Cotton, corn, and soybean checkoff programs not only help to support research and promotion efforts at the national and international levels, they also return money to the states to fund projects specific to their producers’ needs.

Representatives of three producer-supported organizations in Mississippi outlined at the annual conference of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association how checkoff funds are used in their state.

Cotton checkoff program

In the 2009-10 crop year, Mississippi cotton producers contributed $1,005,000 to support the research and promotion efforts of Cotton Incorporated.

A large portion of that money came back to the state to support research programs of vital interest to Mississippi producers, says Bernie Jordan, Yazoo City, vice chairman of the Cotton Incorporated State Support Committee.

“This year, $243,000 in new funds, plus unspent and carryover funds of $153,655, was available to fund projects by Mississippi research personnel,” he said at the annual conference of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association.

Seven and a half percent of the state’s assessment, calculated on a five-year moving average, is designated for the support of state programs, Jordan notes.

“The Mississippi board of directors allocated $296,665 to nine research projects and two promotional projects.”

Kater Hake and Bob Nichols with Cotton Incorporated’s Agricultural Research Division work with the Delta Research and Extension Center at Stoneville, Miss., to determine which projects they believe have merit to improve cotton production in Mississippi and the Mid-South.

Projects currently receiving funding in the 2010-11 period include cotton demonstrations; reniform/root-knot nematode resistance genes; monitoring of heliothine insects for resistance to insecticides; cotton yield response to irrigation; effects of broiler byproducts on cotton fields; managing Mississippi cotton pests; management of volunteer crops in cotton; cotton yield response to residual N and K; research to counter development of cotton weed resistance; and support for the Delta Council’s educational programs and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s agricultural image campaign.

For 2011, Jordan notes, Cotton Incorporated’s budget, funded by producer and importer assessments, is $68 million.

“A Texas A&M study has shown that for every dollar invested in the research and promotion program, there was a $6 return on investment,” he says. “Today, cotton can be found on store shelves everywhere in most product categories, and cotton has more than a 60 percent share of the marketplace.”

Mississippi has four directors on the Cotton Incorporated board — Tom Robertson, Holly Ridge, who is chairman of the State Support Committee; Warren W. Sullivan, Tunica, chairman of the Consumer Marketing Committee; Pat Patterson, Nitta Yuma, a member of the Fiber Research Committee; and Jordan, who is also a member of the Global Strategy and Implementation Committee and the Governance Committee.

Alternate directors are Davis Owen, Robinsonville; Coley Bailey, Jr., Coffeeville; Kendall Garraway, Bolton; and Buddy Allen, Tunica.

Cotton Board directors named by the Secretary of Agriculture are Tom Gary, Greenwood, and Mike Sturdivant, Jr., Glendora.