Fifteen cotton producers from the Southeast and California will see cotton and other agriculture-related operations in Texas August 14-18 as part of the 2017 National Cotton Council’s Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
The P.I.E. program, now in its 29th year, has exposed more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own. The program aims to help the cotton producer participants boost their farming efficiency by gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and observing the unique ways in which their innovative peers are using current technology.
The program is sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation. NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
Participating on the tour are:
- Alabama – Phil Ashley, Fort Payne; Liz Rhodes, Guin; Justin Smedley, Gadsden; and Adam Wilson, Jacksonville;
- Florida – Nick Marshall, Baker;
- Georgia – Dillard Cody, Damascus; and Win Rentz, Newton;
- North Carolina – Alex Britton and Justin Burgess, both of Conway;
- Virginia – Jamie Babb, Windsor; and Jameson Lowe, Wakefield;
- California – Corky Pedretti, El Nido; Matt Burns and Eric Fontana, both of Dos Palos; and Wyatt McKean, Riverdale.
The tour begins August 14 in Lubbock with an overview of the Texas High Plains from Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett, a presentation on Texas water issues/Ogallala Aquifer from Petersburg cotton producer Ronnie Hopper; and a report on the e3 Sustainable Cotton Program at Bayer’s Seeds Innovation Center. The group then travels to Brownfield to visit the farms of Nick Seaton and Anthony Ferguson to see cotton production, as well as production of black-eyed peas, peanuts and wine grapes. They end the day with tours of Cotton Creek Farms in New Home and other cotton farms in the area.
On August 15, the group will see cotton production on Smith Farms in Floydada, learn about High Plains farm equipment at Hurst Farm Supply in Lorenzo, and tour PYCO and Farmers Cooperative Compress in Lubbock.
The following two days will be spent in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
On August 16, the group begins with a visit to Ross Gin Company in Mercedes before observing sugar cane processing at Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers in Santa Rosa. They also will hear a presentation on trans-shipment of cotton to Mexico at Colimar International’s warehouse in Alamo, then tour Rio Farms in Monte Alto and other farms in that area.
On August 17, the producers will be in Harlingen to visit Valley Coop Oil Mill and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, where they will learn about water delivery from the Rio Grande River. They also will see the Hidalgo Water District #5 Rio Grande River Lift Station and agricultural traffic at the Progreso International Bridge, and tour Chris Bauer Farms and the Frank Russell Farm, both near San Benito.
The group’s tour ends at the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation in Harlingen for an update on the status of boll weevil eradication in the Rio Grande Valley.
This is the final P.I.E. tour for 2017. Earlier in the summer, growers from the Mid-South visited California’s San Joaquin Valley, and producers from the Southwest toured cotton and other agricultural operations in Georgia.
Source – National Cotton Council