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High Cotton Awards are especially rewarding

High Cotton Award winners reflect the ability to adjust and seek solutions.

Brent Murphree, Senior Editor, Delta Farm Press

February 16, 2023

2 Min Read
Cotton Boll
Information in the Cotton Belt is fluid, flowing from one region to the other as a result of growers and researchers reaching out to each other to solve difficult problems in the crop and in the industry at large.Brent Murphree

I recently reviewed the list of past High Cotton Award winners. Even though the list has a good number of great, progressive cotton growers on it, I am struck by the potential candidates that have not been nominated for the award.

Each year we send out a call for nominees, and we get some great ones. This year is no exception. I know most of this year’s recipients and each one is a leader in their region and an excellent farmer.

And yet, we still have many cotton growers that need to make it on to the list.

I’m not complaining, I’m just thinking. How do we honor all those farmers who are making a difference in the cotton industry?

I meet them at Extension meetings. I see them at association gatherings. I talk to them on their farms. They are working with seed companies and testing products in their fields.

I know of very few growers who are content to keep growing cotton like they’ve always done.

In the West I’ve seen how producers have cut back on water use – mostly out of necessity – and discovered that they can produce excellent yields. In the Southwest, I’ve watched growers stretch a drop of water further than I’ve ever seen it stretched.

In the Midsouth, they take a drouthy summer, add some August rains and get unexpected yields and excellent grades. And I don’t even know how they do it in the Southeast (and, the Coastal Bend of Texas, as well) with the hurricanes.

Information in the Cotton Belt is fluid, flowing from one region to the other as a result of growers and researchers reaching out to each other to solve difficult problems in the crop and in the industry at large.

I have sat with groups of cotton farmers from various regions and listened to them compare everything from plant bug management to nutrient application. They know that to thrive they need to listen to each other and try things they haven’t done before.

Some of the brightest minds are the most open about listening to new ideas.

The older producers are there because they’ve been able to flex and yield as something comes up that they haven’t faced before. The young growers know that they need to listen to the older ones and are willing to take chances on new technology and processes that are available.

These are the kind of cotton farmers we look for when the nominations come in for the High Cotton Award. And we will continue to seek those nominees.

This award is truly one of the highlights of my work at Farm Press. It is satisfying work to pull together the line of winners we present each year.

Congratulations to all this years’ winners. And I can’t wait to see who will be nominated next year.

About the Author(s)

Brent Murphree

Senior Editor, Delta Farm Press

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