MEMPHIS – Ten Arizona and California cotton producers will see cotton operations in North Carolina August 6-9 as part of the 2012 National Cotton Council's Producer Information Exchange program (P.I.E.).
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience via a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. program is now in its 24th year of helping its U.S. cotton producer participants improve yields and fiber quality. Specifically, the program helps producers improve their overall farming operation efficiency by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting and 2) observing firsthand the unique ways in which their peers are using current technology.
Following an orientation on August 5, the Far West region producers will begin their tour the next day with a visit to Bayer CropScience headquarters in Morrisville and then a look at the company's new variety farm trials in Scotland Neck before touring Nucor Steel in Cofield and Lassiter Farms in Conway.
The next day they will tour Baker's Southern Tradition Peanuts facility in Roxobel before visiting the Roanoke Tar Cotton Gin in Everetts for a presentation on eastern North Carolina cotton production. Later, they will visit Flatland Farms and Associates in Pantego for a look at cotton production in the state's Blacklands area before getting a presentation on seed production and cleaning for commercial use at the J.P. Davenport facility in Greenville.
On August 8, the group will tour the PCS Phosphate Mine in Aurora, see tobacco and cotton production on Heath Farms in Dover; tour the Mount Olive Pickle facility in Mount Olive; and observe tobacco, cotton, sweet potato and swine production at the Warren Brothers Farms in Littleton. The tour concludes on August 9 with a presentation on southern North Carolina cotton production at the Hoke Robeson Gin in Red Springs and a tour of Frontier Spinning Mills in Sanford.
The Far West cotton producer participants include: Arizona – Nick Bagnall, Coolidge; Hal Heiden and Robyn Ollerton, both from Buckeye; Marvin Marlatt, Tacna; and Jennifer Wakimoto, Bullhead City; California – John Bennett, Firebaugh; Jim Bertao, Dos Palos; Ryan Seiler, Blythe; Jake Sheely, Lemoore; and Zack Stoller, Exeter.
In mid-July, Southeast producers visited California's San Joaquin Valley and Southwest producers toured the Mid-South. The remaining of the four 2012 P.I.E. tours will have Mid-South producers traveling to Texas on August 19-24. Upon completion of this year's tours, the P.I.E. program will have exposed more than 1,000 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own.