MEMPHIS – Key commodity organization leaders will see cotton production and processing operations on the Texas High Plains October 26-28 as part of the National Cotton Council's Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).
The exchange between commodity producer leaders in the Sunbelt and the Midwest/Far West regions is designed to provide the program’s participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region and 2) an opportunity to observe agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with grants from Deere & Company and Monsanto.
Cotton Foundation Chairman Mark Nichols said the MCEP special project is another outstanding example of how the Foundation is uniquely assisting the U.S. cotton industry in today’s business and political environment. The Altus, OK, producer noted that, “This Foundation educational effort not only is opening the lines of communication between American farmers regardless of what they produce or where they farm, but is helping create strong and lasting relationships between current and future producer leaders of American agriculture.”
The tour’s producer participants include: Kody Bessent, executive assistant/producer relations specialist, Texas Wheat Board; Mike Clemens, vice chairman, Public Policy, National Corn Growers Association; Brad Doyle, director, Arkansas Soybean Association; Joe Steiner, vice president, American Soybean Association (ASA); and Brad Warren, past president, Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee. Cassandra Schlef, ASA’s communications coordinator, also is with the group.
Bessent is a cotton/wheat producer from Amarillo, TX; Clemens is a corn/spring wheat/soybean/sunflower producer from Wimbledon, ND; Doyle is a rice/soybeans/wheat/hay producer from Weiner, AR; Steiner is a soybean/corn/winter wheat/hay producer from Mason, OH; and Warren is a wheat/sunflower/corn producer from Keenesburg, OH.
The participants’ tour will begin on October 25 in Lubbock, TX, with visits to Plains Cotton Growers Association, the AgriLife Research & Extension Center, the USDA Agricultural Research Service Ginning Laboratory, the Plains Cotton Coop Association; PYCO Industries, Farmers Coop Compress and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton Division. The group also will visit Hurst Farm Supply (John Deere) in nearby Lorenzo that day.
The next day’s stops include the United Cotton Growers Coop Gin and Randy Coleman’s peanut farm, both in Levelland, and the Birdsong Peanuts operation in Brownfield. On the 28th, the tour will conclude with a presentation on Monsanto cotton variety traits, visits to Texas Tech’s Fiber and Biopolymer Institute and the American Wind Power Museum, both in Lubbock, and a tour of 2007 MCEP alumnus Bryan Patterson’s the farm in Amherst.
The MCEP was launched in 2006 when producers from the Midwest/Far West traveled to North Carolina to observe cotton production/processing and other agricultural operations. That itinerary was developed by NCC staff in cooperation with local organizations and leaders and the trip was coordinated by NCC’s Member Services. In 2007, a group of Sunbelt producers toured agricultural production and processing operations in North Dakota and Minnesota as part of a trip coordinated by commodity organizations in those states.