MEMPHIS – Twelve cotton producers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will see cotton operations in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee on August 17-20 as part of the National Cotton Council's (NCC) 2015 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 27th 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. The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The Southwest participants are:Kansas – Merle Rose, Haviland; Oklahoma – Tyler Oxford and Austin White, both of Frederick; and Texas – Charles Braden and Pat Pelzel, both of Garden City; Orlando Cadena, Alice; David Carter, Levelland; Terry Coker, Roby; Eric Englund, Slaton; Sutton Page, Avoca; Brady Weishuhn, Vancourt; and Ricky Yantis, Littlefield.
Following an orientation, the group will begin their Mid-South activities in Tennessee on August 17 with a look at cotton trait introgression at Bayer CropScience's research facility in Memphis before touring Kelley Farms in Burlison, where they also will get briefed on Tennessee cotton production and weed resistance management in the state.
The group will be in Arkansas the next two days. In Marianna, they will visit McClendon Farms and tour the Lon Mann Research Station where they will get an update on the University of Arkansas' cotton breeding program and a comparison of Mid-South and Southwest cotton production. They also will tour the W.G. Huxtable Pumping Station where they will get briefed on Delta flood management.
On August 19, the participants will learn about rice production during a tour of the White & Flye Farms in Weona; see rice processing at the Windmill Rice Company in Jonesboro; and see Bayer CropScience's variety trials at Wildy Farms in Manila before touring individual cotton farms in that area.
The tour concludes on August 20 with a presentation on Mississippi River Commerce and a port tour by the Pemiscot Port Authority in Caruthersville, MO, before the group returns to northeast Arkansas for a look at cotton production in the Wilson area.
In this season's other tours, Southeast producers saw operations in California on July 12-17; Mid-South producers traveled to Texas on July 26-31; and Far West producers visited Georgia on August 2-7.