The annual National Cotton Council's Producer's Information Exchange program, or P.I.E. tour, brought cotton growers from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas to Georgia to see firsthand how cotton is grown and handled there. The group saw up close, too, how diverse the agricultural landscape is in the region.
Similar tours are set up throughout the year for growers from all cotton-producing regions of the United States to visit region different from theirs. The program has been in action for 29 years and since 2006 has been sponsored by a grant from Bayer CropScience to the Cotton Foundation.
July 30 through Aug. 3, the Southwest cotton group toured Georgia cotton country. Scott Kohne, Bayer CropScience's Head of Market Acceptance for North America, travelled with the group and said the goal of the program is just what it states: an exchange of information between cotton growers that allows an opportunity for the visiting growers and for their hosts to gain a different perspective on cotton production, handling and marketing.
“We feel it’s an excellent opportunity for the advancement of leadership in both younger and older growers, and the National Cotton Council community sets the stage for these younger guys to get a better understanding of technology, regulatory, and climate issues … and it is mechanism to allow growers to see how farmers in other regions of the U.S. operate and in the conditions they operate. It sets up some good long-term relationship for all involved, including for me and for Bayer,” Kohne said.