EPA Officials Learn About Cotton Pest/Weed Management Challenges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Key EPA officials will visit South Georgia cotton farms on August 15-17 to hear firsthand how producers are tackling weed and other cotton pest management challenges that threaten their viability.

The National Cotton Council is coordinating the farm visits as part of The Cotton Foundation’s 2022 Educational Outreach Program. The 10-member EPA contingent represents chemical safety, pesticide programs and other agency departments.

“Herbicide resistance, for example, is a growing threat to efficient cotton production, particularly in the Southeast and Mid-South regions of the Cotton Belt,” said Don Parker, the NCC’s vice president, Technical Services and Cotton Foundation executive director. “The goal is for these EPA staffers to gain a more thorough understanding of the challenges U.S. cotton producers face and the creative strategies they are employing in managing weeds, insects, nematodes and diseases. That includes the prudent use of pesticides and other environmentally-sensitive farming practices.”

On Aug. 15, the group will visit the first site in Georgia to have confirmed glyphosate resistant pigweed and then tour a multi-crop farm of Howard James in Byromville and Matt Coley’s cotton farm in Vienna. The next day, the group will see University of Georgia research on its Ponder Farm in Ty Ty before visiting Lewis Taylor Farms, a multi-crop operation in Tifton. They end that day by hearing from Georgia Extension staff regarding the importance of and changes in usage of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides and the critical need for seed treatments.

The final day, the group will visit the cotton farms of Bart Davis in Doerun, Ronnie Lee in Dawson and Jimmy Webb in Leary.