MEMPHIS – Ten Far West cotton producers will see cotton operations in Georgia on August 3-6 as part of the 2015 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 27th year of helping its U.S. cotton producer participants improve yields and fiber quality – and has exposed more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own. 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.
This year's Southeast P.I.E. tour participants are: Arizona – David Collins, Willcox; Alex Heiden, Buckeye; Jace Householder, Thatcher; and Daniel Pacheco, Oro Valley; California – Bob Bertao and Natasha Crivelli, both from Dos Palos; Derric Kirschenmann, Shafter; Mike Newton, Stratford; Jerry Salvador, Fresno; and Justin Sandlin, El Nido.
Following an orientation and overview on cotton production in the Southeast, these Far West producers will begin their Georgia tour on August 3 with a tour of the 1888 Mills, LLC in Griffin, learn about the Georgia peach industry at Lane Packing Company in Fort Valley, and then 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 Tifton where they will learn about peanut harvesting and tillage equipment at Kelley Manufacturing, see peanut handling/shelling at Tifton Quality Peanuts and learn about South Georgia vegetable production at Lewis Taylor Farms. That day's activities end with a visit to Bart Davis Farms in Doerun where the group will observe cotton and beef cattle production.
On August 5, the group will travel to Albany for visits to the Miller Brewing Company for a presentation on automated machinery for product handling and to Thrush Aircraft for a look at agricultural aircraft manufacturing. Other activities that day include a tour of Bayer CropScience's CAP trials near Plains, a look at cotton, peanut and grain production at RCL Farms in Bronwood, and tours of area cotton farms.
The tour concludes on August 6 with a presentation on drip irrigation for cotton and peanut production at Southeastern Gin Company in Surrency and a look at cotton and tobacco production at the FMR Burch Farm in Screven.
This season's other P.I.E. tours had Southeast producers seeing California operations on July 13-16 and Mid-South producers touring Texas on July 27-30. Southwest producers are scheduled to visit Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi on August 16-21.