Keeping their growers informed is a priority for most cotton ginners. But how do ginners themselves stay informed on the most topical issues in the cotton industry? They can take advantage of their state or regional cotton ginners association for information and advice. And all ginner associations have annual meetings to conduct delegate selection or officer election. Most meetings include well-known industry speakers and informational presentations.
Ginners in the West have formatted their meetings as intensive gatherings at which information on issues, engineering and industry trends are discussed. The meetings are held each summer in resort environments far away from their ginning operations.
Format Fits Ginners And Growers
Dwayne Alford, manager of Yuco Gin in Yuma, Ariz., noticed a difference in the Western meetings when he was president of the National Cotton Ginners Association in 2014.
Typically, Western cotton ginner annual meetings include two days of meetings with short presentations from a wide range of industry representatives. Alford gives much of the credit for the themed, two half-day programs in Arizona to two highly respected ginners, Charlie Owen and Ron Stanz. Owen was a past president of the National Cotton Ginners Association and an officer with the National Cotton Council. Stanz was a past president of the Arizona Cotton Ginners Association and Alford’s predecessor at Yuco Gin.
“Charlie and Ron put this thing together in the early years to make it informative and loaded with information that would make it relevant to ginners, as well as growers,” Alford says. “Over the years, it has been improved and refined, and I think it’s one of the best and most comprehensive meetings that we have.”
Currently, the Arizona event is drawing record attendance, as producers are encouraged to attend the meeting through the Arizona Cotton Growers Association. The event is held in Flagstaff, Ariz., and will include updates from the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated, Cotton Council International and the Agricultural Marketing Service-USDA Cotton Program. Topics include imported cottonseed, water resources and sustainability, and continued work on the pink bollworm eradication.
California and New Mexico follow similar formats with topics pertinent to those areas.
Matt Toste, president of the California Cotton Ginners Association says, “The idea is really to get everyone together in a relaxed environment so we can share ideas, brainstorm and trouble shoot.”
All three meetings include a golf event and free time where producers, ginners, equipment suppliers and cotton organization leaders can interact and not be under the normal pressures of the work-day environment.
“We need to work together to solve problems,” says Toste. And, doing so in a coastal or high mountain environment seems to work for the industry in the West.
Alberto Pando is the president of the New Mexico Ginners Association, whose meeting is held in the mountains of south central New Mexico. The New Mexico meeting is the most family friendly of the three Western events. In the past, a bingo tournament for the families was a highlight, and a wrap-up dinner included giveaways and prize drawings before a dance. It has also been the least transient of the meetings, having been held in Ruidoso, N.M., for more than 20 years.
While the three organizations have interacted in the past, the formats of the meetings grew organically from the idea that, given heavy Western regulation and unique growing environments, cotton ginners and growers must pull together to make things work to their advantage.
Arizona will hold its meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz., this year but has had meetings in Prescott, Rio Rico and Carefree. This year, California will hold its meeting in Monterey, Calif., but has also met in other venues along the California coast.
Brent Murphree is the Cotton Board’s Regional Communications Manager for the West. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.