TCGA Cotton Trade Show Connects Ginners From Across The Belt

From left to right, Kelley Green, Mark McBrayer, Rex Ford, Mike Thompson, Phillip Kidd and Chris Berry kick off the TCGA cotton trade show with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association hosted visitors from several cotton-growing areas during its annual meeting and cotton trade show in Lubbock this year. In recapping the event, the organization made the following comments:

“For our 116th gin show, we reached out across the Cotton Belt to bring ginners from across the country together under one roof in Lubbock. We rebranded our show as the ‘Cotton Belt Gin Connection’ and our theme for the year was ‘Linking Ginners Across the Cotton Belt.’

“We wanted to market this event as a ‘ginners show’ and be sure that cotton ginners across the country knew they were welcome to attend. We had several ginners from across the Cotton Belt come to Lubbock and hope to see our Beltwide attendance increase even more next year.

“Thank you to our exhibitors who invested time and resources into our show. Our exhibitors are the engine that drives the show, making it possible for ginners from across the Cotton Belt to come together and seek answers to some common problems. While in Lubbock, ginners can view the innovative technologies that are available to increase efficiency in their operations.

“The event brings excellent value just because of the group of people it brings together. The venue offers the opportunity to see all the major suppliers in the cotton gin industry.”

TCGA Officers Named

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association also announced its slate of officers for the new fiscal year. They include:

• Phillip Kidd (Lockney) – President

• Rex Ford (Stamford) – Vice President

• John Steelhammer (Mathis) – Secretary

• Mike Thompson (Bishop) – Immediate Past President

• Lance Bradford (Batesville) – Region 1

• John Engel (Palacios) – Region 2

• Willis Taubert (Miles) – Region 3

• Michael Yeary (Midkiff) – Region 4

• Dan Jackson (Meadow) – Region 5

• Tony Newton (Slaton) – Region 6

• Curtis Stewart (Spade) – Region 7

• J. Kelley Green (Round Rock) – Executive Vice President & Treasurer

TCGA Awards Ceremony

Family and friends celebrate Ken Ross’s Ginner of the Year award. From left to right are Jase Higgins, Karah Higgins, Ken, Renee Ross, Bryan Ross and Lee Ann Padgett.

Several cotton industry leaders were honored for their significant accomplishments. In recognition of TCGA President Mike Thompson concluding his tenure, he and his wife, Letha, were presented a bourbon decanter with matching glasses and a bowl in appreciation of their leadership over the past year.

Ken Ross, manager of Needmore Gin in Meadow, was presented with TCGA’s most prestigious award – Ginner of the Year.

Ken will tell you when he first started at Needmore Gin, 90 bales in a shift was a productive day. The gin averaged around nine bales per hour. Many changes have been made at the gin over the course of Ken’s career, including splitting the overhead and moving to higher-capacity equipment.

The changes were done in small increments as Ken and his crew did much of the work on site. Ken has a small machine shop on-site and often cut and key-wayed shafts on his own. He notes this was a bit easier when the shafts were six feet long. With upgrades and higher-capacity equipment, the gin now averages around 34 bales per hour.

Ken credits his staff with the success he has had with the gin. When he and Renee leave for a few days, he knows the gin is in good hands. LeeAnn Hancock Padgett is his office manager. Both her mother and grandmother worked at Needmore Gin. LeeAnn’s mother retired in the late 90s. Ken has two ginners who are instrumental to the success of the gin — Rafael Contreras and “Polo” Rodriguez. Rafael has been there since he was 16 years old, actually longer than Ken has been there. Polo has been there for 20 years.

Life Memberships Presented

Chris Berry, left, was presented with a Life Membership Award. Joining Chris are Brendan Jaeger and Rändi Berry.

Past President Chris Berry (general manager of Southwest Cotton Growers in Wellman) was presented with a Life Membership Award. He became the manager of Southwest Cotton Growers in 2022. Prior to this, Chris worked at Long “S” Gin and was the manager of Center Point Gin.

Before 2008, Chris was not in the ginning industry but was engaged in agriculture. He served as principal investigator and project manager at South Texas Ag Research — conducting chemical research trials and GMO trials — among other things.

Chris has served on many boards and continues to serve on others. He is a past president of Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association and Texas Independent Ginners Association as well as Plains Ginners Association. Chris currently serves as Chairman of the National Cotton Council’s Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee as well as Chairman of the Packaging and Distribution Committee.

He is currently chairman of the TCGA Nominating Committee and is on the Board of Directors at the FiberMax Center for Discovery. Chris also was the driving force in getting the Goodman gin relocated into its new home at the FiberMax Center for Discovery.

A Life Membership Award also was given to TCGA Executive Vice President J. Kelley Green.

Kelley Green, TCGA executive vice president was also presented with a Life Membership Award this year. Joining Kelley are, from left, David Perez, Gwen Green-Perez, Adam Bartek, Marguerite Bartek, Kelley, Lynn Green and Madeline Brown.

Kelley’s first job in the ginning industry was gin field engineer in Fresno, California, with Western Cotton Services. In 1989, he was offered an engineering position with Samuel Jackson, Inc., and he and his family moved to Lubbock, Texas. In 1991, he was hired as director of technical services for the TCGA. Kelley served as liaison between the TCEQ and the Texas ginning industry, helping to develop and implement the current cotton ginning permitting system that is used today.

He also monitored, intervened and testified at multiple electrical tariff hearings. Kelley participated in multiple organizations affecting the industry on a national basis. He was a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture air quality task force on multiple occasions and a member of the EPA clean air advisory committee. He served in this role until 2022 when he became the TCGA executive vice president.

Kelley is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas and member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Along with serving on multiple committees in ASABE, he earned the Industry Service Award, the Agricultural Engineer of the Year Award and the Mayfield Cotton Engineering Award. Kelley currently serves on multiple important committees with the National Cotton Ginners’ Association and received the Distinguished Service Award in 2007. If there is a problem being dealt with in this industry, this individual is working on the solution.

To view more photos and short videos from the meeting and trade show, please visit TCGA’s Facebook page (Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association) and website (

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