Thirteen Midwestern and Western farmers will visit and observe cotton and other agricultural operations in West Texas November 12-16, 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 – supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from Deere & Company – is designed to provide the participants with a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region, while observing agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure.
Other program benefits include the continuing dialogue among American farmers, regardless of their crops or locations, and the creation of strong and lasting relationships between current and future producer leaders.
Participating in the 2017 tour are: Sedar Beckman, Idaho Falls, ID; Scott Brown, Soda Springs, ID; Clark Kauffman, Filer, ID; Cory Kress, Rockland, ID; Justin Place, Hamer, ID; Lucas Spratling, Declo, ID; Dave Milligan, Cass City, MI; Michael Konen and Mitch Konen, both of Fairfield, MT; Warren Lybeck, Chinook, MT; Frank Laufer, Regent, ND; Jeff Mertz, Hurdsfield, ND; and Alan Slater, West Fargo, ND.
Also participating is Sam Butler, a soybean and cotton producer from New Hope, AL. John Gibson, director of NCC Member Services in Memphis, and Susan Everett, NCC Member Services representative in West Texas, will accompany the group.
After an orientation on the NCC on November 12, the participants will spend November 13 in Lubbock at Plains Cotton Growers Association for an overview of that organization and of High Plains cotton production. They also will visit the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Ginning Laboratory and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton Division facility, see a presentation on cotton trait introgression during a tour of Bayer’s greenhouse and laboratory facilities; and hear a presentation on cotton sustainability and marketing at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association. They will end the day with a visit to Verett Farms in Ralls for a look at spindle picker cotton harvesting.
On November 14, the participants will visit PYCO Industries in Lubbock for a briefing on cottonseed processing and products before traveling to Brownfield to see peanut harvesting and a close look at High Plains farm equipment at the B.E. Implement company. The group then ventures to Meadow for a tour of Seaton Farms, and then observe custom wine grape crushing, fermentation and barrel aging at the Texas Wine Company.
On November 15, the group travels to Plainview to hear a presentation on High Plains water conservation and watering systems at the Texas Alliance of Water Conservation, followed by a discussion on soil health and fertilization techniques at Olson Farms. The day’s activities conclude with a briefing on stripper harvesting and ginning at the Carson County Gin in White Deer.
On November 16, the group will travel to Amarillo for a tour of the Amarillo Cotton Warehouse, including presentations on cotton warehousing, shipping and permanent bale identification. The tour concludes with visits to the Adobe Walls Gin in Spearman and Howard Farms in Dumas.
Source – National Cotton Council