MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Fourteen cotton producers from the U.S. Cotton Belt’s West and Southwest regions will observe cotton and other agriculture-related operations in Louisiana and Mississippi on August 13-18 as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.).
More than 1,200 U.S. cotton producers will have been exposed to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own after the tour and this year’s other P.I.E. tour in which Southeast and Mid-South producers are seeing cotton operations in Texas on August 20-25. Launched in 1989, the P.I.E. program is sponsored by BASF Agricultural Solutions through a grant to The Cotton Foundation.
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. 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 that they travel with 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 tour participants are: Arizona – Brittney Carranza, Stanfield; Matt Forbis, Casa Grande; California – Todd Fernandes, Tulare; Greg Riccomini, Bakersfield; Oklahoma – Braden Cunningham, Hollis; Russell Isaacs, Turpin; Austin Leverett, Altus; and Texas – Steven Acevedo, Lamesa; Chase Bubenik, San Angelo; Karson Davis and Tanner Heffington, both of Littlefield; Ryan Harlan, Bishop; Jeremy Jeffcoat, Smyer; and Alton Synatschk, Olton.
The group will begin their Mid-South activities in Louisiana on August 14 at the Somerset Plantation in Newellton with an overview of black bear habitat, conservation practices, variable rate seeding and fertilizers, soil sampling program, and cover crops. While in the Newellton area, they will visit the Panola Co., Ltd. office where they will learn about corn harvest and 60-inch cotton.
On August 15, the group will travel to Lake Providence where they will tour the Port of Lake Providence and the Louisiana Cotton Museum. While in the area, they will tour Tap Parker Farms and learn about Bunches Bend. They also will tour Panola Pepper Co. to see hot sauce production.
The next day in Mississippi, the group will begin their day at the Delta Council in Stoneville with an overview of operations and Delta cotton production. They also will tour the Delta Branch Experiment Station before taking individual tours with producers in that area.
The tour concludes on August 17 when the producer contingent will see row rice production at Silent Shade Planting Company in Belzoni and catfish production and processing at Simmons Farm Raised Catfish in Yazoo City.