MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Thirteen cotton producers from the Southeast will see cotton operations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee on July 24-28 as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) 2016 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience LP through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 28th 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. The NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The Southeast participants are: Alabama – Will Counts and Pricie Counts, IV, both of Tuscumbia; Georgia – Jamie Brannen and J.D. Newton, both of Statesboro; Brent Collins, Camilla; John Hanna, Donalsonville; Clay Pirkle, Sycamore; Kollin Pyle, Blakely; and Henry Sumner and Morgan Young, both of Sumner; North Carolina – David Smith, Jr., Oak City; South Carolina – Jim Williams, Camden; and Virginia – Joey Barlow, III, Smithfield.
The group will begin their Mid-South activities in Memphis, Tenn., on July 25 with a tour of Bayer’s Genetics greenhouse and a presentation on cotton trait introgression before getting a presentation on dredging and river commerce at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers MS River Ship Yard. That afternoon, they will tour the Grammy’s Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, Mississippi.
The group also will spend the next day in the Mississippi Delta. While in Stoneville, they will get an overview of the Delta Council and Delta cotton production at Delta Council and a presentation on the research complex at the Delta Research and Extension Center and before touring the Delta Branch Experiment Station. That afternoon, they will tour individual cotton farms in the area. On July 27, the participants will travel to Lake Providence, La., to learn about hot sauce production at Panola Pepper Company and then hear about continuous no-till and cover crops’ use during a tour of Robbie Howard’s farms. They also will tour the Louisiana Cotton Museum and the Port of Lake Providence.
The tour ends on July 28 with a visit to Somerset Plantation in Newellton, La., for a drone demonstration and presentations on water management and black bear habitat by Jay Hardwick, Marshall Hardwick and Meade Hardwick. The group also will hear about the use of beds for rice production from Ben Guthrie, a Newellton cotton and rice producer, before touring individual cotton farms in the Newellton area.
In the other 2016 P.I.E. tours, Mid-South cotton producers visited the Carolinas on July 18-21; Southwest producers will tour California’s San Joaquin Valley on July 31-August 5; and Western producers will travel to two of Texas’ cotton production regions on August 14-19.