Thirteen growers from the southeastern region of the United States (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia) toured California farming operations as part of the National Cotton Council's annual Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
Now in its 27th year, the program has exposed nearly 1,200 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions other than their own. National Cotton Council staff guide these programs that include tours of farming operations and producer interest organizations.
According to Cotton Nelson of the National Cotton Council, the P.I.E. Program aims to help participants boost their overall operation's efficiency by gaining new perspectives in fundamental practices and learning how various other farming operations use the latest technology.
The program is sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation.
On the first day of the P.I.E. Tour in central California growers were bused to San Joaquin Valley farming operations. Their tour included a stop at the offices of the California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association and a presentation by CCGGA President Roger Isom.
Other stops along the four-day tour included Bayer CropScience research facilities, Terra Nova Ranch in Helm, Calif., local growers in Fresno, Kings, Merced, Madera and Kern counties, dairies in Kings County and Ingomar Packing Company, a tomato processor, in Los Banos.
Several meal stops along the trip were hosted by local farmers including: Kenny and Karen Carvalho for dinner on Monday in Tranquility; Double Bar 2 Ranch in Riverdale for Tuesday's dinner; and, dinner on Wednesday evening at San Juan Ranch in Dos Palos.