MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Farmers from Idaho and North Dakota will get a unique opportunity to observe cotton and other agriculture-related operations in the Mid-South on October 14-17, as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).
Launched in 2006, the MCEP is a Cotton Foundation education project supported by a grant from John Deere. It is coordinated by NCC’s Member Services and local leaders/organizations.
The MCEP is designed to provide its participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region, 2) observation of that region’s agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure; and 3) tours of the region’s research facilities and its agricultural processing operations and related businesses relevant to the area economy.
The 2019 tour’s producer participants include: Idaho – Jamie Kress, Rockland; Dan Lakey and Kyle Wangemann, both from Soda Springs; Pat Purdy, Boise; Steve Samowitz, Blackfoot; and Clark Tacke, Greencreek; North Dakota – Dennis Haugen, Hannaford; Ed Kessel, Dickinson; and Jeff Mertz, Hurdsfield.
The group will begin their activities on October 14 at NCC’s headquarters in Cordova, Tenn., where they will get an overview of the U.S. cotton industry and industry issues along with a briefing on The Cotton Foundation. They also will see cotton classing at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) office in Bartlett. Later that day in Memphis they will hear about agricultural research, education and agritourism during a visit to Agricenter International; learn about cotton trait introgression and tour a greenhouse at BASF’s operation; and visit the Memphis Cotton Museum.
The next two days will be spent in Arkansas. On October 15, the group will tour the Riverbend Warehouse in West Memphis to learn about cotton warehousing and shipping before traveling to Marianna for a look at Reed Farms’ operations; to learn about John Deere cotton harvesting technology; and to tour the W.G. Huxtable Pumping Station where they will get a briefing on stormwater pumping.
On October 16, the group’s activities include visits to the Planters Cotton Oil Mill in Pine Bluff to hear about cottonseed oil and cottonseed products and to McGehee for a look at cotton ginning at McGehee Producers Gin and a tour of farming operations in that area.
The tour concludes on October 17 in the Mississippi Delta with a trip to Stoneville where they will tour the Delta Research and Extension Center; see a catfish pond and get a briefing on U.S. farm-raised catfish; visit the USDA-AMS Cotton Ginning Laboratory; and hear a presentation on environmental stewardship and water sustainability in the Mississippi Delta from staff at Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management (F.A.R.M.).