MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Eleven cotton producers from the Southeast will observe cotton and other agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley the week of August 13 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2018 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
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 West tour’s participating producers are: Alabama – Shep Morris, Shorter; Randall Beers, Tyler; Catherine Porter, Prattville; and Steve Gross, Gadsden; Florida – Ernie Fulford, Monticello; Georgia – Jared Scott, Hazlehurst; and Bodie Johnson, Alma; North Carolina – Garrett Boyd, Pinetown; and Eric Cahoon, Engelhard; South Carolina – John Rhett Covington, McColl; and Virginia – Seth Edwards, Drewryville.
These Southeast cotton producers will begin their activities in Fresno on August 13 with a briefing from the California Cotton Ginners/Growers Association and then a tour of Bayer’s research facility. They also will tour Don Cameron’s Terra Nova Ranch in Helm and observe extra-long staple cotton production in the Tranquillity area.
The next day, the group will see Gilkey Enterprises’ cotton operations in Corcoran and visit other area farms before traveling to Laton for a tour of Jovie & Mark Rosa Farms.
On August 15, the producers will tour the Quady Winery in Madera, then go to Los Banos for a look at tomato processing at the Ingomar Packing Company and a tour of Delta Farms’ cotton operation and visits with area cotton producers. The group will conclude their California tour on August 16 with a look at table grape harvesting at the Kirschenmann Farms in Bakersfield prior to touring Farmers Cooperative Almond Huller in Wasco.
In this season’s other P.I.E. tours, Southwest and Far West producers will observe agricultural operations in the Mid-South on August 6-9 and producers from the Mid-South will visit two Texas cotton production regions on August 20-24.