By Tommy Horton
For the eleventh consecutive year, I had the privilege of attending the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Lubbock in early April. Once again, it was an opportunity to connect with so many producers and ginners in Texas. Every time I attend this event, I come away a bit more impressed by the courage and focus of anyone connected to the Texas cotton industry. These folks have every reason to be concerned about the drought that continues to plague the state. But there seems to be just enough good news to keep everyone motivated about what might lie ahead for the 2014 season.
Nobody is saying that the drought is anywhere close to being over. But there are areas in the state that have received just enough rainfall for farmers to proceed ahead with planting. I certainly saw that attitude on display everywhere I walked around the Lubbock Civic Center. Texas ginners always view the glass as half full….and never half empty. Maybe that’s why this group is such a pleasure to work with.
Aside from being able to visit with ginners as well as producers at the trade show, there was the always entertaining TCGA awards dinner on the final night. This is where special awards are handed out as well as a time for socializing with TCGA members and families. It was a particular pleasure to see outgoing president Danny Moses honored for his year of service. It was also nice to welcome our friend Buzz Cooper as the new incoming president. I have known Buzz and his wife Kim for several years, and they will do a great job in leading the organization for the next year. We also enjoyed seeing Jeff Turner honored as TCGA’s “Ginner of the Year.” He and his wife Sandy made it a special night for their gin’s employees when they helped us organize the biggest group photo I’ve ever taken in my life. You can view that photo on page 6 of the May issue of Cotton Farming. The fact that so many people made the trip to Lubbock is a testament to the wonderful relationship that Jeff has with his employees. It was also a special moment when three TCGA members received Life Member awards – Dan Taylor of Ropesville, Dan Jackson of Meadow and Buddy Ross of Mercedes.
In addition, TCGA Executive Vice President Tony Williams received a special award from the Texas Cotton Ginners Trust in honor of the organization’s 20th anniversary.
And could there have been any better way to conclude the evening than by having the privilege to announce that Cotton Farming magazine was contributing $7,500 to the Texas Tech/TCGA Scholarship Fund? This easily broke a record for a single-year contribution to the program. What made the experience even more special was an anonymous contribution of $2,500 from an industry person. We have always known that TCGA has a lot of friends, and this contribution certainly proved it.
It was that kind of evening and week in Lubbock. We had numerous opportunities to meet with cotton friends, and we are hoping it will be an excellent cotton production and ginning season in Texas and across the entire Belt.
Congratulations to our TCGA friends for putting on another fabulous show and annual meeting. We look forward to returning again in 2015.