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Optimism Contagious At TCGA Meeting

It’s been a couple of weeks since the Texas Cotton Ginners Association annual meeting and trade show in Lubbock, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few thoughts about this trip. For more than 20 years, Cotton Farming has co-sponsored this event and worked closely with TCGA in promoting it and sharing important information with our readers.

I’ve been attending the meeting since 2004, and every year has been special in its own way. This recent meeting, however, might rank as one of the more memorable ones for several reasons.

First, the optimism about cotton prices seemed to affect every aspect of the trade show and meeting. Suddenly, everyone is excited about the possibility of taking advantage of high prices and making a profit – on the farm and at the gin. It’s your classic trickle-down economic impact.

No matter where you walked at the Lubbock Civic Center, everyone had something positive to discuss as exhibitors chatted with farmers and ginners. Total strangers had no trouble talking about the prospects for the 2011 crop season. The only thing that even remotely affected that optimism was the continuing drought situation in Texas.

But if you know Texas ginners and producers, they are always hopeful that a rain event is just around the corner. And they firmly believe that there is still time to have a timely rain in April or May.

The other reasons for this being a memorable TCGA meeting is the always entertaining awards banquet conducted on Friday night at the conclusion of the trade show. This year, the event was held at the new Overton Hotel for the first time, and attendees seemed to enjoy the surroundings.

This is more than an awards banquet for TCGA. It’s more like a family reunion with ginners from across the state enjoying each other’s company while honoring new officers and the “Ginner of the Year.”

The highlight for me was getting the opportunity to present a check for more than $5,000 to the TCGA Scholarship fund. This was $2,000 more than our magazine has ever contributed in previous years, and it certainly will benefit several deserving Texas Tech University students. I was stopped several times after the banquet as ginners expressed their thanks for our magazine’s financial contribution.

That’s what make Texas ginners such a special group. No matter how much adversity they might face during any particular year, they appreciate the simple things. They always have a kind word for outsiders who might be visiting their annual meeting for the first time.

Cotton Farming’s office might be in Memphis, Tenn., but we’re thankful for our Texas friends. They may be several hundred miles away from us here in the Mid-South. But somehow our mutual friendship has never wavered after more than 20 years.