MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Six Mid-South and four Western cotton producers will see cotton and other agricultural operations in Virginia and North Carolina on August 11-15 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2019 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.).
Sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. program is now in its 31st year and has exposed nearly 1,200 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 how their innovative peers are using current technology. A unique program benefit is that the participants get to ask questions of both the producers they visit on the tours and the producers from their own region who they travel with during the week.
NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
This year’s Southeast P.I.E. tour participants from the Mid-South are: Arkansas – Clark Dillard, Forrest City; and Vonda Kirkpatrick, Tillar; Louisiana – Ryan Yerby, Colfax; Mississippi – Parker Adcock, Holly Bluff; Andrew Berryhill, Tutwiler; and Tyler Clay, Yazoo City.
Those participating from the West include: Arizona – Rico Clonts, Safford; California – Michael McManus, Shafter; Texas – Scott Vardeman and Kyle Vaughn, both from Lubbock.
After an orientation on August 11, the Mid-South and Western producers will learn about agricultural equipment the next day at Amadas Industries in Suffolk, Virginia. The remainder of their tour will occur in North Carolina, including a visit that day to the Severn Peanut Company in Severn and to individual farms in that area.
On August 13, the cotton producers will see tobacco and sweet potato production at Kent Smith Farms in Rocky Mount and see cotton production in North Carolina’s coastal lands at Cahoon Farms in Engelhard. That day’s activities conclude with a visit to Coastal Carolina Gin in Pantego and a look at individual farms in the area.
The next day, the group will see cotton and tobacco production at J.P. Davenport and Son Farms in Pactolus before touring Bayer’s breeding facility in Mount Olive. The Southeast tour concludes on the 15th with a visit to Cotton Incorporated in Cary and a look at processing raw cotton into yarn during a tour of the Frontier Spinning Company in Sanford.
This season’s other P.I.E. tours had Southeastern cotton producers touring the Mid-South and Southwest producers visiting California’s San Joaquin Valley during the week of July 28.