A tough national economy and challenging times in marketing U.S. cotton did not interfere with the turnout for the 2009 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in historic San Antonio.
Initial figures show 3,015 attended the annual Beltwide event to start out this year.
"That's a positive number," says T. Cotton Nelson, spokesman for the National Cotton Council, Memphis, Tenn. "Really great, in fact."
He should know. The 2009 event marked Nelson's 25th consecutive Beltwide Cotton Conferences.
Nelson says people from producers to others in the cotton industry really enjoy coming to San Antonio.
The Texas enthusiasm, despite current extremely dry conditions and a lackluster price outlook, is reflected in that the state still is expected to plant about 5 million acres of cotton in 2009—or roughly the same as the 4.9 million acres planted last year—especially if rains come in the spring.
The Beltwide Cotton Conferences, and the wealth of timely information producers and others can plug into, return to New Orleans in 2010. The last time the conferences were held in New Orleans was January 2007, immediately following the fall 2006 Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
"We'll never forget that one," Marjory Walker of the NCC team adds.