The survey results provide consistent evidence that many practices and technologies developed, studied or demonstrated through SSP funding are being adopted by growers; often by a substantial majority of growers. A review of the surrounding scientific and educational literature suggests that these practices are largely sound and frequently enhance the profitability of growing cotton. The extent of adoption varies considerably throughout our sample and likely reflects a variety of factors including: differences in soil type, resource availability, climate and farm size. It seems likely that patterns of adoption will remain somewhat uneven as technical innovations evolve in response to dynamic economic and environmental conditions. Ultimately, we conclude that the knowledge gained through Southeastern Region State Support Program (SSP) funding is effectively focused and disseminated and is widely incorporated into the farming practices of the cotton growing population.
The current SSP operating model, whereby state-based grower committees review proposals submitted by University or Experiment Station-based research and Extension scientists, appears to be functioning well. Survey responses reflect a measure of credibility for research results, especially for work conducted on growers' farms, rather than on state, county, or federal research facilities. This approach solidifies a key linkage between growers and a trusted, credible source for information. Future efforts may seek to target younger farmers, especially with regard to the use of new and emerging technologies (e.g. precision agriculture) as well as new ways to effectively deliver information. Identifying farming operations that have not been successful at adopting profitable practices may also prove valuable for understanding potential limitations and barriers.