MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Farmers from 14 states in the southern half of the nation will see agricultural production and processing operations in Idaho on June 24-29 as part of the National Cotton Council’s Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).
Launched in 2006, the program is coordinated by NCC’s Member Services, and commodity association leadership. It is supported by The Cotton Foundation with a grant from Deere & Company.
The MCEP is designed to provide its participants with: 1) a better understanding of production issues/concerns faced by their peers in another geographic region, 2) observation of that region’s agronomic practices, technology utilization, cropping patterns, marketing plans and operational structure; and 3) tours of the region’s research facilities and its agricultural processing operations and related businesses relevant to the area economy.
NCC Chairman Ron Craft, a Plains, Texas, cotton ginner, said the Multi-Commodity Education Program is providing another important benefit of building much-needed unity among the current and future leaders of this nation’s No. 1 industry – agriculture.
“Regardless of where they farm in this country and what crops they produce, the program participants and their hosts gain a better understanding of the agronomic and economic challenges that affect U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in today’s global marketplace,” Craft said.
The 2018 tour’s participants are: Keith Allen, Latta, S.C.; Dean Calvani, Carlsbad, N.M.; Clint Dunn, Itta Bena, Miss.; Rob Fleming, Scotland Neck, N.C.; Kent Goyen, Pratt, Kan.; Gary Hayes, Portageville, Mo.; Neal Isbell, Muscle Shoals, Ala.; George LaCour, Morganza, La.; Gary Martin, Firebaugh, Calif.; Dennis Palmer, Thatcher, Ariz.; Don Pearson, Jackson, Tenn.; Sam Whitaker, Monticello, Ark.; Austin White, Frederick, Okla.; and Wesley Spurlock, Stratford, Texas.
Karin Kuykendall, executive vice president of Rolling Plains Cotton Growers and executive director of Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers from Wall, Texas, also will participate. The group will be accompanied by John Gibson, director of the NCC’s Member Services in Memphis.
The tour, which is hosted and arranged by the Idaho Barley Commission and Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA), will begin on June 25 in Twin Falls with an overview of Idaho agriculture from staffers with IGPA and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. During a visit to the College of Southern Idaho’s Trout Production Research Facility, the group will hear presentations on aquaculture research and commercial trout production as well as Amalgamated Sugar Company’s sugar beet GMO communications campaign. They also will visit the Twin Falls Canal Company for a presentation on “Resolving Idaho Water Battles” and tour the Si-Ellen Dairy Farms and Clear Springs Trout Farm.
On the 26th, the group will travel to Caribou County where they will see malt barley, wheat, seed potatoes and cattle production before visiting a cow-calf operation. They also will visit Monsanto for a phosphate mine tour.
The next day, the group will tour Wada Farms fresh potato packing plant near Aberdeen and participate in the Cereals Research Field Day hosted by the University of Idaho Aberdeen Research & Extension Center and the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) National Small Grains & Potato Research Facility. They also will hear presentations on barley research and see the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Germplasm Collection. Also scheduled that day are a visit to a John Deere dealership in American Falls, a look at the American Falls dam and a tour of a local farm.
On the 28th, the group will tour the InteGrow Malt Plant in Idaho Falls and then travel to Dubois where they will see the Larsen Farms hay compaction facility and area crop production. They will observe a low energy sprinkler application irrigation system at Justin Place’s farm in Hamer, visit the Idahoan dehydrated potato plant in Lewisville and then conclude the tour with a look at barley, wheat, hay and potato production. That crop tour will be hosted by Dwight Little, president of both the IGPA and the National Barley Growers Association.