P.I.E. Tours Set For California, Mid-South
Ten cotton producers from Texas and Oklahoma will observe cotton and other agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley while nine Southeast cotton producers will see the same in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee during the week of July 28 as part of the NCC’s 2019 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Ten cotton producers from Texas and Oklahoma will observe cotton and other agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley while nine Southeast cotton producers will see the same in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee during the week of July 28 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2019 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
Sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 31st year and has exposed nearly 1,200 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.
Participants on the Western tour are Shelby Long, Hollis, Okla.; and Texans – Mark Wright, Roscoe; Curtis Wilde, Wall; Justin Cave, Ackerly; Ciera Ware, Ralls; Russell Williams, Dalhart; Sam Stanley, Levelland; Ty Vardeman, Slaton; Dannie Morris, Wellington; and Spence Pennington, Raymondville.
These Southwest cotton producers will begin their San Joaquin Valley activities in Fresno on July 29 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 cotton farms before traveling to Laton to see cotton at Jovie & Mark Rosa Farms.
On July 31, 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 other area cotton producers. The group will conclude their California tour on August 1 with a look at table grape harvesting at the Kirschenmann Farms in Bakersfield prior to touring Farmers Cooperative Almond Huller in Wasco.
Participants on the Mid-South tour are: Tommy Hargrave Jr., Garysburg, N.C.; Paul Rogers, III, Wakefield, Va.; Niko Goodwin, Parrott, Ga.; Walt Calhoun, Clio, S.C.; Kemp Wilson, Chester, S.C.; Brian Rayburn, Boston, Ga.; Mitchell Womble and Bobby Joe Womble II, both from Donalsonville, Ga.; and Garrett Hurley, Summerville, Georgia.
This group will begin their tour on July 29 with a visit to Bayer’s Chesterfield Village Research Center in Chesterfield, Missouri. The next day, they will visit multiple farms in Southeast Missouri and then see other cotton farming operations in the Dyersburg, Tenn., area.
On July 31, the group will travel back into Missouri to see melon production, processing and shipping in Hornersville before going to Arkansas to learn about the revitalization of the Delta town of Wilson and see cotton production at Lawrence Group Operations there. They will end that day observing cotton and peanut production at Wildy Farms in nearby Manila.
The tour will conclude on August 1 in Arkansas with a look at rice processing at Windmill Rice Company in Jonesboro and rice production at White-Flye Farms in Weona; a briefing on Delta flood management at the W.G. Huxtable Pumping Station in Marianna; and then observing cotton irrigation and crop rotation practices at McClendon Farms in Soudan.
In this season’s other P.I.E. tour, producers from the Mid-South and West will see cotton and other agricultural operations in North Carolina and Virginia on August 11-16.