Agriculture is the backbone of
America – cliché, but true. And
the best way to keep this industry
– including the cotton sector
– viable is to encourage bright, enthusiastic
young people to join its ranks.
To help make this happen, the Texas
Cotton Ginners’ Association (TCGA) set
up a scholarship fund with Texas Tech
University several years ago for the
College of Agricultural Sciences and
“TCGA sets up the scholarship guidelines,
and Texas Tech University’s College
of Agricultural Sciences and Natural
Resources scholarship committee is
responsible for selecting the recipients,”
says Tony Williams, Executive Vice
President of TCGA.
“The students must have a discipline in
agricultural economics, plant and soil science
or communications,” he adds. “We
believe these are the disciplines that will
best cover cotton. Typically, each of the
students selected for a TCGA scholarship
TCGA also initiated the TCGA scholarship
endowment at Texas Tech for the
purpose of establishing the Rocky King
Memorial scholarship fund.
“Rocky King, who passed away in his
mid-50s, was the first Chairman and
President of the Texas Cotton Ginners
Trust, which is a workers’ comp insurance
program that we set up in 1994,”
Williams says. “Today, the program provides
almost all of the workers’ comp for
the cotton ginning industry in the state as
well as other cotton business – warehouses,
“However, the bulk of the money for
the TCGA scholarships comes from
Cotton Farming magazine,” he says.
“Cotton Farming contributes a percentage
of the Show Program ad sales revenue to
the TCGA scholarship fund.”
The TCGA scholarship winners for the
2010-2011 Texas Tech University school
year are: Elizabeth Bertrand, a junior agricultural
and applied economics major
from Floydada; Justin Cave, a senior
agronomy major from Lubbock; Sarah
Hart, a junior agri-business major from
Midland; Eric Odom, a senior agri-business
major from Dimmitt; Levi Schaefer, a
junior ag and applied economics major
from Garden City; and Trevor White, a
junior agri-business major from Tahoka.
In addition, Tate Baumgardner, a
senior from Wellington, Texas, and Skylar
Sowder, a sophomore from Sudan, Texas,
are the recipients of the Rocky King
Memorial scholarship award.
Sarah Hart says growing up in the
country and raising animals for 4-H got
her interested in agriculture.
“I like the agri-business program at
Texas Tech, and, after graduation, I hope
to manage a farm or a ranch or maybe get
into the real estate side of agriculture,”
she says. “My family has gone through
some hard times financially, so the TCGA
scholarship means so much to me and to
Justin Cave completed his agronomy
degree in December and is now working
on his master’s degree in crop science.
This young Texan grew up south of
Lamesa in Ackerly, Texas, on a dryland
“Agronomy seems to be a good fit for
me,” he says. “My dad, granddad and
great granddad farmed. On my mom’s
side, my granddad was a gin manager for 25 years, and his dad also was a gin manager
for 25 years. With this type of background,
I was probably destined to go into
“Eventually, I would like to go back
home and keep the family farm running,”
Cave adds. “Another option may be to get
into the industry side, perhaps go to work
for one of the seed companies. I’m really
interested in all of the new technologies
that are coming out.”
When asked how he felt about having
received a TCGA scholarship, Cave had
this to say.
Thanks to all of the TCGA Show Program advertisers for contributing to the TCGA scholarship fund.
• Ag Texas Farm Credit
• All-Tex Seed
• Bayer FiberMax
• Burton Cotton Gin Museum
• Case IH
• Cotton Board
• Helena Chemical Co.
• Hi-Plains Bag & Bagging
• Lubbock Electric
• Lubbock Convention/Visitors Bureau
• Lone Star Bearing
• Module Truck Systems, Inc.
• Northern/Lucas Machine
• Plains Cotton Growers
• Ram Mfg.
• Rusty’s Weigh
• Seed Source Genetics
• South Plains Industrial
• Stover Equipment Co.
• Texas Ag Co-op Trust
• Texas Cotton Ginners Trust
• Texas Lubricants
“Tuition is getting more and more
expensive, and the TCGA scholarship
helped remove some of that financial burden
and allows me to focus on my studies
without having to worry about how I was
going to pay for school.”
Elizabeth Bertrand, another one of the
TCGA scholarship winners, also comes
from a cotton farming background.
Several years ago, her father purchased a
crop dusting business, and, all through
high school, she worked with her dad at
the airplane hangar.
“I talked with all of the farmers who
came in, and I was dad’s ‘hand,’ whether
that meant working with the chemicals,
answering phones or lying under a greasy
airplane at 10 o’clock at night,” Bertrand
says. “I have a passion for agriculture and
am majoring in agriculture and applied
economics because I like working with
the financial side of things, such as marketing
“Also, a year ago I decided to pursue
an agricultural communications minor,”
she adds. “So many people don’t understand
or give gratitude to farmers for what
they do. I want to give recognition to
farmers, which is what a communications
minor will allow me to do.”
As for being a TCGA scholarship winner,
Bertrand says, “Paying for college is
not an easy thing to do, especially when
you come from a farming community.
Receiving a scholarship like this one from
TCGA removes that burden and helps me
focus on my education.
“It really means a lot to me that there
are people who care about my education
as much as I do and are willing to donate
their money to help make getting that
education possible,” she adds.
Cotton Farming magazine, which cosponsors
the TCGA Annual Meeting and
Trade Show, is proud to provide funding
for the TCGA scholarship program and
especially thanks those who advertised in
the Show Program for making this funding
possible. Deserving students like the
2010-2011 winners are well worth it.