MEMPHIS – Eight Mid-South cotton producers will see cotton operations in Georgia on June 24-28 as part of the 2013 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 25th 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. Upon completion of this year's tours, the P.I.E. program will have exposed more than 1,050 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own.
Tour participants are: Arkansas – Laudies Brantley, England; Louisiana – Colt Oswalt and Becca Thom, Lake Providence; and Mississippi – Clint Dunn, Itta Bena; Will Jones, Tchula; Ruffin Smith, Louise; and Ron Goodman and Jack Phillips, Yazoo City.
Following an orientation on June 23, these Mid-South producers will begin their tour the next day in Atlanta with a presentation from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black at the Georgia Department of Agriculture. They will then learn about: the Georgia peach industry during a visit to Lane Packing Company in Fort Valley and the Georgia cotton industry at the Georgia Cotton Commission in Perry. They also will visit the Coley Gin and Fertilizer Company in Vienna before touring cotton farms in that area.
The group will begin the next day's activities in Albany at Miller Brewing Company with a presentation on automated machinery for product handling. They will hear about irrigation in southwest Georgia during a tour of McLendon and Webb Farms in Leary and later tour McCleskey Mills' peanut operations in Smithville before ending the day with a look at cotton, peanut and grain production at RCL Farms in Bronwood.
On the 26th, the group will see vegetable production at Lewis Taylor Farms near Tifton, visit the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, including a tour of Bayer CropScience's CAP trials, see pecan shelling at Harrell Pecan Company in Camilla and visit area farms, including Tom Stallings farm.
On the 27th, the group will learn about peanut harvesting and see tillage equipment during a tour of Kelley Manufacturing, KMC in Tifton, and then travel to Douglas to tour cotton farms in that area. That day's activities conclude with a presentation on drip irrigation for cotton and peanut production at Southeastern Gin Company in Surrency and a tour of area cotton and tobacco operations. The tour concludes on the 28th in Savannah with a visit to Lummus Corporation and a briefing on ginning equipment manufacturing.
This season's other P.I.E. tours will have Southeast producers traveling to Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi on July 7-12; Southwest producers visiting California on July 21-25; and Far West producers touring Texas on August 4-9.