Twelve Mid-South cotton producers will see cotton operations in North Carolina and South Carolina on July 18-21 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2016 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience LP via a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. program is now in its 28th 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: Arkansas – Barry Brantley, Lake Village; Louisiana – Kody Beavers, Fort Necessity; Casey Cater, Harrisonburg; Nathan Lee, Tallulah; and Clifton Mills and Ryan Wilkerson, both from Rayville; Mississippi – Paul Muirhead, Anguilla; John Thomas Robertson, Indianola; and Smith Stoner, Holly Bluff; Missouri – Gary Hayes, Portageville; and Tennessee – Adrian Smith, Grand Junction; and Alex Youngerman, Lexington.
The group will spend the first two days in North Carolina. On July 18 in Raleigh they will visit Bayer CropScience LP’s headquarters for presentations on innovative technologies and the biotechnology regulatory environment and a greenhouse tour focusing on cotton plant cultivation and trait characterization. They also will visit the company’s Bee Care Center before traveling to nearby Sanford for a look at yarn spinning at Frontier Mills.
The next day will include visits to Cotton Incorporated’s headquarters in Cary, Cotton Growers Co-Op in Garner, Mount Olive Pickle in Mount Olive and Warren Brothers Farms in Newton Grove, where the group will look at tobacco, cotton, sweet potato and swine production.
On July 20, the cotton producers will travel to South Carolina for a look at the Bayer CAP Trials and then visit the Nucor Steel Plant and the Sonoco Paper Products plant, both in Hartsville. On July 21, they will observe cotton and peanut production at John Hane Farms in Saint Matthews; see peanut receiving and handling at the Palmetto Peanut operation in Cameron; and look at commercial sod production and harvesting at a Super Sod facility outside of Orangeburg.
This season’s other P.I.E. tours will have Southeast producers visiting Mid-South operations on July 24-29; Southwest producers touring California’s San Joaquin Valley on July 31-August 5; and Western producers observing operations in two of Texas’ cotton production regions on August 14-19. The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.