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Texas Cotton Ginners' Association, PCG host annual meetings

It was all things cotton at the 2019 Texas Cotton Ginners' Association and Plains Cotton Growers annual meetings.

The Texas Cotton Ginners' Association held its 112th annual meeting and cotton trade show at Lubbock, Texas, April 4-5. Cotton and other agricultural industry booths lined the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, as the cotton ginning industry gathered for meetings and to tour the trade show. 

One of the booths featured The Cotton Boss 1000, a robotic prototype created to detect heat in modules by the O'Donnell, Texas, Elementary Robotics Team. Three elementary-aged students were on hand both days, along with their team leader, to answer questions and give demonstrations. 

"The students entered a Lego Robotics Inventions contest with the goal to come up with a robotic prototype that would solve a real-world problem that was either not safe for humans to do or not economically feasible," says Robotics Team Leader Sharla Edwards. "Each of the team members has some connection to cotton so they decided to create a Lego robot that can detect heat in modules." 

While at the trade show, the O'Donnell team was awarded the Division II Best of Show Award by the Texas Cotton Ginners' Association for their booth presentation and traffic and their use of technology.

"I'm really proud of their work ethic and tenacity because they didn't give up on this project," says Edwards. "They are going on their second year of research. They've made a lot of changes and taken a lot of advice from people in the industry and tried to make a real-world application."

PLAINS COTTON GROWERS

In conjunction with the 2019 Texas Cotton Ginners' Association Annual Meeting and Cotton Trade Show, Plains Cotton Growers also held their annual meeting. Keynoting the event was journalist Tamar Haspel followed by Dr. Gary Adams, National Cotton Council, and Berrye Worsham, Cotton Incorporated. Special guest speaker for the event was U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett, awarded Sen. Cornyn the U.S. Senate Seed Cotton Champion Award, recognizing him for his dedication and work to ensure cotton's restoration to Title I of the 2014 farm bill. 

Upon accepting his award and thanking Verett, Cornyn held up a red t-shirt and said, "Just an editorial note here, you better believe I'm going to be wearing my 100 percent cotton Red Raider t-shirt tomorrow." Texas Tech University competed against and beat Michigan State this weekend, 61-51, in the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. 

Cornyn went on to address the struggling farm economy and the importance of agriculture to Texas.

"Supporting the longevity of seed cotton isn't just important to you in your business, it's important to our state's economy. People who are raised on concrete may be surprised to learn that according to the 2012 Census, agriculture employs one out of every seven working Texans. And with more than 28 million people in our state, that's a huge number of people who live off the land," says Cornyn. 

The 2018 High Plains Cotton Agent of the Year award was also presented at PCG's annual meeting by Dr. David Kerns, professor and statewide IPM coordinator, associate department head for Extension Programs. This year's recipient was Tommy Doederlein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM agent.

"He's been with us quite a while and been an effective IPM agent in Lynn and Dawson counties," says Kerns, who adds Doederlein has 27 years of service. "Lynn and Dawson counties are primarily dryland cotton counties and it's a challenging environment. It's feast or famine sometimes. No doubt it's a different environment. Tommy's had a great IPM program. He started with a lot of pests and as things have evolved, the Boll Weevil Eradication Program, the success of Bt cotton, and other weed and disease pressure, Tommy's been one of our most innovative IPM agents. He's also focused on soil fertility. His program is truly an integrated crops program and IPM is a part of that."

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