Final 2018 PIE Tour Takes Mid-South Cotton Growers to Texas
Eleven Mid-South cotton producers are slated to see cotton and other agricultural operations in Texas August 20-23 as part of the 2018 National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.).
Now in its 30th year, the P.I.E. program has exposed more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in cotton producing regions other than their own. The program is sponsored by Crop Science, a division of Bayer, through a grant to The Cotton Foundation.
The program aims to help the 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 ways in which their peers in other regions are using current technology.
NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
Participating Mid-South producers are:
- Alabama – David Bryant, Jacksonville; Jason Eubanks, Leesburg; and Stanley Free, Centre
- Arkansas– Jason Bennett, Joiner; and Wes Kirkpatrick, Tillar
- Louisiana– David Branch, Oak Ridge; and Marshall Branch, Rayville
- Mississippi– Coleman Thomas, Oxford; and Will Boggan II, Sumner
- Missouri– Chris Porter, Essex
- Tennessee – Ken Luckey, Humboldt.
The tour begins in Lubbock on August 20 with an overview of the Texas High Plains from Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett and a presentation on weed management in the High Plains. They also will learn about soil health and fertilization techniques during visits to the Belt Farm and the Olsen Farms in Plainview before touring the Vista Grande Dairy there.
On August 21, the group will see wine grape production at Southwest Ag Specialties in Sundown before visiting Carter Farms in Levelland for an overview on drip irrigation, no-till with drip irrigation, and crop rotation. The group will also tour the United Cotton Growers Gin and the Diamond Ethanol Plant.
The rest of the tour will be spent in the state’s Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley regions.
On August 22 in Corpus Christi, the producers will observe module truck manufacturing at the Stover Equipment Company, tour a fertilizer terminal at Gatefront LLC, and visit the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service cotton classing operation. The group will also tour the Edcot Coop Gin in Odem, a Bayer field trial site in the area, Gulf Compress in Portland and the Smith Gin Coop in Odem before touring area cotton farms.
August 23 will be spent in the Rio Grande Valley, where the group will tour the Valley Coop Oil Mill in Harlingen and receive an update on boll weevil eradication status in the Rio Grande Valley from the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. The tour concludes with a visit to the Colimar International Weslaco warehouse in Weslaco and visits to cotton farms in that area.
This is the last of three P.I.E. tours scheduled for this year. Cotton producers from the Southwest and Western Cotton Belt visited the Mid-South the week of August 6, and growers from Southeast traveled to California’s San Joaquin Valley the week of August 13.
Information provided by the National Cotton Council