Forty-two California cotton producers and ginners recently toured California Planting Cotton Seed Distributors' (CPCSD) research and development station and delinting facilities in Shafter, Calif., and Cotton Incorporated's World Headquarters and Research Center in Cary, N.C., in the first “Seed to Shirt” tour, sponsored by CPCSD.

“The tour was conceived as a vehicle to demonstrate firsthand to San Joaquin Valley cotton growers what CPCSD and Cotton Incorporated are doing on their behalf to help keep California competitive in the global cotton arena,” explains John Palmer, vice president of Marketing and Sales at CPCSD.

Billy Schuh, cotton producer from Lemoore, Calif., regards the tour of CPCSD as an educational experience for him and his son. “While we were touring CPCSD's facilities, people were there to explain to my son, Billy, different DNA technologies and how they effect cotton. It was a great opportunity for him to learn firsthand about current and future cotton technologies.”

Once tour participants arrived in Raleigh, N.C., they were briefed on Cotton Incorporated activities with a morning educational session and an afternoon “hands-on” tour through their World Headquarters and Research Center in Cary, N.C.

“The producers and ginners seemed to benefit from the morning presentations,” explains Mike Kelley, Cotton Board western regional manager. “Cotton Incorporated staff tailored their presentations for the San Joaquin Valley region, highlighting research information on sticky cotton, the new Cotton Incorporated breeding and genetics initiative and yarn spinning trials with CPCSD cotton varieties.”

During the afternoon session, participants toured Cotton Incorporated's World Research Center, which houses state-of-the-art laboratories. “The tour of Cotton Incorporated's facility was very educational. We learned what was being done to hopefully help the economic downturn we are facing currently,” comments Schuh. “From what we've learned the past few days, it looks like research and technology that will be introduced within the next couple of years could help us dig out of the hole — this has been a very enlightening experience.”

Kelley considers the tour a tremendous success. “This tour was designed with a California focus and the growers and ginners learned how CPCSD and Cotton Incorporated work to promote California's high quality cotton fiber in the global marketplace.”