MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Farmers in the nation’s Midwest and Western regions will get a unique opportunity to observe cotton and other agricultural operations in West Texas on November 12-16, as part of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).
Launched in 2006, the MCEP is coordinated by NCC’s Member Services and local leaders and organizations. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from Deere & Company.
The exchange is designed to provide the program’s participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region and 2) an opportunity to observe agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure. Other program benefits are the continuing dialogue among American farmers, regardless of their crops or locations, and the creation of strong and lasting relationships between this nation’s current and future producer leaders.
The 2017 tour’s producer participants include: Idaho – Sedar Beckman, Idaho Falls; Scott Brown, Soda Springs; Clark Kauffman, Filer; Cory Kress, Rockland; Frank Laufer, Regent; Justin Place, Hamer; and Lucas Spratling, Declo; Michigan – Dave Milligan, Cass City; Montana – Michael Konen and Mitch Konen, both of Fairfield; and Warren Lybeck, Chinook; North Dakota – Frank Laufer, Regent; Jeff Mertz, Hurdsfield; and Alan Slater, West Fargo. Also participating is Sam Butler, a New Hope, Ala., soybean and cotton producer. John Gibson, director of NCC’s Member Services, Memphis; and Susan Everett, a NCC Member Services representative in West Texas, will accompany the group.
After an orientation on the NCC on November 12, the participants will spend the next day in Lubbock at Plains Cotton Growers Association for an overview of that organization and of High Plains cotton production. They also will visit the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Ginning Laboratory and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton Division facility, get a presentation on cotton trait introgression during a tour of Bayer’s greenhouse and laboratory facilities; and hear a presentation on cotton sustainability and marketing at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association. They will end the day with a visit to Verett Farms in Ralls for a look at spindle picker cotton harvesting.
On November 14, the participants will get a briefing on cottonseed processing and products at PYCO Industries in Lubbock before traveling to Brownfield where they will see peanut harvesting and then get a look at High Plains farm equipment at the B.E. Implement company. The group then will go to Meadow for a tour of Seaton Farms and observing custom wine grape crushing, fermentation and barrel aging at the Texas Wine Company.
The next day, the group will travel to Plainview to hear a presentation on High Plains water conservation and watering systems at the Texas Alliance of Water Conservation and then learn about soil health and fertilization techniques at Olson Farms. That day’s activities conclude with a briefing on stripper harvesting and ginning at the Carson County Gin in White Deer.
On the 16th, the group will travel to Amarillo for a tour of the Amarillo Cotton Warehouse and to hear presentations on cotton warehousing, shipping and permanent bale identification. The tour concludes with visits to the Adobe Walls Gin in Spearman and Howard Farms in Dumas.