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TCGA Optimistic About ‘09 Season

By Tommy Horton

Never let it be said that Texas cotton ginners didn’t have an abundance of optimism – no matter what kind of adversity they are dealing with in the current economic environment.

That attitude was clearly obvious at last month’s Texas Cotton Ginners Association annual meeting and trade show in Lubbock.

Attendees could easily have talked about the economic recession or how the Obama administration is trying to re-open the Farm Bill and make changes in it. In short, there are plenty of challenges affecting Texas ginners.

But as they have consistently demonstrated every year, dealing with challenges is nothing new to TCGA members. The organization has been around for 102 years, so it has a track record for knowing how to solve a problem.

“The mood of the attendees was a lot better than I anticipated,” says TCGA executive vice president Tony Williams. “We’re in a tough economy right now, and we’ve seen a cotton acreage decrease in many regions of the Belt. But I sensed a real sense of optimism at the show, and that was encouraging.”

Relevant Theme For Show

The theme of this year’s show was, “Meeting the Challenges,” and Williams believes it was especially relevant due to the numerous issues that the U.S. cotton industry is facing.

Even as a drought was affecting planting intentions for many cotton producers – especially those in south Texas – TCGA members believe there is still time for necessary rainfall to occur. Others, meanwhile, believe what economists are saying with regard to cotton price increases.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging reports heard at the show was news of a new gin being built on the High Plains. Ground is about to be broken on a site for the Lubbock Cotton Growers Gin. The new gin will have two bale presses and a capacity to process 90 bales per hour.

“The construction of any new gin is significant,” says Williams. “but it’s even more important for this to happen during these tough economic times we live in. I think this says something about the strong Texas commitment to cotton.”

Williams says TCGA members believe that several factors can occur simultaneously to give the entire industry a chance for a big turnaround – and specifically in Texas.

If prices can improve and the new farm law remains intact, it could be the springboard that U.S. cotton needs in the coming months.

“Keep in mind that Texas has been able to maintain its infrastructure, and I think that will help us when we do come out of this recession,” says Williams. “We were fortunate in this state not to lose our infrastructure in the way that other states have.”

New TCGA Leadership

One of the most anticipated events during the meeting was the installation of new officers for 2009-2010. David Wyatt of Woodsboro completed his term as president. Keith Mixon of White Deer is the new president, and Jerry Multer of Wall is vice president. Barry Street of Kress is secretary.

Dan and Linda Taylor of Buster’s Gin in Ropesville were honored as “Ginners of the Year.” Former president Jim Bradford of Dimmitt received the prestigious Life Membership Award from TCGA.

For the second consecutive year, a special members’ reception was held at the American Museum of Agriculture. The popular facility attracted a large crowd for the event that included special entertainment and dinner.

Plains Cotton Growers also conducted its annual meeting on the second day of the TCGA trade show. Attendees heard reports from National Cotton Council senior vice president John Maguire and Cotton Council International executive director Allen Terhaar. The keynote speaker was Dr. Lowell Catlett of New Mexico State University.

“All in all, it was a fabulous meeting and trade show for our organization,” Williams says. “We view the future with a lot of hope, and it’s just a matter of time before we see a rebound for the entire U.S. cotton industry.

TCGA’s summer meeting is scheduled June 21-23 at the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio.

Contact Tommy Horton at (901) 767-4020 or thorton@onegrower.com.

Cotton Farming Contributes To Scholarship Fund

Cotton Farming continued its tradition of contributing to the TCGA scholarship fund. Recipients of the scholarships are Texas Tech University students who are agricultural majors.

The scholarship winners for the 2008-09 school year are: Lois Bohn, a senior agribusiness major from Lubbock; Ward McCown, a junior agronomy major from Wolfforth; Seth Sowder, a senior agronomy major from Sudan; and Matthew Speer, a junior agricultural and applied economics major from Lubbock.

Each of these students received a $1,000 scholarship.

In addition, Adam Stone, a senior agricultural and applied economics major from Anton, is the recipient of the prestigious Rocky King Memorial scholarship.

Cotton Farming Editor Tommy Horton presented a $3,000 check to TCGA executive vice president Tony Williams at this year’s awards dinner.

List of TCGA program advertisers

Cotton Farming magazine wishes to thank the following companies that supported the TCGA scholarship fund by advertising in the TCGA program:

Lubbock Convention & Visitors Bureau
All-Tex Seed
Module Truck Systems, Inc.
Lubbock Electric
Cotton Board
Continental Eagle Corp.
Laura Lewis
Indeco Products, Inc.
Stover Equipment Co., Inc.
Ag Texas Farm Credit Services
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
Seed Source Genetics
Rusty’s Weigh
Lummus Corp.
Americot Cotton Seed

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