Staying the Course

Southern Southeastern Annual Meeting
Cotton Farmers And Ginners Gather To Share Ideas And Honor Peers

Len Alphin, co-owner of Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia, received the traditional gin saw after being named the 2017 Southeast Ginner of the Year. Joining Alphin after the award ceremony are, from left, his wife, Jane; daughter, Amber; son-in-law, Joseph Saunders; Sandy Mayo; electrician, Stanley Mayo;
future daughter-in-law, Angela Vongphakdy; son, Bruce; Len; brother, Tom; nephew, Chris; and agronomist, Johnny Parker. Commonwealth Gin is a full
service cotton company, providing ginning, marketing, warehousing and production assistance to its customers.

— By Carroll Smith,

The Annual Meeting of the Southern Cotton Growers and the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association was held recently in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Participants from across the Southeast came together to address important issues that affect the industry on regional, national and international levels.
The event opened with state, committee, and Board of Directors’ meetings for both groups. Attendees also were encouraged to visit the trade show, which showcased numerous products and services, and participate in networking during what has been coined “hallway seminars” between meetings.

Focus On Issues At Hand
The theme of the event was “Staying the Course,” and the General Session featured an outstanding lineup of topics and speakers. Joe Nicosia, Allenberg, Memphis, Tennessee, presented the Cotton Situation & Outlook, and Cotton Council International Executive Director Bruce Atherley gave the CCI update. The morning session wrapped up with the National Cotton Ginners’ update from David Blakemore and Chairman David Dunlow’s report from the Committee for the Advancement of Southeast Cotton (CASC).
Breakout sessions featured panel discussions on topics that included a cottonseed update, H-2A and how it works, and plastic contamination.

Ronnie Lee, Bronwood, Georgia, delivered the National Cotton Council update during the Southern-Southeastern Annual Meeting on Saturday morning. Lee was NCC chairman for 2017. As the managing partner of Lee Farms, he raises cotton, corn, peanuts, small grains, hay, pecans and cattle in Terrell, Lee and Sumter counties. Lee also owns and operates McCleskey Cotton Company.

Regional Forum And Recognition
During the Annual Meeting, which kicked off Saturday morning, keynote speaker Harry Ott, South Carolina Farm Bureau president, addressed the audience. Berrye Worsham, Cotton Incorporated president and CEO, and Ronnie Lee, 2017 National Cotton Council chairman, provided cotton organization updates.
At the close of the event, special awards were announced. Len Alphin, co-owner of Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia, was named the 2017 Southeast Ginner of the Year, and Mike Tate was presented with the Cotton Producer Recognition Award.

Southern Southeastern represents cotton growers and ginners throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The Annual Meeting, which is always held early in the year, provides a regional forum in a relaxed venue in which the farming and ginning segments can gather to learn as well as enjoy fellowship.

The 2019 meeting will be held Jan. 16-19 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

To learn more about the organization, please visit


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