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Farm Press High Cotton Awards done differently, live and on Facebook

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The High Cotton Award program, created by forward-looking individuals more than 25 years ago, stretches across the Cotton Belt and honors top cotton producers.

Four U.S. cotton growers were honored for their dedication and innovative contributions to the U.S. cotton industry during the Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award program held on Facebook March 23. Farm Press editors were live with this year's winners from across the Cotton Belt.

The 2021 winners are Jerry Lee of Hamill, Enfield, N.C. (Southeast); Doug Scott of Sikeston, Mo. (Mid-South); Robbie Robbins of Altus, Okla. (Southwest); and Hansen Ranches of San Joaquin Valley, Ca. (Western).

The High Cotton Award program, created by forward-looking individuals more than 25 years ago, stretches across the Cotton Belt and honors top cotton producers who share their production methods, challenges and successes. They use technology and techniques to steward the land efficiently and soundly.

"The High Cotton Awards were conceived with the idea of recognizing what growers are doing to achieve the goals of consistently high yields and premiere quality cotton while instituting practices that protect natural resources that enhance the environment. This year marks the 27th class of the High Cotton Award winning growers, and each class continues to impress with their innovative techniques to achieve high yields and quality of product while protecting the environment," said Greg Frey, senior vice president at Informa Markets and publisher of the Farm Press brands, during the event.

"Jerry is Hamill is known for doing all he can to produce the best crops he can with the goal of perfection. His peers know that Hamill does things right, which has been the key to his success in both the good years and lean years," said John Hart, associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, during the event.

"Doug Scott is always thinking about the other guy. He wants their input and their ideas. He asks question of others who are farming or know about the crops he grows," said Brent Murphree, Delta Farm Press editor.

"For more than half a century, Robbie Robbins has been producing U.S. cotton. Think about that for a minute. He hasn’t only witnessed change but instigated change to his operation since he first began. And whether it’s his production practices, field trials or his efficient use of irrigation water or his leadership within the industry, Robbie has consistently produced high quality, sustainable cotton," said Shelley Huguley, Southwest Farm Press editor.

"Hansen Ranches uses an intriguing ditch system to flood irrigate their cotton. They flood these fields and efficiently recapture the unused water through their closed system. The heavy lake bottom soil favors this system that after two years of cotton is rotated to safflower to help reclaim the soil and improve it for the next cotton crop. This system of flood irrigation and crop rotation management helps improve soil conditions and kill soil-borne diseases," said Todd Fitchette, associate editor for Western Farm Press.

The awards program has historically been held during the annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, but under the current environment, the award program was held virtual this year.

To see previous winners as far back as 2011, check out our High Cotton Award page!

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