MEMPHIS – Eight cotton producers from Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi will see cotton operations in Texas on August 20-23 in the 2012 National Cotton Council's Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.).
Upon completion of this final of the four 2012 tours, the P.I.E. will have exposed more than 1,000 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own since the program was initiated in 1988.
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience via a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. program is aimed at helping its U.S. cotton producer participants improve yields and fiber quality. Specifically, the program helps producers improve their overall farming operation 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 peers are using current technology.
The Southwest tour will begin on August 20 in Lubbock at the Plains Cotton Growers office for an updates on Texas cotton production, Texas A&M University's the Texas Cotton Improvement Program and Bayer CropScience's research and development. The group also will visit PYCO Industries, Farmers Cooperative Compress before touring Vardeman Farms in nearby Slaton.
The next day in Lubbock the group will get a presentation on electronic marketing at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, tour the Lubbock Feedlot and the Back to Earth Resources for a look at turning gin trash into a value-added product. They also will tour Mimms Farm in Acuff.
The next two days, the group will be in the state's Coastal Bend area. On the 22nd while in Corpus Christi, they will visit the Gulf Compress, the Port of Corpus Christi and Gatefront, LLC. They also will visit Edcot Gin Coop in Odem, the Gregory Gin in Gregory and then participate in individual farm tours in San Patricio, Nueces and Kleberg counties. The tour concludes on August 23 with a visit to Kingsville for a tour of the King Ranch and Farms and a look at algae biodiesel and gossypol free shrimp feeding projects conducted by Texas AgriLife Extension.
The Mid-South tour participants include: Missouri – Andrew Blakemore, Campbell; Skyler Droke, Hornersville; and Payton Harris, Kennett; Tennessee – Holt Shoaf, Milan; Arkansas – Michael East, Jr., Marion; and Paul Pirani, Clarkedale; and Mississippi – Thomas Ater, Natchez; and Phil Lucius, Derma.
In this season's previous tours, Southeast producers saw operations in California and Southwest producers traveled to the Mid-South in July while Far West producers visited North Carolina in August.