MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Cotton producers from the Carolinas to California will get a look at a diverse range of agricultural production and processing operations in Montana on June 23-26 as part of the National Cotton Council's (NCC) Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).
Launched in 2006, the MCEP is coordinated by NCC's Member Services and local leaders and organizations. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from Deere & Company.
The exchange is designed to provide the program's participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region and 2) an opportunity to observe agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure. Other program benefits are the continuing dialogue among American farmers, regardless of their crops or locations, and the creation of strong and lasting relationships between this nation's current and future producer leaders.
The 2014 tour's producer participants include: Jarod Abernathy, Altus, Okla.; Neal Baxley, Mullins, SC; Justin Bone, Bakersfield, Calif.; David Cochran, Greenville, Miss.; Bert Driskell, Grand Bay, Ala.; Michael Fruge, Eunice, La.; Heath Herring, Saint Joseph, La.; Chris Hirt, Garden City, Texas; John Lindamood, Tiptonville, Tenn.; Joe Martin, Conway, NC.; Bobby Rieder, Sinton, Texas.; Jerry Rovey, Buckeye, Ariz.; and Jeff Wilson, Rebecca, Ga. Also participating are John Gibson, the NCC's Member Services director, Memphis, Tenn.; and Richey Seaton, executive director of the Georgia Cotton Commission, Perry.
The tour, which was arranged by the Montana Grain Growers Association, will begin on June 23 at the Southern Agricultural Research Center in Huntley where the participants will learn about Montana agricultural research, including a presentation from the Western Sugar Cooperative. The group then will tour area farms to see production of irrigated malt barley, sugar beets, corn, wheat, alfalfa and cover crops and visit a sugar beet receiving station. They also will visit ORIgen for a presentation on breeder to breeder genetics services and then tour Erickson Farm in Broadview to look at dryland wheat, corn, sunflower, safflower, and barley crops.
On the 24th, the groups will visit Gateway Simmental, LLC, in Lewiston for a presentation on continuous crop winter and spring wheat, irrigated/dryland hay, and Simmental cattle. They will travel to Moccasin to: 1) visit the Heartland Seed chemical and fertilizer warehouse's state-of-the-art loading facility, 2) hear about grain cleaning/conditioning, grass seed bagging/chemical treatment at the Central Montana Co-op Fertilizer Plant and 3) learn about hay, cereal grain, canola, winter peas and barley research at the Central Agricultural Research Center. The day's activities will conclude with a tour of the Harvest Moon Brewery in Belt.
The 25th will be spent in Great Falls with visits to the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, the Montana State Grain Lab for a look at grain testing, and to Ag Trucks & Equipment to observe custom built liquid/dry application systems. Other activities that day include a look at winter wheat, barley, peas, lentils and hay production at the Bumgarner Farm; a presentation on wildlife management at the Montana Fish & Game headquarters; a tour of the Giant Springs Trout Hatchery and a look at pasta manufacturing at Pasta Montana LLC.
On the 26th, the group will travel to Fairfield to 1) hear a presentation on the Greenfields Irrigation District; 2) tour Konen Farms for inspections of irrigated malt barley/seed production, dryland hay and yellow mustard; and 3) see a barley elevator at Busch Agricultural Resources. After visiting a grain elevator at the Mountain View Co-op in Dutton, the group will return to Great Falls for tours of the Malteurop barley malting plant and the Moodie Implement John Deere dealership.