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‘Thinking ahead’ helps High Cotton winner be more sustainable

Winner thanks all of the people who have contributed to his success.

Forrest Laws

March 20, 2019

The High Cotton Awards Breakfast has produced some memorable moments during the 25 years the awards have been given, mostly at locations in connection with the Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

One year one of the recipients remembered that 50 years ago to the day he had been sitting in a fox hole in Belgium, hoping to survive the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Others have remembered the contributions of their parents or others to their conservation legacy.

Participants in the 2019 breakfast, which was held at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tenn., will remember Southwest Farm Press Editor Shelley E. Huguley talking about how five generations, including the Southwest winner, Dahlen’s Hancock’s granddaughter, have played roles in the Hancock farming operation.

Accepting the Cotton Boll award, Dahlen remembered how his grandfather, D.W. Hancock, and father, Donald Hancock, had instilled a love of the land and a need to always be thinking ahead.

Huguley, who is a farm wife herself, said Dahlen's only granddaughter, Cora Elin Hancock, is one of the main reasons Dahlen is continuing to think ahead to build a future on the family farm.

“Being in this industry is not for the faint of heart,” said Hancock. “These are challenging times, but I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors – my dad, my grandfather. There were neighbors in the community – Wilbur Smith, L.C. Umbridge – local guys that served our industry but also did a great job at home and were very innovative.”

Huguley jokingly said Dahlen also deserved an award for "completing the Amazing Race to Memphis," after multiple canceled and delayed flights the day before. Both compared his day to farming: at the mercy of the weather and the daily obstacles growers must overcome to complete their tasks. 

For more information on this year’s winners, visit

About the Author(s)

Forrest Laws

Forrest Laws spent 10 years with The Memphis Press-Scimitar before joining Delta Farm Press in 1980. He has written extensively on farm production practices, crop marketing, farm legislation, environmental regulations and alternative energy. He resides in Memphis, Tenn. He served as a missile launch officer in the U.S. Air Force before resuming his career in journalism with The Press-Scimitar.

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