The National Cotton Council has scheduled dates and locations for the 2006 Cotton Foundation Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program. Upon completion of this year's four tours, the P.I.E. program will have exposed nearly 750 U.S. cotton producers to innovative cotton production practices in regions different than their own.

Cotton producers from the Southeast will see operations in Arizona and California July 9-14. Mid-South producers will travel to Texas July 16-21. Southwest producers will tour Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee Aug. 6-11. Far West producers will visit North Carolina and Virginia Aug. 13-18.

Participants in the 18-year old P.I.E. program gain new perspectives in land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting — with the overall goal of helping them improve their yields and fiber quality.

Cotton Foundation President Craig Shook, a Texas cotton producer, said, “New technology is accelerating at a rapid pace, but adapting these tools and techniques to specific farming operations is a challenge. By enabling producers to see proven technology and farming methods, the P.I.E. is leading its participants to greater efficiency and profitability.”

The NCC's member services staff, in conjunction with local producer associations, conducts the P.I.E program. The P.I.E. also receives support from the Foundation via a grant from the program's new sponsor, Bayer CropScience.

“We are really excited to support this unique educational opportunity for America's cotton producers,” said Monty Christian, marketing director, FiberMax Cotton Seed, Bayer CropScience. “Being able to ask questions face-to-face with your peers about innovative farming techniques is an invaluable experience.”