Farm Press Publications and The Cotton Foundation have enjoyed a 25-year partnership with Farm Press sponsoring the High Cotton Awards that are presented annually to the most conservation-minded cotton growers through a grant to the Foundation.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, 106 producers have received the bronze Cotton Boll award that is presented to each of the winners from the four regions of the Cotton Belt served by Delta Farm Press, Southeast Farm Press, Southwest Farm Press and Western Farm Press.
“The Cotton Foundation provides U.S. agribusiness allies the opportunity to support the National Cotton Council’s programs and policy initiatives through annual voluntary dues,” said Dr. Bill Norman, executive vice president of the Foundation and a speaker at this year’s High Cotton Breakfast.
“Some of these allied firms also provide grants over and above those dues to fund special projects. One of the longest running and most successful of these projects is the Farm Press-Cotton Foundation High Cotton Awards Program. Since 1994, this program has given much-deserved attention to cotton producers who have an environmental ethic and are committed to achieving sustainability.”
While these winners rarely seek attention for themselves, as Norman noted, they are willing to have their stories told and have their accomplishments recognized so that the non-agricultural population can get a better idea of farmers’ environmental stewardship.
John Hart, associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, said 2019 Southeast winner Frank B. Rogers III is widely known as an innovator and steward of the land who’s been planting cover crops, improving irrigation efficiency and using other conservation practices on his farm near Bennettsville, S.C.
Rogers, who received the award at this year’s breakfast, thanked his wife, Cheryle; his son, Pat, and other family members for their help through the 40 years Rogers has been farming. He also gave credit to the National Cotton Council and other farm organizations for their work on behalf of producers.
“Honestly, no cotton farmer would have survived from 1979 to the present without the efforts of the Council, Southern Cotton Growers and other state groups,” he said. “They have really worked hard on our behalf.”