MEMPHIS – Sixteen cotton producers from the Southwest and Far West cotton production regions will observe cotton operations in Arkansas and Tennessee on August 6-9 as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) 2018 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
Sponsored by Crop Science, a division of Bayer, through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 30th year and has exposed more than 1,100 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.
The Mid-South tour participants are: Arizona – Clayton Schulz and Hayden Melton, both of Buckeye; and Todd Thelander, Tempe; California – Connor McKean, Riverdale; and R.J. Errotabere, Visalia; Kansas – Brad Moberly, Wellington; Oklahoma – Jeron Park, Walters; and Texas – Ben Loya, Fabens; Bill Belew, Winters; Brad Byars, Lakeview; Greg Slough, Gruver; Heath Heinrich, Slaton; Kevin Corzine, Stamford; Mitchell Jansa, Garden City; Steven Jansa, Vacourt; and Ryan Netherland, Sudan.
The group will begin their Mid-South activities in Tennessee on August 6 at the West Tennessee AgResearch & Education Center in Jackson with an overview of Tennessee cotton production, weed management and cotton research. They then will travel to Humboldt for tours of area cotton farms and a look at cotton yarn and nonwoven products at Jones Fiber Products.
The next day in Arkansas, the group will learn about Mid-South irrigation and see McClendon Farms’ cotton operations in Soudan before traveling to Marianna for a tour of the Lon Mann Research Station where they will hear a presentation on the University of Arkansas cotton breeding program and a comparison of Mid-South and Southwest cotton production. While in the Marianna area, they will tour the W.G. Huxtable Pumping Station where they will get briefed on Delta flood management and see Reed Farms’ cotton operation for a discussion of cover crops.
On August 8, the participants will learn about 1) rice production during a tour of the White & Flye Farms in Weona and 2) rice processing at Windmill Rice Company in Jonesboro. They also will see Bayer variety trials at Wildy Farms in Manila and then tour individual cotton farms in the area.
The tour concludes on August 9 with a presentation on Mississippi River commerce and a port tour by the Osceola Port Authority in Osceola and a look at cotton operations in the Wilson area.
This season’s other P.I.E. tours had cotton producers from the Southeast observing cotton and other agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley the week of August 13 and will have Mid-South producers touring two Texas cotton production regions the week of August 20.