The 2016 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award winners continue to demonstrate how to produce good yields of high quality cotton while practicing exceptional stewardship of natural resources.
Check these links for details on how the latest winners produce cotton and conserve soil and water under sometimes daunting conditions.
Water independence is goal for SW High Cotton winner
Bill Lovelady, El Paso, Texas, grows cotton in what has to be one of the most challenging climates in the Cotton Belt. With an average of just 7 inches of rainfall a year, Lovelady says making every drop count is crucial. Laser leveling each field also improves water distribution.
He’s drilling wells to become more water independent and has changed tillage practices to conserve more moisture in the soil.
Three generations contribute to Southeast High Cotton farm’s success
Three generations of Warbingtons farm together around Vienna, Ga., and each generation and individual contributes to the operation’s success. But someone has to keep the family business on point. That’d be Teel Warbington.
For the Warbingtons’ efficient and environmentally sound cotton production practices, based largely on Teel’s dedication to details, George “Teel” Warbington is the 2016 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award winner for the Southeast region. He will be honored, along with producers from the Delta, Southwest, and West, at an awards breakfast Feb. 26 at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show at Memphis.
Far West High Cotton winner is top-notch producer
Dennis Palmer, Thatcher, Ariz., is actually allergic to cotton yet the malady has not sneezed or sniffled away his ability to succeed in fiber production. For Palmer, cotton farming is at his family’s core.
Palmer is the winner of the 2016 Western Farm Press High Cotton Award.
“I love to plant cotton,” said Dennis, whose physical size mimics a defensive linebacker in the National Football League. Like a pro football player, Palmer is unafraid to tackle the many challenges in cotton production.
“My favorite time during the cotton season is picking cotton it’s white and beautiful. It represents the payoff at the end of the year.”
Delta region winner is diversified
Larry McClendon’s office can be breathtaking in early October — even for someone who’s not a cotton farmer. When he or his employees or guests step onto the front porch of his farm’s headquarters building near Marianna, Ark., they see nearly a mile of white stretching almost to the horizon.
His stewardship of the environment, his conservation ethic, and his years of service to the cotton industry earned him the 2016 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award for the Delta region.
His nearly 6,000 acres of cotton in 2015 are part of a highly diversified cotton, corn, soybean, grain sorghum, and rice operation that McClendon manages, along with two gins and a cotton warehouse.
Best of the best
The latest class of Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award winners represents the best cotton farmers in the world. And these exceptional farmers also demonstrate the value of conservations.