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Altus cotton community celebrates Robbie RobbinsAltus cotton community celebrates Robbie Robbins

Altus, Okla., producer Robbie Robbins is named 2021 High Cotton winner for Southwest.

Shelley E. Huguley

March 25, 2021

24 Slides

The Southwest cotton community gathered in Altus, Okla., March 23 at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association to celebrate Robbie Robbins, who received the 2021 High Cotton Award for the Southwest.

Farm Press and The Cotton Foundation recongized four producers during a virtual Facebook presentation, livestreaming from four locations across the Cotton Belt, including Altus. Several of Robbins' friends and family gathered in person at PCCA to watch Robbins receive his award and celebrate with a reception. 

During his acceptance speech, Robbins recalled a time as a child when his grandfather traded mules for a John Deere B model tractor. "Back then you could trade mules for a tractor," he said. Today, Robbins runs five John Deere picker balers, an indication of how far agricultural technology has come.

Throughout his speech, Robbins thanked various people in the audience including his former John Deere tractor salesman Tom Yates, who was also a college roommate. "I traded with him a lot when I started out. He had me going wrong though with strippers. Pickers is the way to go. I go out to the gin of a morning, if they ginned stripped cotton that night, they gin 800 bales. If they gin picked cotton, they gin 1,100 bales. The length, strength and the amount of leaf trash and everything else is so much better with a picker."

Next, he addressed Mike Berry, the gin manager of Altus Cotton Growers, a gin Robbins help start. "Several of us (who started the gin) I consider good farmers but we didn't know much about running a gin," Robbins said as he looked at Berry. "I can remember calling Mike and hiring him on the phone. And now instead of ginning 4,000 or 5,000 bales in the fall, I looked a while ago, and we're at 154,000 bales. Mike knows how to put a gin together."  

He also singled-out his farm operations manager of 25 years, Jeff Lorah, "He's been a lot of help. In fact, he's pretty well running things now."

He also directed his attention to Kevin Brinkley, PCCA CEO and president. "I was on that board (with Brinkley) 12 years," Robbins said. "It's amazing how people like that can help farmers if they want to learn to do things and do them right. It's been a blessing." 

Robbins also mentioned deceased farmer Gordon Thomas. "When I went to farming here, I got a hold of two or three farms. He (Gordon) watched me. In five or six years, he came to me and said, 'I want to quit.' He had seven or eight farms. I said, 'I don't know if I can take on that many.' He agreed to keep half of it and I'd farm half of it. So, he helped me. I farmed it all the next year and have kept expanding since then. 

"I've just had a lot of friends who have helped me," Robbins said as he looked at the crowd. "I know I've gone as far as I can go. It's going to be left up to my son, Jeff Lorah, Mark Nichols, and some of those other boys back there. We've got some good farmers in this area. I've had a lot of joy. I've had some disappointments, too. 

"I just thank you for all of the help I've had."

Robbins also credited his wife Linda for taking care of many things on the farm. "There's a lot of things that if it wasn't for her, it would make it a lot tougher. We got married 16 years ago and we've grown a lot of cotton during that time," he said.

After the virtual presentation ended, friends and family at the Altus reception addressed Robbins, thanking him for his contribution to their lives and the farming industry. Some of their audio is included within this gallery.


Click through to see who attended the Altus celebration with Robbins and his wife Linda.

To view the live presentation, click here.

For more information about Robbins' operation and keys to success, click on the following links:

Other regional winners:

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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