The deadline is nearing for nominations for the Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Awards for 2019. This will mark the 25thanniversary of the program that was conceived to recognize U.S. cotton farmers who do an outstanding job of producing consistently high quality cotton while utilizing practices that demonstrate a concern for the environment.
“Since the inception of the High Cotton Award a quarter-century ago, Sunbelt growers have experienced monumental changes in growing cotton,” says Greg Frey, Farm Press publisher and senior vice president of operations for Farm Progress.
“Each of the almost 100 High Cotton award winners during that time has come from highly diversified backgrounds and unique life experiences. In addition to being topnotch cotton growers, they have an overriding concern for preserving their land and resources for generations to come.
“Jack Burns, a High Cotton Award winner, said it best during his acceptance speech more than a decade ago: ‘The land is our livelihood, so we take care of it. We want our land to thrive so we can pass it on to the next generation of growers.’
“As we begin the process of selecting the 2019 High Cotton Award winners,” Frey says, “we continue to be impressed with the ability of U.S. growers to constantly adopt new practices and technologies to more efficiently produce world class cotton fiber.”
Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton winners for 2018 were, from left, Merlin Schantz, Hydro, Okla., Southwest states; Ron Rayner, Goodyear, Ariz., western states; Joe and Jack Huerkamp, Macon, Miss., Mid-South states; and Nick McMichen, Centre, Ala., Southeast states. They were honored at an awards breakfast in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show at Memphis.
The deadline for nominations for the 2019 High Cotton Awards is Aug. 31. A winner will be chosen from the Southeast states, Mid-South states, Southwest states, and Western states. Winners will be honored at an awards breakfast in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show at Memphis, Tenn., March 1-2, 2019.
A goal of the program is to identify top cotton producers in each major growing region and to share their successful production methods with the readers of Southeast Farm Press, Delta Farm Press, Southwest Farm Press, and Western Farm Press.
Nominees will be cotton growers who meet three important criteria: 1. The nominee must be a full-time grower who gets a profitable return from producing cotton in one of the four cotton belt regions; (2) must produce cotton of consistently high quality, and (3) must use environmentally sound production methods. Finalists will be chosen on the basis of their success in growing cotton, the consistent quality of their cotton, and their environmental stewardship. A grower’s contributions to his/her community and the cotton industry will also be a consideration.
“This is not a yield contest,” Frey notes. “Unlike other ‘contests,’ we aren’t interested in the quantity of material provided about the grower. Rather, we’re looking for a basic narrative about what the nominee has done to improve the environmental aspects of his farming operation, while producing a high quality, profitable cotton crop.”
Nomination forms may be obtained from Sandy Perry at Farm Press, phone 800-253-3160 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org