MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Farmers from eight states in the southern half of the nation toured agricultural production and processing operations in Idaho on June 25-30 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 John Deere.
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.
The 2023 tour’s participants included: Daniel Baxley, Dillon, S.C.; Marvin Beyer, Taft, Texas; Philip Edwards, Smithfield, Va.; Richard Gaona, Roby, Texas; Jon Jones, Floydada, Texas; Jeff Hill, Gates, Tenn.; Charlie Meyer, Stratford, Calif.; Brent Murphree, Mason, Tenn.; Reid Nichols, Altus, Okla.; Nathan Reed, Marianna, Ark.; Jadee Rohner, Tempe, Ariz.; Martin Stoerner, Lockney, Texas; Jon Whatley, Odem, Texas; Brad Williams, Burlison, Tenn.; and Greg Wuertz, Casa Grande, Arizona. The group was accompanied by John Gibson, Vice-President of the NCC’s Member Services in Memphis.
The tour, which was hosted and arranged by the Idaho Barley Commission (IBC), Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA) and Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC), began on June 26 in Twin Falls with an overview of Idaho agriculture from staffers with IBC and IGPA. During a visit to the Riverence Trout Farm, Blue Lakes Facility, the group heard presentations on aquaculture research and commercial trout production. They also toured the Milner Dam for a presentation on Idaho water issues and visited the Oak Valley Dairy Farm. The group ended the day with a tour of the McCain Foods French Fry Plant and a personal tour of the surrounding area.
On the 27th, the group traveled to Caribou County where they visited Gibbs Farms to tour seed potatoes before visiting Bayer for a phosphate mine tour. They also toured Bar H Bar Ranch to see public and private land grazing and toured Thunder Mountain Elk Ranch.
The next day, the group was welcomed at the Idaho Farm Bureau offices and then traveled to American Falls where they toured the Driscoll Farms fresh pack potato and hay compaction facilities. Also scheduled that day was a visit to a John Deere dealership, a look at the American Falls dam, sugarbeet production at Clinger Farms, and a tour of dryland grain production at Kress Farms.
On the 29th, the group toured Anheuser Busch in Idaho Falls and then traveled to Hamer where they observed no-till barley and mustard fields at Place Farms, visited the Cubeit Hay Company, the Intermountain Bison Ranch and then concluded the tour at Hamilton Farms in Ririe.