgenic varieties doesn't factor into the fiber quality of U.S. cotton.

As an example, Meredith provided his students with the average length, micronaire and fiber strength for BXN47, which includes the BXN gene, and the fiber properties of its parent line, Stoneville 474. There were, he says, no statistical differences over several years and conditions for any of the measurable fiber properties.

"The individual variety will determine the fiber quality, not the transgenic trait," Meredith says. "From a fiber standpoint, there is nothing about the transgenics that give a plus or a minus to millers." There's also, he says, not much difference in yield or fiber consistency between conventional and transgenic varieties. "Again, it's a varietal difference."

Why then, do cotton producers grow transgenics if they don't provide any yield or quality advantage? "It's for the simplicity of management they offer and the fact that they do a very good job controlling pests," Meredith says.

The factors that do affect fiber properties, he says, are variety, fruiting position, environment and genetics. According to Meredith, the West, due to its environment, produces the cotton with the lowest micronaire. And, while the Southeast and the Mississippi Delta produced stronger cotton over the last 12 years than either the Plains or the San Joaquin Valley, varietal differences resulted in 20 percent stronger cotton in the San Joaquin valley.

Cotton fiber length, he says, is also longer in the Southeast and the Delta when variety effects are eliminated. However, the cotton varieties planted in the West are bred to be longer and stronger than those planted in the Mid-South and Southeast. "It's not the environmental effects of the region, it's the varietal effects," Meredith says.

Why don't geneticists breed better, stronger cotton in the Delta? The simple answer is yield potential. "The yield potential of most of the high-quality varieties grown in the San Joaquin Valley are substantially lower," he says. "For every increment of increased length there is the same incremental decrease in yield. Because of that, there's no price incentive to do it."

Using fiber strength as a measuring tool, if you took the very worst cotton variety produced in the Mississippi Delta and compared it to the very best grown in the United States, you would only see about a $2 difference in the value of that bale, Meredith says.

Sponsored by Cotton Council International, the Cotton USA tour included executives from 27 textile mills from 17 countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe. The companies represented are expected to use about 1.3 million bales of cotton in the 2000 marketing year.

"The companies represented on the tour already consume about 600,000 bales of U.S. cotton annually, but hopefully, as a result of this year's tour, that usage will increase," says Cotton Council International President Larry Nelson, an Edmonson, Texas, cotton producer and ginner. "Over the years, the Orientation Tour has led many foreign textile manufacturers to develop an appreciation for U.S. cotton fiber quality and has furthered the U.S. cotton industry's reputation as a reliable supplier. The tour continues to be an excellent vehicle for helping our industry capture additional market share oversees."

The Washington, D.C.-based Cotton Council International is National Cotton Council's export promotions arm and is dedicated to increasing U.S. exports of cotton, cottonseed, and U.S.-manufactured products.