MEMPHIS – A group of Sunbelt growers will see agricultural production/processing and agribusiness operations in North Dakota during August 6-10 as part of the National Cotton Council’s Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).
The exchange between commodity producer leaders in the Sunbelt and the Midwest/Far West regions is designed to provide the program’s participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region and 2) an opportunity to observe agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with grants from Deere & Company and Monsanto.
The NCC member Sunbelt participants and the regional interest organizations they represent include: Donny Lassiter, Conway, NC (North Carolina Cotton Producers); Ronald Lee, Bronwood, GA (Southern Cotton Growers Association); John Willis, Brownsville, TN (American Agriculture Movement of Tennessee); Lawrence Long, Indianola, MS (Delta Council); Bryan Patterson, Amherst, TX (Plains Cotton Growers Association); Stuart Posey, Roby, TX (Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association); Mark McKean, Riverdale, CA (California Cotton Growers Association); and Paco Ollerton, Casa Grande, AZ (Arizona Cotton Growers Association). Among crops that the participants raise, besides cotton, are: corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, sunflowers, hay, tomatoes, onion, garlic and watermelon.
The MCEP was launched last October when producers from the Midwest/Far West traveled to North Carolina to observe cotton production/processing and other agricultural operations. That itinerary was developed by NCC staff in cooperation with local organizations and leaders and the trip was coordinated by NCC’s Member Services.
The upcoming North Dakota tour was arranged by the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.
The Sunbelt participants will get to see production of various commodities, including wheat, barley, corn, sunflowers, canola, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans and edible beans.
They will start their tour on August 6 in Fargo with an orientation to Midwest agriculture followed by tours of a farm in Valley City and then Busch Agricultural Resources in Moorhead, Minn. The next day back in North Dakota, the group will visit a farm in the Jamestown area and the John Deere Air Seeder Plant in Valley City, and then tour a farm, Extension plots and the Mapleton Winery in Casselton.
On August 8th, the group will see a canola/sunflower processing plant in West Fargo as well as corn production and milling in the Grand Forks area. The next day includes tours of a sugar beet farm/plant in the Grand Forks area and a canola field plot in Minot. The week’s activities conclude on August 10 with a visit to the Blue Flint Ethanol Plant in Falkirk.
“The Multi-Commodity Exchange Program is increasing the awareness among participants regarding the many challenges facing farmers in this nation, and it is creating strong and lasting relationships between producer leaders of American agriculture,” NCC President/CEO Mark Lange said. “The North Carolina exchange last October was very successful and we believe our Sunbelt growers will also find the program provided by North Dakota Grain Growers Association highly productive and one that will further build on grower interaction.”