The National Cotton Council (NCC) has scheduled tour dates and locations for the 2017 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program.
The P.I.E. program’s goal is helping U.S. cotton producers maximize production efficiency and improve yields and fiber quality by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and 2) observing diverse farming practices and the unique ways in which their innovative peers have adopted new and existing technology. A unique program benefit is that the participants get to ask questions of both the producers they visit on the tours but also from producers from their own region that they travel with during the week.
This season, Mid-South producers will visit California’s San Joaquin Valley on July 17-21; Southwest producers will see agricultural operations in Georgia on July 31-August 4 and producers from the Southeast and Far West will tour two Texas cotton production regions on August 14-18.
The NCC’s Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection. Sponsored by Bayer through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. is now in its 29th year and has exposed more than 1,100 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own.
Cotton Foundation President Gill Rogers, a Hartsville, S.C., cotton producer, said Bayer’s support of the P.I.E. program continues to provide its producer participants an invaluable opportunity to boost their on-farm efficiency.
Rogers, who was a 1993 P.I.E. program participant, said at that time nobody in his area was using irrigation. He said after seeing the innovative irrigation techniques cotton producers were using in California and Arizona, he decided to begin irrigating his cotton back in South Carolina.
“It (tour) changed the way I farmed from that day forward, helped me do a better job of farming,” Rogers said.
Rogers also recalled that during his Far West tour he heard from farmers who were making the effort to educate their children so they would continue to farm.
“I have never forgotten that,” he said. “Everyone on the tour was very positive about agriculture and the tour was a very positive experience for me.”