When David Wyatt was elected as new president of the Texas Cotton Ginners Association a year ago, he had the usual apprehension about assuming such a big responsibility. But now as he prepares to pass the gavel on to his successor, Keith Mixon, he does so with a sense of pride.
Although 2008 was full of challenges – including the passage of a new Farm Bill – Wyatt saw firsthand the influence that TCGA has on the state’s cotton industry.
And like many of his predecessors who have served as TCGA president, Wyatt has a new appreciation for what the organization does for the Texas cotton industry.
Wyatt, who has worked in the cotton business for 20 years, is manager of the Bayside Richardson Gin in Woodsboro.
“Naturally, I had some concerns about taking on such a big job at TCGA,” he says. “However, the staff really helped me through the entire year. They made the job a lot easier. And, consequently, it was very enjoyable every step of the way.”
Wyatt certainly picked an important year to lead TCGA. Being involved with the development of the new Farm Bill is an experience he isn’t likely to forget anytime soon. The landmark legislation was a long, sometimes slow process. In the end, most industry observers believe the law will help keep U.S. cotton competitive.
Despite the many attractive features of the new law, farmers and ginners across the country are still trying to learn how the various provisions of the law will be implemented.
“We have a lot of details that need to be worked out in the new law,” says Wyatt. “And I think we’re getting there, but it will take a little more time to learn everything.”
Wyatt knows something about market conditions and new farm laws. His gin in Woodsboro is located north of Corpus Christi in the Coastal Bend region. In that part of Texas, the cotton production season starts earlier, and farmers often make decisions even when final details of a farm program aren’t completely known.
For that reason, ginners and farmers in that region are heading into the ‘09 crop season without a complete understanding of how the new farm law’s regulations will be implemented.
“We live in a part of Texas where we have to go with our gut feelings when it comes to decisions,” he says. “That’s just the way it is when you have an earlier planting season.”
Besides being involved in the Farm Bill debate, Wyatt is pleased that TCGA continued to enjoy such a high percentage of support from gins in the state during his tenure as president. He credits the success of the Texas Cotton Ginners Trust as one of the reasons why TCGA has the support of 99 percent of the state’s gins.
That positive trend continued in ‘08, and Wyatt is pleased that he had a chance to be involved in the process.
The outgoing president also has high praise for how TCGA – under Kelley Green’s leadership – continues to work with ginners on permits and regulations affecting gins. That kind of service to gins, along with the Trust program, might explain why the support level is so high for TCGA, according to Wyatt.
“It’s actually pretty amazing,” he says. “We’ve had trade associations come into our group just to take advantage of the services we provide on permits. Kelley (Green) knows it so well and can walk them right through it.”
As expected with any outgoing TCGA president, Wyatt is quick to thank former TCGA president Jim Bradford for making 2008 a rewarding one.
“Jim really helped me with so many things during the year,” says Wyatt. “It was a smooth transition for everybody, and I am really appreciative to him.”
It will definitely be a special evening when Wyatt hands over the presidency to Keith Mixon at the TCGA awards banquet. Wyatt’s wife Phylis and at least two of their children (Cara and Danny) will attend the event. It will be the perfect ending for the outgoing president.
“I know one thing for sure,” he says. “The Texas cotton industry wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for TCGA.”
Weather, Better Prices Could Affect Cotton Acreage
How difficult is to be a producer or ginner in south Texas? Pretty difficult when you consider how unpredictable the weather can be during hurricane season.
That’s why farmers understand the importance of planting early and harvesting the crop in a timely fashion.
TCGA president David Wyatt, who manages the Bayside Richardson Gin in Woodsboro, knows something about these weather events.
“It’s something we learn to live with on a yearly basis,” he says. “Last year, we made another crop, but it was definitely a shorter crop because of the hurricanes and tropical storms that hit us.”
In a normal year, Wyatt’s gin would average 30,000 bales during a season. In 2008, that number dropped to 19,500 bales.
“It seems like we fall one rain too short or have one rain too many,” he says. “Our acreage was off for other reasons because of the high grain prices. I don’t know if it will be that way this year because the grain market hasn’t been that strong.”
Even with the competition from grains, Wyatt still believes cotton acreage in his region could increase if cotton prices suddenly rebounded.
“If we received any kind of spike in price, it would help,” he says. “Even in a worst-case scenario, our farmers know that cotton is still the best crop for paying out.”
David Wyatt –
2008 TCGA President
• Manages Bayside Richardson Gin in Woodsboro, Texas.
• Previously worked at London Cooperative Gin and Ocot Gin.
• Bayside Richardson Gin averages 30,000 bales each year with a capacity of 40 bales per hour.
• He and wife Phylis have four children – Cara, Danny, Taylor and Tyler – and four grandchildren.
• Previously served as secretary and vice president for TCGA.