National Cotton Council's (NCC) Member Representative Rick King in Texas says exchanging information between cotton producers across the country has opened many doors for cotton producers over the years, and continuing that trend will be the prime objective when Southeast cotton producers arrive in Lubbock next week to see how cotton is grown in the Lone Star State.
"We've got cotton producers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia headed into Texas this Sunday, Aug. 17, for five days of touring cotton operations and the industries that support cotton production in Texas," King told Southwest Farm Press this week. "The National Cotton Council has been providing these exchange program opportunities for 26 years now and it's a great way for producers in one part of the country to see how others are handling the same types of problems they may have on their farms."
The program is designed to help cotton producers boost their overall operational efficiency by gaining new perspectives in fundamental practices like land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting while discovering and sharing unique ways to utilize new technology and methods.
This year Mid-South producers traveled to the West Coast July 13-17 to review and exchange information on operations in California. Producers in the West paid a visit to the Mid-South and visited farms and facilities in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee in late July. Producers from Texas just finished up a tour of operations in the Southeast and offered good reviews of the tours offered there.
When southeast producers tour cotton operations and facilities in Lubbock and Corpus Christi next week, it will represent the fourth and last leg in the national program for 2014. They are scheduled to arrive in Lubbock Sunday evening, Aug. 3, and will spend Monday and Tuesday touring around the Lubbock area before loading up on a flight to Corpus Christi late Tuesday evening. In the Coastal Bend they will spend the following two days. In the Coastal Bend they will spend the following two days touring local farms and facilities before heading home Friday morning.
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Sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the Producer Information Exchange tour, or P.I.E. tour, has exposed more than 1,000 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own. The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
Following is the latest Southwest P.I.E. Tour agenda, including the tour schedule for both Lubbock and the Coastal Bend areas.
Sunday, August 17
Arrive at Lubbock Airport where participants to be met by Council Member Service Representatives Rick King and Susan Everett.
- 6:00p PIE Orientation – Introductions & Overview
- 7:00p Depart Hotel for Dinner
- 7:30p Reception & Dinner – Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant
Monday, August 18
- 8:30a Depart Hotel for Bayer CropScience Research Facility at 1301 E. 50th St, Bldg 1
- 9:00a Topic 1: Bayer CropScience Trait Development Facility
Presenter: Monte Christian and Margaret Shield
Topic 2: Texas Cotton Production
Presenter: Steve Verett, EVP, Plains Cotton Growers
Topic 3: Texas Cotton Improvement Program
Presenter: Dr. Jane Deaver, Texas Cotton Improvement Program
- 11:00a Tour: PYCO Industries, Inc.
Hosts: Gail Kring, President, Robert Lacy, Vice President
- 12:00p Lunch
- 1:00p Board Bus for Vardeman Farms
- 1:30p Vardeman Farms Farm Tour - 520 E Woodrow Rd, Slaton, Texas
Hosts: Buzz, Dean and Keith Vardeman
- 3:30p Tour Caprock Winery - 408 E Woodrow Rd, Lubbock
- 5:00p Return to Hotel
- 6:30p Board Bus for Dinner –50 Yard Line Restaurant - 2549 S Loop 289
Hosted by Texas Cotton Producers
- 9:00p Return to hotel
Tuesday, August 19
- 8:30a Board Bus with Luggage
- 9:00a Tour: Farmers Cooperative Compress
Hosts: Ron Harkey and Mike Nettles
- 10:00a PCCA-- Electronic Marketing
- 11:00a Lubbock Feedlot
- 11:30a Back to Nature Inc. - 5407 E Highway 84, Lubbock
- 1:00p Lunch – Cook out Hosted by Mimms Farms (Jerry, Brady, Rhett and Ryan Mimms)
- 2:00p Farm Tour: Mimms Farm
Host: Brady and Jerry Mimms
- 4:00p Board Bus for Airport (6:25p departure time)
- 9:50p Arrive in Corpus Christi
Wednesday, August 20
Breakfast provided by Stover Equipment at 8:30 am
- 8:10a Board Bus from Lobby
- 8:30a Stover Equipment Company Inc. - 4510 Southview Dr, Corpus Christi
Hosts: Lagina and Gene Grove; Jimmy Stover
Module Trucks and Round Module Opening
- 10:00a Edcot Gin Coop - Farm Rd 631, Odem, Texas
Host: Sid Brough
Round Module Ginning
- 11:30a Tour at Gregory Gin - 600 6th Gregory, Texas
Host: Jeff McKamey
View Samuel Automated Bale Bagging system
- 12:30p Lunch: Mac’s BBQ - 219 Hwy 35, Gregory, Texas
- 1:30p Tour: Gulf Compress - 201 N 19th St., Corpus Christi
Host: David Fields
Cotton storage at La Quinta Facility and potential new container port
- 2:00p Tour: Port of Corpus Christi - 222 Power St, Corpus Christi
Hosts: Liz Cantu and David Fields
Bus Tour of Port and Ship Channel
- 3:00p Tour Gatefront, LLC – 7102 Marvin Berry Rd, Corpus Christi
Host: Jeff Holley
Fertilizer Terminal on the Port
- 4:00p (If time allows) Tour: USDA AMS, - 3545 Twin River Blvd, Corpus Christi
Host: Ted Proske; Area Director
USDA Cotton Classing Facility
- 5:00p Individual Farm Tours: Depart from Smith Gin
Hosts: Sam Lawson, Donald Houser, Troy Nedbalek, Josh Rieder, Bob Whatley,
Erich Schneider, and Jeff McKamey
- 7:00p Dinner at Rieder Barn - 17110 County Road 798, Sinton, Texas
Host: Bobby Rieder
Fish Fry with Cobbler
Thursday, August 21
- 7:20a Board Bus from Lobby
- 8:30a TOUR TBA
- 1:00p Lunch: Butch’s Restaurant - 200 E Yoakum Ave, Kingsville
A South Texas Boll Weevil update will be presented over lunch
Host: Darrell Dusek TBWEF Zone Manager South Texas/Winter Garden
- 3:30p Tour: Texas Parks and Wildlife Fish Hatchery - 4301Waldron Rd, Corpus Christi
Host: Rodney Campbell
- 7:00p Dinner: Water Street Seafood Company - 309 N Water St, Corpus Christi
Meal will be held next door at the Surf Museum
Rick King says 14 producers from the Southeast will be attending the Southwest P.I.E. tour this year.