Nominations for the High Cotton Awards close on Aug. 31. If you have someone who you think would be a good candidate for the award go to www.farmprogress.com/high-cotton-award to nominate them.
The High Cotton Award celebrates U.S. cotton producers across the Cotton Belt who consistently grow high-quality cotton, are environmentally conscious and make a good return on their investment. Farm Press in turn shares the farmers' stories to help other growers improve their operation with the information the winners provide.
The winners are a group of producers who vary in leadership skills, farming techniques and personalities. However, they are all people who love to farm cotton and have been successful on the turn-row.
Because I worked on the farm and for the industry most of my life, the awards are a high point for me. I know many of the individuals who have won the award and am now more than happy that I can continue to be part of the awards through Farm Press.
Over the last two years, I've seen how much Farm Press devotes to finding the right nominees and celebrating their operation. It's a thoughtful decision process and I appreciate the recognition it brings to the individual grower and cotton in general.
I did my first High Cotton Award article for the Delta region last year on Doug Scott in Sikeston, Mo. He told me his story. It's the best thing about this job – hearing how growers have made their operation successful.
I've been on the farms of several other growers who have won the award. I've listened to their stories, too. Steve Stevens has told me about water conservation in Arkansas. Jay Hardwick has spoken about environmental conservation and black bears in Tensas Parish, La. Ron Rayner has talked about minimal tillage in Goodyear, Ariz.
Each one of the winners brings a different perspective to the cotton environment and no two do it exactly the same.
The 1998 winner from the West, Ted Pierce, once told the National Cotton Council he would serve as the chairman of their Pink Bollworm Committee only if they were really serious about doing something about the pest. Today, the pink bollworm is no longer a major pest in the U.S.
Marty White, the 2003 winner from Poinsett County, Ark., continues to tweak things like seed rates and nitrogen inputs to increase the profit margins of his operation. Through the University of Arkansas, he provides information to other growers to help them become more efficient in their operations.
Several past National Cotton Council chairmen have been selected as High Cotton winners including Larry McClendon and Eddie Smith, among others. And, they were selected because they are good farmers, not just because they were in leadership.
If you know a good cotton farmer who deserves to be nominated for the High Cotton Award let us know.