I have attended the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show since 2004, and I always enjoy spending time with this group each spring. You’ll recall in last month’s Editor’s Blog that I alluded to how special it is to visit Texas for this meeting – mainly because of the warm hospitality of farmers and ginners there. And this year’s event certainly lived up to expectations.
Even with low cotton prices, heavy rains in South Texas and the challenge of the new Farm Bill on everyone’s mind, a lot of optimism was on display at the Lubbock Civic Center and Overton Hotel. You might call it cautious optimism, for lack of a better term. Texas producers and ginners are fully aware that many factors must fall together perfectly to deliver a good cotton crop in the fall. Every financial expenditure must be scrutinized at the farm level, and ginners will be even more diligent to achieve efficiency.
Maybe it was the beneficial winter rains and additional precipitation in recent weeks that has created the good feelings. Most of the producers and ginners I talked with during the week are ready to turn the corner and deliver high yields and superior cotton quality this year. Granted, nobody can assume that the weather will be perfect all the time. But, compared to how it’s been for the last three years, 2015 looks a lot more promising.
Any discussion of the week’s activities wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the TCGA Awards Dinner on the final night at the Overton Hotel. This is always an emotional night for everyone attending. The current president (Buzz Cooper) passed the gavel to the new president (Ken Ross). The Ginner of the Year – Rex Ford – was announced. Another Texas Life Member honoree – Danny Moses – was chosen. And, from a personal standpoint, it’s always a highlight for Cotton Farming when we present a check to the TCGA/Texas Tech Scholarship Fund. This year, we contributed $7,500, and it gave us a good feeling to know that several Texas Tech ag students will benefit from these funds. We like to say it’s an investment in the future of agriculture by helping these talented young college students.
The evening is more like a family reunion for most of us. And, then, there is also a bit of sadness when the evening comes to an end, and we bid farewell to our friends for another year.
Through the years, we’ve learned to appreciate the friendships we’ve established with our industry friends in Texas – namely at TCGA and Plains Cotton Growers. They are always there to help us tell the story of cotton production and ginning in Texas.
So, here’s to all of the folks who helped make the TCGA and PCG meetings such a success this year. We wish you the very best during the 2015 season – both on the farm and at the gin.
Before you know it, we’ll be right back in Lubbock for another memorable week next spring – and we’ll wonder how the time passed so quickly.