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Sunbelt farmers to see Midwest operations on MCEP Tour
Sep '10
Key commodity organization leaders and executives will see agricultural operations in Illinois on September 13-16, as part of the National Cotton Council's (NCC) Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP).

The exchange between commodity producer leaders in the Sunbelt and the Midwest/Far West regions 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. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with grants from Deere & Company and Monsanto.

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 participants' tour will begin on September 13 at tour host Illinois Corn Growers Association's office in Bloomington. They will hear a presentation on economics of corn and soybean production in the Midwest and then visit an area corn farm. The next day, the group will visit Archer Daniels Midland's operation in Decatur and the Auburn corn and soybean farm of Gerry Niemeyer who currently serves as first vice president of the National Corn Growers Association.

On the 15th, the Sunbelt contingent will tour Monsanto's research facility in Monmouth and John Deere's seeding plant in Moline. The tour concludes on the 16th with visits to the Illinois River Energy and Prairie Gold facility in Rochelle, the Utica Lock on the Illinois River, and to Donna Jeschke's corn and soybean farm in Mazon. Jeschke is past chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

The Multi-Commodity Education Program was launched in 2006 when producers from the Midwest/Far West traveled to North Carolina to observe cotton production/processing and other agricultural operations. That itinerary was developed by NCC staff in cooperation with local organizations and leaders and the trip was coordinated by NCC's Member Services.

In 2007, a group of Sunbelt producers toured agricultural production and processing operations in North Dakota and Minnesota as part of a trip coordinated by commodity organizations in those states. In 2009, Midwest farmers saw cotton production and processing operations on the Texas High Plains, a trip also coordinated by staff from NCC and Plains Cotton Growers.

The 2010 tour's producer participants include: Steven Clay, a Carnegie, OK, cotton, corn and peanut producer who serves as a director of Cotton Incorporated and treasurer of the Oklahoma Cotton Council; Barry Evans, a Kress, TX, cotton and grain sorghum producer who is chairman and past president of Plains Cotton Growers and a director of the Cotton Board; Jim Massey, a Robstown, TX, cotton and grain sorghum producer who serves as a director of the South Texas Cotton & Grain Association and the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers; Robert Miller, a Wellington, KS, cotton, grain sorghum and soybean producer who serves as president of Kansas Cotton Growers and state chairman of the NCC's American Cotton Producers (ACP); Paco Ollerton, a Casa Grande, AZ, cotton and small grains producer who serves as a vice president of the Arizona Cotton Growers Association and the ACP state co-chair; Jeff Posey, a Roby, TX, cotton wheat, grain sorghum and corn producer who is past chairman of the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers and serves as a Cotton Board director; Gary Respess, a Pantego, NC, cotton, corn and soybean producer who is president of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association and is state ACP chairman; Doyle Schniers, a San Angelo, TX, cotton and wheat producer who is a director and past president of Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers, a vice president of Texas Cotton Producers, and is the ACP state co-chair; and Stacy Smith, a Wilson, TX, cotton, grain sorghum and wheat producer who serves on the Plains Cotton Growers' executive and finance committees.

Also participating are Billy Carter, the North Carolina Cotton Producers executive vice president, Nashville, NC; and John Gibson, the NCC's Member Services director, Memphis.

National Cotton Council of America

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