Twelve cotton producers from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri will observe cotton and other agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley the week of July 17 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2017 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
Sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 29th 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. NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The West tour’s participating producers are: Louisiana – Christian Frierson and John Frierson, both from Shreveport; Heath Herring from St. Joseph; and Mead Hardwick from Monroe; Mississippi – Graham Flautt from Sumner; Paul Good from Columbus; and Dale Weaver from Macon; Arkansas – Caleb Miller from Leachville and Sam Shackelford from Montrose; Tennessee – Robert Hill from Gates and Mark Zarecor from Newbern; and Missouri – Chris Porter from Essex.
The Mid-South cotton producers will begin their activities in California on July 17 in Fresno with a briefing from the California Cotton Ginners/Growers Association and then a tour of Bayer’s research facility. They also will tour Don Cameron’s Terra Nova Ranch in Helm and observe extra-long staple cotton production in the Tranquillity area.
The next day, the group will see Gilkey Enterprises’ cotton operations in Corcoran and visit other area farms before traveling to Lemoore to see the Droogh Dairy and then to Laton for a tour of Jovie & Mark Rosa Farms and other farms in that area.
On July 19, the producers will tour the Quady Winery in Madera, go to Los Banos to see tomato processing at the Ingomar Packing Company and then meet with local cotton producers. The group will conclude their California tour on July 20 with a look at table grape harvesting at the Kirschenmann Farms in Shafter prior to touring Bayer’s research activities at the Shafter Research Station.
This season’s other P.I.E. tours will have Southwest producers observing agricultural operations in Georgia on July 31-August 4 and producers from the Southeast and Far West touring two Texas cotton production regions on August 14-18.