MEMPHIS, TN – South Texas cotton producers will host cotton producers from the Mid-South Aug. 10-13 as part of the 2003 National Cotton Council/FMC Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
The program, now in its 15th year, is managed by the NCC’s Member Services staff and supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from FMC Corporation. The program’s overall aim is to help America’s cotton producers become more efficient by speeding up their adoption of proven technology and innovative farming methods.
Ed Cherry, FMC’s manager, government regulations and agribusiness affairs, sees the exchange program as even more important now than when it began in 1989 because producers today have to be much more responsive to change. "When growers see a new farming method or tool firsthand, they are more likely to risk putting it to work on their farms," Cherry said. "We’ve seen, for example, growers in West Texas go back and install drip irrigation on their farms after seeing it at a Western operation."
Cotton Foundation Chairman Don Cameron, a Helm, CA, producer, said the P.I.E. program is an outstanding way to encourage U.S. cotton producers to maximize their production efficiency and speed up the adoption of proven farm technology and practices. "The participants get a unique opportunity to ask questions and interact with their peers to gain a deeper understanding about what works and doesn’t work," Cameron said.
The growers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee will begin their tour Aug. 10 with tours of individual farms in the Progresso area. The next day, they will visit the Valley Coop Oil Mill and see aloe production and Rio Farms in Harlingen before taking more individual farm tours in the Monte Alto area.
On the 12th, the group will tour the King Ranch and Farms at Kingsville before visiting the Gulf Compress and Plains Cotton Cooperative Association offices in Corpus Christi. The next day the group will tour the Kiewit Facility and Port of Corpus Christi and then individual farms in the area.
As part of the 2003 P.I.E. program, producers from Arizona and California visited the Southeast, July 20-24, producers from Texas and Oklahoma traveled to the Mid-South, July 27-July 31; and Southeast producers toured California’s San Joaquin Valley Aug. 3-6.
Upon completion of the 2003 tours, the P.I.E. program will have exposed nearly 700 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices and technology in regions different than their own.