Curtis Stewart, a long-time ginner who has provided outstanding service and leadership to the U.S. cotton industry, is the 2022 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year. He was recognized at the 2023 National Cotton Ginners Association’s annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.
The annual NCGA award is presented to a ginner in recognition of:
→ Able, efficient, and faithful service to the ginning industry.
→ Continuing those principles exemplified and practiced by Horace Hayden, a former NCGA executive secretary.
General manager of Spade Cooperative Gin in Spade, Texas, Stewart has provided dedicated service and leadership to the industry during his career through participation in multiple organizations. He served a two-year term as NCGA president and is the outgoing NCGA chairman. He is a past president of Southern Cotton Ginners, Planters Cotton Oil Mill, and Dumas Cotton Warehouse, among others. A graduate of the National Cotton Council’s Leadership Program, Stewart has served on multiple NCC committees and as a NCC director and director of its export promotions arm, Cotton Council International. He also is a past chairman of the Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee.
A Texas native, Stewart graduated from Texas A&M University in 1982 with a B.S. degree in mechanized agriculture and then worked for several regional cooperatives that included the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Farmers Cooperative Compress, and New Home Co-op Gin. He later earned a degree in agriculture engineering from Texas Tech while working at the U.S. Department of Agriculture South Plains Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock — where he continues to assist in various research projects.
Stewart later worked as the engineer for Chickasha Cotton Oil Co. in Casa Grande, Arizona, before becoming president of Dumas Cotton Gin in Dumas, Arkansas. He joined the Spade Cooperative Gin in 2011.
Charles C. Owens Distinguished Service Award
The NCGA also recognized Dr. Greg Holt as recipient of the NCGA’s 2022-23 Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award. That award honors those who have provided a career of distinguished service to the U.S. ginning industry.
Holt, research leader at USDA’s South Plains Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and then his Ph.D. in industrial engineering at Texas Tech while working at the ginning laboratory.
Over his 24-year career with USDA, Holt has been involved in countless research projects that added to the U.S. ginning industry’s success. Among those studies were post-harvest processing of seed cotton, cottonseed, and cotton gin by-products such as hydro-mulch and fuel pellets.
Holt also was involved in development of the Power Roll Gin stand design, generation of new particulate matter emissions data that has been used to improve the permitting process for gins, and the successful design and testing of an improved mechanical delinter that efficiently removes residual lint from ginned seed. More recently, his work has focused on designing detection and removal systems for removing costly plastic contaminants from seed cotton.
Gene Seale To Lead National Cotton Ginners Association
The Memphis-based National Cotton Ginners Association named its leaders for 2023 during its recent annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.
The NCGA’s 2023 officers are: president —Gene Seale, Pima, Arizona; first vice president — Richard Lindsey, Centre, Alabama; second vice president — Larry Black, Roscoe, Texas; and third vice president, Brad Williams of Burlison, Tennessee. George LaCour of Morganza, Louisiana, who served as NCGA president in 2022, will serve as NCGA chairman. Harrison Ashley, Cordova, Tennessee, is NCGA’s executive vice president.
Seale, who currently is the general manager of the Glenbar Gin in Pima, has been active in the Arizona Cotton Ginners Association and served as its president from 2018-2022. He has served on numerous NCGA committees and subcommittees, including chairing its Safety and Labor Committee in 2022. He also served on multiple National Cotton Council committees and as a NCC director in 2022. Originally from Safford, Arizona, he graduated from Eastern Arizona College and Northern Arizona University with a degree in business administration.
Packaging Committee Approves 2023 Cotton Bale Packaging Specifications
At its annual meeting in Memphis, the Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee (JCIBPC) granted two requests for continued testing of packaging products.
PAC Strapping was granted approval to continue its compatibility testing of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) strap on patented p-weld friction technology systems and L.P. Brown’s light-weight cotton bale bag also was approved for continued testing for export in the West. PAC Strapping’s sixth-year PET compatibility test was granted a “JCIBPC determination” in order for bales in the test program to be deemed “deliverable” in accordance with Intercontinental Exchange Cotton No. 2 rules.
The committee, chaired by Chris Berry, a Wellman, Texas, ginner, also approved the revised 2023 Cotton Bale Packaging Specifications, which included removing all reference to Standard Density bales and discouraging use of wire tags.
Southeast Growers and Ginners Go To Washington, D.C.
Editor’s note: The following news item came from a blog in The Gin Press, produced by the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, Inc.
Thirty producers and ginners from the Southeast went to Washington, D.C., to meet with most of the Congressional representation from our region. The group flew to the Capital city on Monday, Feb. 27 and had 60 meetings over the next day and a half on the Hill.
This is an annual trip held by the Southern Cotton Growers Government Relations Committee. For the past several years, the group has invited the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Executive Committee to join in the trip. This year, many of the producers were also ginners or tightly connected to the ginning community.
This is the first time the association had a chance to go on such a trip in three years. The last trip was just before Covid shut everything down in March 2020.
With this being a Farm Bill year, it was the main topic of conversation. While nearly every special interest in the country has a lobbyist in D.C., having actual constituents affected by the laws they write has a much bigger impact than can be explained here.
Being able to hear about the actual effect of the cost of diesel or fertilizer prices from people back home leaves a serious impression.
Another topic front of mind for many on the trip was the H-2A Program and the recent 14% increase in the AEWR. The Department of Labor released some changes in the program that will make it even more cumbersome and potentially more expensive than it already is. More details are forthcoming.
One of the biggest highlights was to be able to visit with House Ag Committee Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson and Ag Committee staff. We appreciate the Chairman’s time and his staff for meeting with us.
If it were not for the support of producers and ginners in the Southeast Cotton Committee (SECC) political action committee, we would not be able to get the appointments we were able to have.
If you would like more information on how to participate in SECC, please contact Susan Garrick in our office.
We would like to thank those that went on the trip and the members who were able to meet with us and especially the National Cotton Council Staff on helping to facilitate the trip.