Ten cotton producers – six from the Mid-South and four from Western states – will see cotton and other agricultural operations in Virginia and North Carolina on August 11-15 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, P.I.E. – now in its 31st year – has exposed nearly 1,200 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own. NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The program aims to help participants boost their efficiency by gaining new perspectives in fundamental practices such as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and by observing ways in which their innovative peers are using current technology. Participants will not only learn from the producers they visit on the tours, but also from their regional peers they will travel with.
Participating on the Southeast tour are Clark Dillard, Forrest City, AR; Vonda Kirkpatrick, Tillar, AR; Ryan Yerby, Colfax, LA; Parker Adcock, Holly Bluff, MS; Andrew Berryhill, Tutwiler, MS; Tyler Clay, Yazoo City, MS; Rico Clonts, Safford, AZ; Michael McManus, Shafter, CA; and Scott Vardeman and Kyle Vaughn, both from Lubbock, TX.
After orientation and dinner on August 11, the group starts August 12 with a visit to Amadas Industries in Suffolk, VA, before moving into North Carolina for the remainder of the week. Later that day, the tour is scheduled to visit Severn Peanut Company in Severn, as well as several farms in the area.
On August 13, the cotton producers will see tobacco and sweet potato production at Kent Smith Farms in Rocky Mount and cotton production in North Carolina’s coastal lands at Cahoon Farms in Engelhard. The day concludes with a visit to Coastal Carolina Gin in Pantego and a look at individual farms in the area.
On August 14, the group will see cotton and tobacco production at J.P. Davenport and Son Farms in Pactolus, before touring Bayer’s breeding facility in Mount Olive.
The tour concludes on August 15 with a visit to Cotton Incorporated in Cary and a tour of Frontier Spinning Company in Sanford to see raw cotton processed into yarn.
This season’s other P.I.E. tours – both held the week of July 28 – had Southeastern cotton producers touring the Mid-South, and Southwest producers visiting California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Based on information provided by the National Cotton Council