MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Eleven cotton producers from the Mid-South will see cotton and other agriculture-related operations in Texas on August 20-23 as part of the 2018 National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.).
Sponsored by Crop Science, a division of Bayer, through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 30th year and has exposed more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own.
Specifically, the program aims to help the cotton producer participants boost their farming 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 innovative peers are using current technology. A unique program benefit is that the participants get to ask questions of both the producers they visit on the tours and the producers from their own region that they travel with during the week.
NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The tour participants are: Alabama – David Bryant, Jacksonville; Jason Eubanks, Leesburg; and Stanley Free, Centre; Arkansas – Jason Bennett, Joiner; and Wes Kirkpatrick, Tillar; Louisiana – David Branch, Oak Ridge; and Marshall Branch, Rayville; Mississippi – Coleman Thomas, Oxford; and Will Boggan, II, Sumner; Missouri – Chris Porter, Essex; and Tennessee – Ken Luckey, Humboldt.
The tour will begin on August 20 in Lubbock where the group will get an overview of the Texas High Plains from Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett and hear a presentation on weed management in the High Plains. They also will learn about soil health and fertilization techniques during visits to the Belt Farm and the Olsen Farms in Plainview before touring the Vista Grande Dairy there.
The next day, the group will see wine grape growing at Southwest Ag Specialties in Sundown and then travel to Levelland where they will learn about drip irrigation, no till with drip irrigation, and crop rotation at Carter Farms before touring the United Cotton Growers Gin and the Diamond Ethanol Plant.
The next two days will be spent in the state’s Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley regions.
On August 22 in Corpus Christi, the producers will observe module truck manufacturing at the Stover Equipment Company and look at a fertilizer terminal at Gatefront LLC before visiting the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service cotton classing operation. They also will tour the Edcot Coop Gin in Odem, a Bayer field trial site in the area, the Gulf Compress in Portland and the Smith Gin Coop in Odem before touring area cotton farms.
On August 23, the group will travel to the Rio Grande Valley and tour the Valley Coop Oil Mill in Harlingen where they also will be updated on boll weevil eradication status in the Rio Grande Valley from the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. Their tour will conclude with a visit to the Colimar International Weslaco warehouse in Weslaco and a look at cotton farms in that area.