MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council’s Producer Information Exchange program (P.I.E.) will enable Mid-South and Southeast cotton producers to see cotton and other agriculture-related operations in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and Coastal Bend regions on August 20-25.
After this year’s two P.I.E. tours, more than 1,200 U.S. cotton producers will have been exposed to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own. Launched in 1989, the P.I.E. program is sponsored by BASF Agricultural Solutions through a grant to The Cotton Foundation.
The P.I.E. program has a specific goal of helping U.S. cotton producers maximize production efficiency and improve yields and fiber quality by 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and 2) observing diverse farming practices and the creative ways in which other resourceful producers have adopted new and existing technology. The program provides another beneficial opportunity as it fosters the sharing of information among the participants within their own Cotton Belt region as they travel together during the week.
The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, coordinates the P.I.E. program’s tours and participant selection.
The 2023 Southwest tour participants are: Alabama – Chase Gossett and Jeff Gossett, both of Centre; Steve Griffith, Dutton; Arkansas – Tyler Cornish, Monette; Payton Stegall, Marianna; Georgia – Chase Grantham, Douglas; Brett Sauls, Shellman; Greg Sikes, Brooklet; Mississippi – Burke Hendrix, Jr., Hernando; George Perry, III, Tunica; Missouri – Terry Fuller, Kennett; and Virginia – Wesley Barnes, Courtland; and Tyler Oliver, Smithfield.
The tour will begin on August 21 in Harlingen where the group will learn about cottonseed oil processing at the Valley Coop Oil Mill and visit the Ross Gin Company in Mercedes. Later, they will tour Rio Farms in Monte Alto and tour individual farms in the area.
The next day, the group will learn about BASF agronomic performance trials near La Feria, tour a border cotton trans-shipment warehouse at CI Logistics in Weslaco, and then hear about the availability of irrigation water from the Rio Grande River at the Hidalgo and Cameron Counties Irrigation District #9 in Mercedes. Later that day, the producers will tour Chris Bauer Farms near San Benito and then get an update on boll weevil eradication status in the Rio Grande Valley from the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.
The next two days will be spent in the state’s Coastal Bend region.
On August 23, the producers will observe agriculture in Kleberg County and visit Smith Gin Coop in Odem before touring area farms.
The tour concludes on August 24 when the group will travel to Corpus Christi where they will visit the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service cotton classing operation before observing module truck manufacturing at the Stover Equipment Company.