What are the odds of Texans being in leadership positions in nearly every major cotton organization this year? Was it the law of averages? Was it because of a possible record crop in Texas this year? Were the stars lined up just right? Nobody planned it this way, but long-time observers say they can’t recall a similar scenario. It’s the kind of situation that creates plenty of dinner conversation.
Certainly nobody is complaining about how this all happened. In fact, if you were looking for strong leadership, you couldn’t have come up with a more impressive list of cotton leaders.
In case you’re keeping score at home, here is the lineup of presidents and chairmen this year:
National Cotton Council – Eddie Smith (Floydada)
Cotton Incorporated – Rickey Bearden (Plains)
Cotton Board – Craig Shook (Corpus Christi)
American Cotton Producers – Jimmy Dodson (Robstown)
Cotton Council International – Wally Darnielle (Lubbock)
Three of the leaders – Smith, Dodson and Darnielle – were elected at the National Cotton Council’s Annual Meeting in February in Memphis. It wasn’t until later in the year when Shook and Bearden were elected to their positions at the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated that it became clear that this would indeed be a year to remember for Texas.
As you might expect, this group is proud to be where it is right now for a number of reasons. In a year when the rest of the world is desperate for cotton, all eyes are on Texas to see if this record cotton harvest will indeed meet projections. And perhaps with an eye to the future, it is probably useful to have such respected Texas leaders in these leadership positions as talks begin to heat up in Washington on the 2012 Farm Bill. Nobody can make a stronger case for the cotton industry than this group. All are experienced and not only understand what cotton means to Texas, but each has an excellent understanding of global issues affecting U.S. cotton.
When I recently talked to Bearden on the phone to talk about the crop situation in Texas, I congratulated him on his new position at Cotton Incorporated. And, then, I couldn’t resist mentioning the fact that Texans were leading all of the major organizations.
“It’s pretty exciting when you think about it,” he said with a laugh. “I do know that we’re all proud of the crop we’ve produced in this state, and it’s created a lot of optimism. So, as a group, you have a lot of happy Texans leading these organizations.”
Let’s hope that this remarkable crop season is a springboard to bigger and better things in 2011 – a continued increase in cotton acreage and price stability for the immediate future. With the likes of Eddie Smith, Rickey Bearden, Craig Shook, Wally Darnielle and Jimmy Dodson at the helm of these industry groups, there seems to be a renewed sense of motivation.
And, of course, plenty of Texas pride.