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Cotton PIE group see the challenges, successes of North Carolina ag

The PIE tour group consisted of farmers from California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.

John Hart

August 19, 2019

15 Slides

Cotton farmers from California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi gained a first-hand look at Virginia and North Carolina farm country as part of the National Cotton Council’s Producer Information Exchange or PIE tour.

The nine farmers that visited Virginia and North Carolina farmers in the PIE tour were Michael McManus of Shafter, Calif; Rico Clonts of Safford, Ariz.; Scott Vardeman and Kyle Vaughn, both of Lubbock, Texas; Clark Dillard of Forrest City, Ark.; Vonda Kirkpatrick of Tillar, Ark.; Parker Adcock of Holly Bluff, Miss.; Andrew Berryhill of Tutwiler, Miss. and Tyler Clay of Yazoo City. Miss.

The PIE tour ran from Aug. 11 to Aug. 15. PIE is sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation. It 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.

The group toured the Amadas Industries peanut equipment  plant in Suffolk, Va. and visited the Severn Peanut Company in Severn, N.C. The bulk of their time was spent touring North Carolina farms, Bayer’s breeding facility in Mount Olive, Cotton Incorporated’s world headquarters in Cary and Frontier Spinning Company in Sanford.

They visited the Hyde County farm of Eric Cahoon, himself a participant in a previous PIE tour, where they learned more about the challenges of salt water intrusion on farmland, a problem unique to Hyde County. They visited the Kent Smith Farm in Rocky Mount, Alligator River Farms in Engelhard, 3-B  Farms in Pinetown and J.P. Davenport and Son Farms in Pactolus.

The tour gives farmers a chance to learn about the challenges in a different region of the country than their own. 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.

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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