The Arkansas Cotton Sustainability Field Day will be held at the Judd Hill Foundation Farm outside of Trumann, Ark., on Friday, July 30.
The field day will include tours of the Judd Hill Farm and discussions with producers and researchers. Sustainable systems on the farm are intended to show attendees that the operations can be profitable and meet the demands of today's consumers.
“There are so many organizations working together toward the goal of increasing sustainability in producing cotton, a crop valued at $361million in Arkansas in 2018,” said Bill Robertson, extension cotton agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“In this joint effort, we will see ongoing research and demonstration projects on the Judd Hill Foundation Research farm and the Judd Hill Foundation Commercial Farm in partnership with the outstanding cotton producers at Judd Hill, Jesse Flye and Marty White,” he said.
There will also be a discussion of cotton sustainability programs, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol (https://trustuscotton.org/) and the Better Cotton Initiative (https://bettercotton.org/). These programs are tools for brands and retailers, which place a high importance on the transparency of their supply chain for clean product solutions.
Producers will have the opportunity to discuss enrollment and training for the programs from representatives of both organizations.
On the agenda
Talks during the field day will include soil and water conservation research with comparative studies monitoring greenhouse gas production, edge-of-field water quality and soil health metrics as well as practices to improve irrigation water management and integrated pest management with Tina Teague, professor-entomology at Arkansas State and University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture; Michele Reba, research hydrologist and Arlene Adviento-Borbe, research agronomist, both at the USDA-ARS, Delta Water Management Research Unit.
Chuck Wilson, soils specialist at the Division of Agriculture will speak about soil fertility research evaluating the fertility needs of cotton following peanuts.
Participants will see conventional systems, cover crops and conservation tillage, and systems focused on improving producer profitability, with producers Marty White, Jesse Flye and Adam Chappell. Matt Fryer, extension soil instructor at the Division of Agriculture will also join the discussion.
“We will also have industry leaders discuss why it is important for producers to enroll in the sustainability programs that brands, and retailers are demanding,” Robertson said.
An update will be given on healthy soils for sustainable cotton program by David Lamm, project manager at the Soil Health Institute. Gary Adams, CEO of the National Cotton Council will talk about the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and Amna Bajwa, senior program officer at the Better Cotton Initiative will speak on BCI's 2030 Impact Targets.
Hank Reichle, president and CEO of Staple Cotton Cooperative Association will talk with participants regarding sourcing trends in the retail market.
A barbecue lunch will be provided by the Judd Hill Farm and Mike Gibson.
The field day has been organized under the umbrella of the Judd Hill Foundation by the University of Arkansas, USDA-ARS, Arkansas State University, USDA-NRCS, the Soil Health Institute, Cotton Incorporated, and the National Cotton Council.
The farm is located five miles south of Trumann, Ark., on Highway 214 in Poinsett County.