Midwest and Southwest producers are visiting agricultural operations in Georgia this week, as part of the National Cotton Council’s Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).

Launched in 2006, the MCEP is coordinated by the Cotton Council’s Member Services, 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 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.

This year’s tour producer participants were selected by the National Association of Wheat Growers and the North Dakota Grain Growers. They include: Tim Bartram, Guthrie, Okla.; Bob Beakley, Ennis, Texas; Charlie Bumgarner, Great Falls, Mont., Michelle Erickson, Broadview, Mont.; Dennis Johnson, Devils Lake, N.D.; Freddie Streit, Vernon, Texas; Terry Weckerly, Hurdsfield, N.D.; and John Weinand, Hazen, N.D. Also participating are John Gibson, the NCC’s Member Services director, Jim Davis, the NCC’s Member Services representative for the Southeast; and Christy Birdsong, the NCC’s general counsel.

Looking at yarn manufacturing

The participants’ tour begins today, Nov. 11, with a look at yarn manufacturing at Swift Spinning in Columbus, cotton grading at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service facility in Macon and an overview of Georgia cotton production at the Georgia Cotton Commission’s office in Perry.

The next day’s activities will include: a visit to the Georgia Peanut Commission in Tifton for an overview of Georgia peanut production; an update on agricultural aircraft manufacturing at Thrush Aircraft in Albany; a presentation on peanut oil processing at the Golden Peanut Co. in Dawson; a tour of peanut shelling operations at McCleskey Mills in Smithville and a look at cotton production and harvesting at RCL Farms in Bronwood.

On Nov. 13, the group will see vegetable processing at Taylor Farms in Tifton; hear about cottonseed oil processing at Southern Cotton Oil Co. in Valdosta; learn about permanent bale identification, cotton flow and warehousing at Funston Gin Warehouse in Funston; and see pecan production and processing at Harrell Nut Co. in Camilla.

The tour concludes on Nov. 14 with a presentation on agricultural inputs for southern crops at the R.W. Griffin Co. in Douglas and an update on cotton ginning technology at Southeastern Gin Co. in Surrency.

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