When someone wins the Texas Cotton Ginners Association’s “Ginner of the Year” award, it figures that a rich family tradition is involved.
Such is the case with this year’s winner – Dennis Flowers, general manager of the Sudan Farmers Cooperative Gin in Sudan, Texas. His father Clyde and grandfather were also a part of the cotton business.
Now Dennis’ son Garrett is part of the industry as manager of nearby Spade Cooperative Gin. Four generations of the Flowers’ family have had their roots in cotton, and that suits everybody fine.
“This is definitely an emotional mo-ment for me,” says Dennis. “I lost my dad (Clyde) last year, and we worked side-by-side for 25 years at the Sudan gin. I just wish he was here to see this happen.”
Winning the prestigious TCGA award means a lot to Dennis. But, more importantly, he believes it is a reflection on all employees at the gin and farm store (Farmers Cooperative Association of Sudan). In all, that would be 25 workers.
When Dennis’ father Clyde retired in 2002, it was natural that the family management philosophy would continue in how the gin and farm store were operated. At the core of that philosophy was the idea that no new debt would be incurred, and every facet in the operation of the gin and store would be efficient and innovative.
The formula apparently works like a charm. The gin averages about 80,000 bales each year and has processed as many as 96,000 bales. The store is a hub of activity for farmers in the region and offers products for chemical application, fertilizer and seed. You might say it’s “one-stop shopping” for a farmer.
To most residents of Sudan and surrounding communities, no gin or company makes a bigger impact on the local community’s economy.
“I’d like to think we’re out there with these farmers from start to finish every year,” says Dennis. “We want to be their partners and offer the best possible customer service – whether it’s at the gin or the store.”
As for the future? Dennis and his family are approaching the 2010 season with a lot of optimism because of better prices and excellent soil moisture.
That optimism will be on display at the TCGA awards banquet in Lubbock on April 9. On hand for the festivities will be Dennis, wife Kelli, son Garrett, daughter Tiffany and many of the company’s 25 employees.
“It will be a great moment for everyone associated with the gin and store,” says Dennis.
“This isn’t about me. Everyone deserves to share in this award. I like to say that you’re only as good as the people who work for you.”
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