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Greg Wuertz says he learned from the best.
The third-generation Arizona farmer talked about his mentors when he received The Cotton Foundation 2020 High Cotton Award for the West during a breakfast honoring this year’s five recipients of the Cotton Boll trophy.
“I think the rest of the award winners will agree with me that we couldn’t have got here without some good mentors,” said Wuertz, who farms in Coolidge, Ariz. “The first mentors I want to thank are my parents, Howard and Julie Wuertz.
He said Howard Wuertz is 94 and Julie Wuertz 93. “They still get around good. They left a good example for me to follow; the way they lived. They taught me my faith and to work hard and to keep trying new things.”
Todd Fitchette, associate editor of Western Farm Press who presented the High Cotton Award to Greg Wuertz, noted that Howard Wuertz pioneered drip irrigation in Arizona “when nobody really knew what drip irrigation was. Greg is building on that conservation ethic and expanding it into areas such as no-till farming.”
Other mentors Greg Wuertz wanted to thank were his high school teachers and college professors. “My advisor, Dr. Bob Briggs at the University of Arizona, taught me science and taught me where to find answers.
“Again, my dad let me into the family farming operation and got me started. My first farming partnership was with my dad. We called it FAST Farming, which for stood for Father and Son Team, and we’ve been farming together ever since.”
He thanked his wife, Loralee, “for her love and support and for being a great mother for our four children and being there when I wasn’t and for making things work.”
Greg Wuertz was nominated for the High Cotton Award by his sons, Bobby and Thomas; Paul Bush, the CEO of the Calcot farmer-owned cooperative; and Kevin Rogers, CEO of the Arizona Cotton Growers Association.
“I also want to thank The Cotton Foundation and Farm Press for all they’ve done in nominating me,” he said. “I know the previous award winners, and I respect them. I know what it is to get this award, and it’s an honor to receive it.”
Forrest Laws spent 10 years with The Memphis Press-Scimitar before joining Delta Farm Press in 1980. He has written extensively on farm production practices, crop marketing, farm legislation, environmental regulations and alternative energy. He resides in Memphis, Tenn. He served as a missile launch officer in the U.S. Air Force before resuming his career in journalism with The Press-Scimitar.
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