MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Thirteen Southeastern cotton producers will observe cotton and other agricultural operations in California's San Joaquin Valley the week of July 12 as part of the National Cotton Council's 2015 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
The participating producers are: Alabama – Cade Grace, Jasper; and Chris Smith, Mt. Hope; Florida – Scott Walker, McDavid; Georgia – Elton Brooks, Broxton; Preston Jimmerson, Doerun; and Gator Walker, II, Tifton; North Carolina – Mark McGee, Margarettesville; Shane Revelle, Murfreesboro; and Bartley Warren, Newton Grove; South Carolina – Dee Hane, Ft. Motte; John Perrow, Cameron; and Landrum Weathers, Jr., Bowman; and Virginia – Richard Kitchen, Capron.
The P.I.E. program is sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation. Now in its 27th year, the program will have exposed nearly 1,200 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own after this year's four tours. The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The P.I.E. program specifically aims to help its participants boost their overall operation's efficiency by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting and 2) observing the unique ways in which their peers are using current technology.
The group will begin their activities on July 13 in Fresno with a presentation on California cotton issues from the California Cotton Ginners/Growers Association and then a tour of the Bayer CropScience Research Facility. They also will tour Don Cameron's Terra Nova Ranch in Helm and see other cotton operations in the Tranquillity area.
The next day features tours of Gilkey Enterprises and other cotton operations in the Corcoran area and visits to the Rosa Brothers Dairy in Hanford and to Jovie & Mark Rosa's cotton operation in Laton along with tours of other local cotton production operations.
On July 15, the group will visit the Quady Winery in Madera before traveling to Los Banos for a look at tomato processing at the Ingomar Packing Company. They also will tour Delta Farms in Los Banos and meet with area cotton producers. The tour concludes on July 16 with a look at the table grape harvest at Kirschemann Farms in Bakersfield and a tour of the Bayer CropScience research operations at the Shafter Research Center in Shafter.
In this season's other P.I.E. tours, Mid-South producers will travel to Texas on July 26-31; Far West producers will visit Georgia on August 2-7; and Southwest producers will travel to Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi on August 16-21.