MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Sunbelt farmers will get a look at a diverse range of agricultural production and processing operations in southern Idaho on June 20-23 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 staff and local leaders and organizations. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from John Deere.
The program is designed to provide its 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 2016 tour’s participants, selected by the NCC and USA Rice, are: Curtis Berry, Robinsonville, Miss.; Lee Cromley, Brooklet, Ga.; Barry Evans, Kress, Texas; Allan Fuchs, Garden City, Texas; Richard Lindsey, Centre, Ala.; Tommy Moore, Somerville, Tenn.; Steve Olson, Plainview, Texas; Herbert Price, Dixie, Ga.; Sam Spruell, Mount Hope, Ala.; Dean Wells, Casa Grande, Ariz.; Jim Whitaker, McGehee, Ark.; and Steve Wilbur, Tulare, California. Also participating are Andrew Grobmyer, representing the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, Little Rock; and Craig Brown, the NCC’s vice president, Producer Affairs, and John Gibson, the NCC’s director, Member Services, both from NCC headquarters in Memphis.
The tour, which was arranged by the Idaho Barley Commission and Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA), will begin on June 20 with an overview of Idaho agriculture from staffers with IGPA and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. The group then will look at operations involved with malt barley, seed barley, wheat, seed potatoes and cattle before touring a cow-calf operation and a phosphate mine.
The next day, the group will visit the University of Idaho Aberdeen Research & Extension Center and the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s National Small Grains & Potato Research Facility before traveling to American Falls for a tour of the ConAgra Lamb Weston frozen potato processing plant.
The group will begin June 22 with a tour of Glanbia Cheese’s world research and development headquarters in Twin Falls before touring the Southfield Dairy in Buhl and then the nearby Hagerman Fish Culture Experiment Station for a presentation on farm-raised trout production.
On the tour’s last day, June 23, the group will depart Idaho Falls for a visit to the InteGrow Malt Plant before touring the Larsen Farms hay compaction facility and seeing local crop production operations in the Dubois area. They also will visit a John Deere implement dealership in Rexburg, tour the nearby Wilcox Fresh potato packing facility, and conclude the trip with a look at more barley, wheat and potato farming operations in the area.