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Southern Cotton Growers' award was created in recognition of a cotton grower who has gone beyond the call of duty in the promotion of the cotton industry.

John Hart, Associate Editor

January 26, 2023

2 Min Read
Ronnie Lee Southern Cotton Growers
Bronwood, Ga. farmer Ronnie Lee received the Producer Recognition Award during the annual meeting of Southern Cotton Growers/Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association Jan. 21 at the Marriott Myrtle Beach Grand Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Joining Lee are his sons, from left, Ron, Neil, wife Sheila and son Chandler.John Hart

Bronwood, Ga., farmer Ronnie Lee was presented with the Southern Cotton Growers Producer Recognition Award during the closing session of the Southern Cotton Growers-Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association annual meeting Jan. 21 at the Marriott Myrtle Beach Grand Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“This is the highest award this organization gives. The award was created in recognition of a cotton grower that has gone beyond the call of duty in the promotion of the cotton industry,” said Allen McLaurin, a Laurinburg, N.C., cotton farmer and a past president of Southern Cotton Growers.

Since its inception in 1989, the award has been presented 16 times. Previous winners are Marshall Grant, Bobby Webster, Sykes Martin, Billy Carter, Hamill McNair, Tom Ingram, David Burns, Louie Perry, Ronnie Fleming, Hollis Isbell, Jimmy Sanford, Bob McLendon, Frank Rogers, Mike Tate, Jim Ferguson, and Jerry Hamill,

The 2023 award was presented to Ronnie Lee “in appreciation of his dedicated leadership of quality cotton production in the Southeast.” McLaurin credited Lee for demonstrating true leadership.

Lee is the managing partner of Lee Farms. His three sons, Ron, Chandler and Neal, and wife Sheila are all involved in the farming operation and family business. The family grows cotton, peanuts, small grains, pecans, hay and cattle. They own and operate McClesky Cotton Company, a ginning and warehousing operation with locations in Bronwood, Ga., and Albany, Ga., Lee is also an airline pilot.

Lee is a past president and chairman of Southern Cotton Growers. He served as National Cotton Council chairman in 2017, was a National Cotton Council delegate from 2003 to 2016 and served as a National Cotton Council director in 2015 and was the National Cotton Council’s vice chairman. He served as American Cotton Producers vice chairman, representing the Southeast and served as a director of Cotton Incorporated. He was appointed by President George Bush and President Barack Obama to Farm Service Agency’s Georgia State Committee. He is the 2010 Farm Press High Cotton Award winner.

“This industry and the ag industry have been so good to me. I have been blessed to have good people working for me, good family, my sons, all of the friends, especially in this industry. It takes a lot of support, but I love all of y’all. I love this industry. The leaders in this industry have been so good to me. I didn’t plan any of it. I had mentors, and I thank them,” Lee said in accepting the award.

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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