Shane Stephens, a Greenwood, Miss., warehouseman, newly elected National Cotton Council chairman for 2016, pledged to work for a more profitable industry as he took over leadership of the organization at the conclusion of NCC’s annual meeting held in Dallas, Texas on February 5-7. He succeeds Sledge Taylor, a Como, Miss., producer and ginner.
“I will do my best to represent all segments of the industry,” Stephens said as he accepted the responsibility for leading the Council for the next year. “We hope to see a more profitable future for the industry.”
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Taylor, in his closing remarks, said, “We continue to prove that the various segments of the industry can come together to work through issues.”
He said those issues include the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule, cottonseed as other oilseed, and the challenge of producing cotton in a low price,/high cost environment.
“We need a safety net,” he said, “long term support instead of a Band-Aid.
“We have a lot left to be done,” he added.
He commented on the other oilseeds issue. “We have significant support among other agriculture commodity groups, in addition to the cotton industry. We’ve run 60 op-ed pieces in newspapers across the Cotton Belt, but we still have not gotten the results we want. We will continue to work on having cottonseed designated as other oilseed.”
TAKING UP THE CHALLENGE
Stephens will take up the challenge.
He is vice president of Staplcotn’s cotton services and warehouse divisions. With 11 offices throughout the Mid-South and Southeast, the cotton services division is responsible for recruiting and servicing the cooperative’s grower/members. The warehouse division is responsible for 14 warehouse locations in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
An active industry leader, Stephens was a member of the NCC’s 1994-95 Cotton Leadership Program and has served as president of the Program’s alumni association. He previously served as the NCC’s vice president representing the warehouse segment from 2007-12 and served on the NCC’s Board of Directors from 2001-05 and 2013-14. He has served on numerous NCC committees having chaired its Packaging and Distribution and Membership and Credentials committees. Currently the vice president of the Cotton Growers Warehouse Association, Stephens served previously as that organization’s chairman.
Stephens holds a B.S. degree with honors in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He and his wife, Janet, live in Greenwood, and they have two daughters and one son. They are active members of First Baptist Church in Greenwood.
The NCC’s vice chairman for 2016 is Ronnie Lee, a Bronwood, Ga., producer. Elected as the NCC’s secretary-treasurer was Barry Evans, a producer from Kress, Texas.
Elected as NCC vice presidents are: Robert Lacy, a cottonseed processor, Lubbock, Texas; Mike Quinn, a cooperative official, Garner, N.C.; and Kent Fountain, a ginner, Surrency, Georgia. Re-elected NCC vice presidents are: Coalter Paxton, III, warehouseman, Wilson, N.C., Joe Nicosia, merchant, Cordova, Tenn.; and David Hastings, textile manufacturer, Mauldin, South Carolina.
NCC staff officers include: Dr. Gary Adams, NCC president and chief executive officer; Reece Langley, vice president, Washington Operations; Craig Brown, vice president, Producer Affairs; Dr. Jody Campiche, vice president, Economics and Policy Analysis; Dr. Bill Norman, vice president, Technical Services; Harrison Ashley, vice president, Ginner Services; and Fred Johnson, vice president, Administration and Program Coordination.
The National Cotton Council directors for 2016 also were announced at the annual meeting.
Elected to the NCC Board during segment caucuses were:
Producers – Kendall Wannamaker, Saint Matthews, S.C.; Nathan Reed, Marianna, Ark.; Shawn Holladay, Lubbock, Texas; Dan Thelander, Maricopa, Ariz; and Michael Tate, Huntsville, Alabama.
Ginners – Levin Lynch, Florence, S.C.; David Blakemore, Campbell, MO; Jerry Stuckey, Moscow, Kan.; Robert Gladden, Stanfield, Ariz.; and Ron Craft, Plains, Texas.
Warehousers – Donald Robinson, Garner, N.C.; Charlie Jackson, Memphis, Tenn.; Thomas Clodfelter, Seminole, Texas; and Brett Underwood and Ron Harkey, both of Lubbock, Texas.
Merchants –Jordan Lea, Greenville, S.C.; John Mitchell, Prattville, Ala.; Hope Brooks, III, and Jeff Johnson, both of Cordova, Tenn.; and Bobby Walton, Memphis, Tennessee.
Cottonseed – Andy Borem and Sammy Wright, both of Tifton, Ga.; Austin Rose, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Paul Scruggs, Overland Park, Kan.; and Ronnie Gilbert, Lubbock, Texas.
Cooperatives – Keith Lucas, Garner, N.C.; Jeff Thompson, Prattville, Ala.; Meredith Allen, Greenwood, MS; Sam Hill, Lubbock, Texas; and Cindy Walters, Bakersfield, Calif.
Manufacturers – Anderson Warlick and James Martin, both of Gastonia, N.C.; Robert Chapman, III, Inman, S.C.; Robin Perkins, Sanford, N.C.; and Owen Hodges, III, Columbus, Georgia.