The Cotton Foundation and Farm Press Publications have been partnering on the High Cotton Awards program for more than 20 years.
During that time, nearly 100 producers have been recognized for their environmental stewardship efforts. The Cotton Foundation’s Bill Norman talked about the benefits of that recognition during this year’s High Cotton Awards Breakfast at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.
"One of the goals within the Foundation's mission is providing education programs that improve industry members' safety, productivity and environmental stewardship," said Norman. "The Foundation is proud to have collaborated with Farm Press more than 20 years ago in establishing the High Cotton Awards as a way to recognize this nation's original environmentalists our producers."
Including the 2015 recipients, nearly 100 producers have been honored as High Cotton Award winners, he noted, adding there have been multiple benefits from the recognition.
"Our industry is afforded the opportunity to remind the public of the environmentally sound production practices and methods the recipients are employing while growing their crops," said Norman, who also serves as director of technical services for the National Cotton Council.
"In addition, the awards program assists in extending sound production practices among the award winners' fellow producers. For example, why wouldn't a producer want to follow through after learning the adoption of a no-till or reduced till production system can improve soil quality and overall irrigation efficiency while reducing erosion and nutrient runoff as well as reducing fuel, equipment and labor costs, all while boosting yield?"
Although the High Cotton Awards' main premise is to recognize and encourage environmental stewardship, "those who are taking that challenge are also realizing improved on-farm efficiency, maintaining soil, air and water quality coupled with the reduction in costly crop inputs," he said. "More times than not that leads to increased profitability."
The High Cotton Awards program, which is sponsored by Farm Press Publications through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, began in 1995. Producers are recognized for growing quality cotton at a profit and for their environmental stewardship and industry involvement.
The winners are recognized in the first January issues of the four Farm Press Publications, Delta Farm Press, Southeast Farm Press, Southwest Farm Press and Western Farm Press and at a breakfast held during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences.
Coverage of this year's awards can be found on the Farm Press websites, http://Deltafarmpress.com, http://southeastfarmpress.com, http://southwestfarmpress.com and http://westernfarmpress.com. Nomination forms can be obatined by contacting Sandy Perry, firstname.lastname@example.org.