• By Christi Chadwell,
Lubbock, Texas •
The Cotton Research and Promotion Program is led by a group of volunteer board members made up of cotton producers and cotton importers from across the United States. The members, alternates and advisers serving on The Cotton Board work together to represent the interests and improve the profitability of both industry segments. They also provide insight to guide program activities.
Each year at its Annual Meeting, The Cotton Board elects a chairman from the membership to serve a one-year term. This year, West Texas cotton producer Jeff Posey leads the organization. From Roby, Texas, he began his chairmanship in August 2019 and will complete his term in August.
An Eye On Quality Cotton
I recently spent time with him during cotton harvest in Fisher and Jones counties, where his family has been farming since the late 1800s. In 1983, two farmers in the area retired, allowing Posey to pick up some acres to farm on his own.
His father also turned some of the decision-making and day-to-day work over to him in exchange for using his equipment. That year, Posey married Phiny — the love of his life — and together they worked through a tough year but managed to harvest their first cotton crop.
“The first year on my own was very dry, and the boll weevils were rampant,” he says. “The crop wasn’t very good; it was actually very poor. But we made it through, and I think my dad was pleased with the job I was doing.”
He says things have changed a lot since that first cotton crop, but good quality cotton has always been the goal. Today, with help from his two sons, Joe and Stuart, he is farming about 5,700 acres of cotton. While they have other crops to which to rotate and cattle to manage, growing cotton is special and brings back childhood memories.
One of Posey’s fondest memories is asking to spend his fifth birthday on the cotton farm, riding the tractor and cutting stalks with his grandfather.
He attributes many of the farm’s successes over the years to a variety of agricultural research projects funded by the program. Posey was first appointed to The Cotton Board as an alternate in 2005 and became a member in 2010.
He has served as chair and vice-chair on multiple Cotton Board committees — including the executive committee — and now leads the program as chairman.
“The Cotton Research and Promotion Program has experts on staff who dedicate their careers to making sure farmers can be successful in the field,” Posey says. “They also work to create demand for our cotton all over the world. Many of the practices I’ve adopted as a farmer to help me produce more cotton with fewer inputs have come as result of the program’s research.
“We want to be good stewards of the land. Not only do we want a crop that yields well, but we want to have sound science behind our sustainability practices. And I want to share those things with my sons and neighbors. Both of my sons have young children now, and I cannot wait for Phiny and me to share our love of cotton with our grandchildren.”
If you are interested in becoming involved in The Cotton Board, please contact your local certified producer/importer organization, The Cotton Board office at 901-683-2500 or the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 540-361-2726 for more information.
Christi Chadwell is the Cotton Board’s regional communication manager for the Southwest. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.