Quick, what state east of the Mississippi River had the most cotton acres this year? It’s Georgia, which planted 1.25 million acres to cotton in 2010.

Georgia will also hold another distinction as 2011 gets under way. For the first time since 2002, the Peach State will host the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, to be held Jan. 4-7, 2011, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Ga.

If you’re attending the National Cotton Council-coordinated Beltwide to hear a frank discussion of current issues, plan to arrive early on Jan. 4. The event will kick off this year with the fourth annual Cotton Consultants Conference. The insightful mix of technical information and candid conversation will begin at Tuesday, Jan. 4, at noon, and conclude at 6 p.m., in time for dinner in one of Atlanta’s fine restaurants.

For hotel and event registration, links, preliminary program and information, go to http://www.cotton.org/beltwide/

According to Bill Robertson, NCC Beltwide Conference coordinator, the Cotton Consultants Conference is open to all individuals who desire technical pest management and production related updates needed in the development of efficacious and cost-effective management decisions.

Crop consultants, county Extension agents, dealer and distributor field representatives, industry field and technical representatives as well as producers looking for technical information are encouraged to attend.

“The conference also presents a great opportunity for consultants to network with one another,” Robertson said. “So we’ll have several panel discussions and updates from different parts of the country. We’ll have a consultant from the Southeast, the Mid-South, the Panhandle region of Texas and south Texas.”

The panelists will discuss problems they encountered this season, solutions to those problems as well as plans for the coming year. According to Robertson, the format will allow ample time for interaction and questions from the audience.

Discussion topics will likely include weed resistance issues as well as the performance of two-gene Bt cotton, which received numerous oversprays for worms in some areas this season. Participants will discuss which technologies “held up better than others,” Robertson said.

Sponsors Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences will also have 15 minutes each to deliver technical information to the audience. “In the past, much of this discussion has centered around varieties and new technology such as herbicide-resistant technology,” Robertson said.

The 2011 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will also include an irrigation workshop, focusing on irrigation scheduling techniques and drip irrigation.

How will your cotton budget price out for 2011? Are cotton prices at 75-85 cents competitive with corn and soybeans? The Beltwide will include a cotton price outlook from Gary Adams, NCC vice president of economics and policy analysis.

The Beltwide Cotton Conferences bring together those with a stake in maintaining a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including cotton industry members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, consultants, and service providers, to share timely information.

Conferences’ programming is designed to update U.S. cotton producers on new technology, innovative and effective production practices, and key industry issues.