MEMPHIS – Georgia and Alabama cotton producers will host Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri cotton producers Aug. 18-23 as part of the National Cotton Council/FMC 2001 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.
This program, now in its 13th year, is managed by the NCC’s Member Services staff and supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from FMC Corporation. The program’s overall aim is to help America’s cotton producers become more efficient by speeding up their adoption of proven technology and innovative farming methods.
"The P.I.E. program is basically the Internet in the flesh," said James F. "Jimmy" Dodson, newly-elected president of The Cotton Foundation. "It’s a problem-solving tool that allows innovative producers to share information, management ideas and concerns with other progressive cotton producers."
The Robstown, TX, cotton producer said that successful producers typically leave their mark on their communities, but this program allows then to impact other areas of the Cotton Belt, too. He said the P.I.E. program also helps producers understand concerns in regions different than their own – a timely process as discussions on new farm law escalate this year.
Foundation Chairman Talmage Crihfield, a Ripley, TN, producer and 1993 P.I.E. participant, said the exchange program also is serving the increasingly important function of exposing participants to creative ways of reducing their production inputs as a means to achieving profitability.
The Mid-South cotton producers will begin their tour Aug. 19 with a look at McLendon and Webb farms in Leary, GA, where they will see cotton and peanut production. The next day they will see the cotton, peanut and grain operation of Camilla, GA, producer Hamill McNair, vegetable plant production at the Mobley Plant Farm, the Brooks County Dairy, and cotton, tobacco and vegetable production at the Wavell Robinson Farms in Pavo in Brooks County before closing the day at the Pineywoods Farm of Louie Perry, Jr., in Moultrie for a look at cotton and purebred cattle production.
On the 21st, the group will visit the Jones Ecological Research Center and see peanut processing at Tara Foods before departing for Columbus, GA. On the 22nd, the producers will tour the Marubeni Denim Mill in Columbus and the Russell Corporation plant in Alexander City, Al. They also will attend a dinner with the Autauga Quality Cotton Association in Montgomery, hosted by Prattville, Al, cotton producer Jimmy Sanford. The tour ends the next day with a look at cotton, peanut and cattle production on the Gaines Farm near Montgomery.
The 2001 P.I.E. program featured three other tours: Southeastern cotton producers toured the Mid-South July 7-12; Far West cotton producers shared their innovations with growers from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas July 21-27; and Texas producers hosted Far West producers, Aug. 4-9.