By Carroll Smith
After a prolonged drought, rain finally fell in Texas. The much-needed water boosted the spirits of farmers and ginners, which was evident at the 109th Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show. Attendees were upbeat and ready to learn more about the products and services being offered by numerous companies gathered at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
Tony Williams, TCGA executive vice president, says he received positive feedback during the show regarding the upcoming season. “Promising soil moisture appears to have generated a good attitude among the attendees who see enormous potential for the 2016 crop,” he says. “After going through a tough drought that began in 2011, conditions in 2016 are much improved. The South Texas crop is planted, and West Texas received timely rains to start the season. We have heard predictions that 5.5 million acres of cotton will be planted in the state this year. The general consensus is, ‘If we can’t get price, we can get yields.’”
From the ginners’ perspective, Williams says farmers need to “bring bales to the gin.” Although the economic environment is tough, there is hope and good potential for that to happen in 2016.
After a successful year at the helm, outgoing TCGA President Ken Ross turned the leadership over to incoming President Mike Polk. Scott Hilburn moved up from secretary to vice president, and Larry Black has moved into the secretary position.
On Friday morning, a large crowd attended the Plains Cotton Growers annual meeting. Several speakers were featured, including David Wasserman, House editor for The Cook Political Report, who gave the keynote address.
The 2015 Outstanding Cotton Agent Award was presented to John Villalba by PCG President Shawn Holladay. Texas cotton farmer Jamey Duesterhaus was the first recipient of the Water Conservation and Profitability Award, sponsored by Cotton Farming and Eco-Drip.
The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust also held its annual meeting where the organization honored Phil Hickman’s service and leadership. Hickman served as trustee from 1998 and as president from 2008 until his death last August. Many milestones were reached during his service to the Trust and its members.
Awards Dinner Highlights
During the awards dinner, Barry Street, owner of Street Gin in Kress, Texas, was named the Ginner of the Year, and former TCGA President Buzz Cooper received the Life Member Award.
Another highlight was the auction of L.P. Brown Co.’s custom tie-dyed booth curtains that had generated a lot of interest during the show. Danny Moses won with his top bid of $500. The money will go to the Phil Hickman Memorial Fellowship at Texas A&M University.
Cotton Farming magazine, co-sponsor of the TCGA Trade Show, contributed $5,315 to the TCGA/Texas Tech Scholarship Fund.
The TCGA summer meeting will be held at the Omni La Mansión del Rio, San Antonio, Texas, June 26-28. Visit www.tcga.org for more information.